Science, Technology and Postmodernism:

Objects, Things and Stuff

Prof. Sha Xin Wei

T Th 12 - 1:30

Skiles 308



This class for STaC majors will be conducted in parallel with a graduate classes LCC6321 and LCC 6650H (Project Studio).  The question we will be examining is how objects are constituted as objects in material, discursive, and media practices or processes. As a corollary, we will be concerned with the emergence of abstraction as a result of these practices.   The practical goal of this class will be to imagine how to use our present technologies to construct shared social objects of joint concern.  Class projects may take the form of critical theoretic essays or creative artifacts.  

Our approach to this question will involve reading and working in a number of disciplines including the sociology of everyday life, cultural studies, media arts and sciences, and phenomenology. Some of the authors whose work we will discuss include Bruno Latour, Gilles Deleuze, Martin Heidegger and Alfred North Whitehead.


Core readings:

Hubert Dreyfus, Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics
Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern
David W. Smith, on Husserl’s Phenomenology
Martin Heidegger, What Is A Thing?
Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus

Supplemental readings:
Fran Dyson,
H. Maturana and Francisco Varela
Eugene Gendlin
Bonnie Nardi
Edwin Hutchins
Lucy Suchman


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 (max 8 pages) or participating in the production of an artifact or installation that responds to the theoretical themes of the course readings.
Subject to resource constraints, you may have an opportunity to collaborate with the graduate students on responsive media projects.
The creative artifact may be made using material or computational craft.



Class swiki:

Class list:

Office: Skiles 19

Office Hours: F

(and by appointment)

Telephone: 404.579.4944

Email: • 404-385-2527 •