Suggestions for graduate studies in technology and society area
March 31, 2009 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for cross-disciplinary graduate/phd course in web technology. More specifically, relating to societal use of web from a global perspective. My goal is to become an expert in use of web based technologies in developing countries (which involves computer use, censorship, etc.). So far, what I have found is STS (science, technology and society) which sounds perfect, but from what I have seen, tend to be more in the areas of applied sciences and engineering. Then there is basic CS programs which tend to be more technology than societal aspects. Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas, recommendations?

My background is a management/grunt work mash of 6 years at a R&D non-profit - a one (sometimes two) man show. It started as a website and helped build it into an international tele-consultation, e-learning and networking site. I also created and trained users for medical e-learning courses in Bosnia, Central America and Afghanistan; performed research on Tele-medicine; and do odd things like co-led a landmark workshop for leaders in tele-medicine in Latin America. All done from a BA in Film. I have some clear research ideas that are related to future computer use mostly in underdeveloped countries.

So any thoughts...please let me know.
posted by _zed_ to Education (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Information School? (Like Berkeley SIMS, SI at Michigan, etc?) That sounds a lot like an i-school PhD thesis to me.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:48 PM on March 31, 2009

This is totally an iSchool PhD thesis. Here is the link.
posted by rachelpapers at 4:50 PM on March 31, 2009

You may want to check out Georgetown's CCT program.
posted by nkknkk at 6:57 PM on March 31, 2009

Best answer: UC Santa Barbara's Technology and Society PhD emphasis sounds like what you're looking for. (Note: I am a student and research assistant for the program).

I have a similar background as you, doing information technology for development work in the former Soviet Union. I now study mobile phone and internet use in those countries, looking at cultural variables that moderate adoption, attitudes, and behaviors. I am in the Communication Department. There are people studying similar things in UCSB's sociology department, global studies department, education department and computer science.

I think that instead of looking for a disciple, you may want to do some Google Scholar searches and see if there are scholars out there that inspire you. Then after you find some names, read more of their works, then after that, approach them about working with them. They might be in Communication. They might be in Anthroplogy. Who knows.

But start with a phenomenon that you're interested in (if you're at the PhD level especially) and then find scholars that match you, rather than looking for programs.
posted by k8t at 8:15 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

A friend is a prof in the department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington. Her research sounds like it's in your area of interest. I think she's under the larger umbrella of the "Information School."
posted by Good Brain at 10:32 PM on March 31, 2009

An Information School is a perfect match for you. For example, I'm taking a course in Michigan's School of Information on digital government right now, which discusses most of the topics you mentioned. The i-school view of information technology recognizes that technology can't be evaluated alone, the social context it's used in also has to be taken into account.

They also have a STS certificate program.
posted by formless at 10:38 PM on March 31, 2009

Response by poster: Bingo. I knew STS wasn't quite it, but Information School and others that relate with Communications look perfect. Thank you so much. If you know other programs let me know.
posted by _zed_ at 11:02 PM on March 31, 2009

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