Science in Society Program

The Science in Society Program is a dynamic interdisciplinary major that examines the study of the sciences, medicine and technology as integral to society and culture. The sciences, medicine, and technology affect almost every facet of our lives: our bodies, daily routines, physical surroundings, self-understanding, intellectual life, economic prospects, and political possibilities. Scientific work has affected people’s intellectual standards, cultural meanings, political possibilities, economic capacities, and physical surroundings. Scientific research has also acquired significance, direction, authority, and application within various social and cultural contexts. To understand the sciences as human achievements is, in significant part, to understand the world in which we live. 

Students in the program should gain a better understanding of the richness and complexity of scientific practice and of the cultural and political significance of science, medicine, and technology. The major is well suited for students interested in a variety of professional and academic pursuits after graduation, since it encourages students to integrate technical scientific knowledge with a grasp of the historical and cultural setting within which it is understood and used. Our students explore the history, philosophy, and social studies of science and medicine together with advanced work in a science, to prepare themselves for a world that respects no clear boundary between nature and culture. 

Faculty Spotlight


Elaine Gan

Elaine Gan, MFA/PhD, is a transdisciplinary scholar-artist whose teaching, research, and creative practice engage with the fields of feminist science & technology studies, environmental/digital arts and humanities, multispecies anthropology, and experimental media. Through writing, drawing, installation, and time-based media, Prof. Gan explores social relations and coordinations that emerge between species, machines, and landscapes, with a special interest in plants and fungi. 

Prof. Gan joins Wesleyan University as an Assistant Professor of Science in Society in Fall 2022. She directs the Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab which produces a podcast about climate change, and is co-editor of an interdisciplinary anthology titled Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). She is currently working on two book projects about two different crops: the first focuses on multispecies temporalities and global transformations of rice (Oryza sativa); the second focuses on the extinction and transgenic revival of American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) in the eastern United States, including Connecticut.  

Before joining Wesleyan, Prof. Gan taught undergraduate and graduate studies at New York University, University of Southern California, and University of California in Santa Cruz, and served as Art Director for the Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA) Project in Denmark. She has presented her academic research and exhibited her creative projects and collaborations internationally. More about her practice is online at and