Art and Technoscience Studies: Knowledge How and Knowledge That

Prof. Sha Xin Wei

General Introduction

This course introduces cultural and social perspectives from science and technology studies that can give teeth to art practices that engage technoscience.

This is a course with challenging readings and thrives on well-prepared in-class discussion. Students will make presentations in a choice of formats, in addition to writing short texts. This course offers students a chance to explore deeply some areas of literature, history, philosophy or cultural studies of science in relation to their practice.

Knowledge How and Knowledge That

Typically the questions: How do we know what we know? What is knowledge? can be explored from the perspectives of formal logic or biology or cognitive science. We amplify this investigation to include social and cultural fields as well. We consider how there are as many different forms of knowledge as there are ways of making knowledge. In this course, we explore how technologies of representation and performance shape our thinking and our experience, making a full circuit from theories of scientific knowledge to art and performance.

What is knowledge?
How do we represent knowledge?
What’s the difference between knowledge that and knowledge how?
What’s the difference between representation and performance?
Is knowledge objective or socially constructed?
What forms of knowledge exist other than scientific knowledge? Case study: theater, performance as research.


  • Michel Foucault. Madness and Civilisation
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, G. E. M. Anscombe (Translator). Philosophical Investigations. Prentice Hall; 3rd edition (1999). ISBN: 0024288101
  • Mario Biagioli (Editor). The Science Studies Reader. Routledge (1999) paperback. ISBN 0415918685.
  • Jerzy Grotowski, Towards A Poor Theater.

Supplementary Readings

  • Jacques Derrida. Of Grammatology. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976 (1967)
  • Michel Foucault. Archaeology of Knowledge. Pantheon Books (1982) paperback. ISBN: 0394711068
  • Elizabeth Grosz
  • Donna Haraway
  • Ian Hacking: The Social Construction of What?
  • Ferdinand Saussure, A Course in General Linguistics, tr. Wade Baskin, Paperback 1, 1965) , WCB/McGraw-Hill; ISBN: 0070165246.
  • A. N. Whitehead. The Concept of Nature : Tarner Lectures. Cambridge University Press Reissue edition (1994). paperback. ISBN: 0521092450


You will be evaluated equally in three areas: (1) your in-class (and on-line) participation and presentations, (2) your mid-term paper (max 8 pages), and your final project.
For your final project, you have the option of writing an individual paper (8-15 pages, plus references) or participating in the production of an object, installation, or event that responds to the theoretical themes of the course readings.





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Office: Skiles 19

Office Hours: F

(and by appointment)

Telephone: 404-579-4944

Email: • x 5949•