ASOA15083U  Social Science and Genetics

Volume 2019/2020
Education

Elective Course

 

Course package (MSc 2015):
Welfare, inequality and mobility

Content

The objective of the thematic course ‘Social Science and Genetics’ is to introduce the student to the research field of sociogenomics and research in the role of nature and nurture in social science.

 

The course is structured around three main topics:

  1. 1) Relevance
    1. a)Why even care about heritability and genetics in social science?
       
  2. 2) History: The three phases of sociogenomic research
    1. a) Indirect study of genetics: Twin- and sibling-studies
    2. b) The molecular genomic era and direct study of genetics: The candidate-gene approach
    3. c) The molecular genomic era and direct study of genetics: The polygenic approach
       
  3. 3) Ethics of sociogenomics: Pitfalls, challenges, misuse, and misunderstandings of genetic insights, for example
    1. a) Genetic determinism
    2. b) From eugenics to gene-editing
    3. c) The #richwhitepeople bias in sociogenomic research
    4. d) Et cetera
       

The course will give the student an overview of the field of sociogenomics, insights in how scientists have practically worked with genetics in social science, and introduce the student to the ethical challenges in the field.

Learning Outcome

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

 

Knowledge

  • Describe the historical development in sociogenomics  and account for the three main eras of sociogenomic research
  • Summarize the main benefits and challenges of the three sociogenomic eras
  • Summarize the ethical challenges of sociogenomic research in the past and present

 

Skills

  • Analyze and evaluate sociogenomic studies
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of sociogenomic research and studies of sociological outcomes

 

Competences

  • Understand and discuss the role of nature and nurture in social science research
  • Critically discuss sociogenomic studies and claims about the contribution of nature and nurture in public debates, as well as the ethical challenges surrounding sociogenomic research
  • Communicate the role and interplay between nature and nurture in social science to other social scientists and non-specialists
  • Better understand the arguments of - and participate in interdisciplinary collaborations with - colleagues from other, more natural science related, fields

The main literature of the course consists of chapters from books such as:

  • Conley, Dalton and Jason Fletcher. 2017. “The Genome Factor”. Princeton University Press. 
     

And empirical papers such as

  • Freese, Jeremy. 2018. “The Arrival of Social Science Genomics.” Contemporary Sociology 47(5):524–36.
     
  • Cesarini, David and Peter M. Visscher. 2017. “Genetics and Educational Attainment.” Npj Science of Learning 2(1):4.
It is highly recommended that the student have a basic understanding of correlations and basic regression models (linear regression models), such as those covered in the BA-courses in quantitative methods at Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen.
Class instruction - I am organizing the course as lessons of two-hour lectures combined with two hours of student activity, e.g. student presentation or group exercises
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

I integrate the peer-feedback as peer-feedback on the presenting groups’ presentations and exercises.

Credit
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual/group.
A written take-home essay is defined as an assignment that addresses one or more questions. The exam is based on the course syllabus, i.e. the literature set by the teacher. The written take-home essay must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Exam registration requirements

The students must be enrolled under either BSc Curriculum 2016 or MSc Curriculum 2015 to take this exam.

 

Credit- and Exchange students can be at both bachelor and master level.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Find more information on your study page at KUnet.

Exchange students and Danish full degree guest students please see the homepage of Sociology; http://www.soc.ku.dk/english/education/exams/ and http://www.soc.ku.dk/uddannelser/meritstuderende/eksamen/

Re-exam

The curriculum is currently being revised and because of that, there can be changes in the re-exam types.
We will update the descriptions here on kurser.ku.dk as soon as they are approved by the Faculty.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 118
  • Exam
  • 60
  • Total
  • 206