This blog is an experimental, public archive for the class, “Science and Technology in American Culture,” a second writing course in OSU’s Comparative Studies Department. The Department of Comparative Studies gives its instructors a lot of freedom to adapt the 2367 courses according to their unique approaches and I’m particularly interested in the boundaries of human and non-human, exploring the forms text takes in 2015, and attending to the phenomenology of technology. This is the second time I’ve taught this class and the second class blog. The first blog can be found here. This blog is intended as a deposit for course materials without copyright restrictions (restricted material will be on Carmen), student research, and as a tool for discussion outside the classroom. If you’re enrolled in my section of CS 2367.04 for Spring 2015, you’ll be obligated to contribute to this blog in various ways – to be discussed in class.
If you’re visiting this blog because you’ve wandered here via searches, links, or because it was recommended to you by someone, feel free to browse and comment. We’re interested in your thoughts and reactions!
This summer session class will explore the question “What is human?” with specific attention to human/technology boundary. Along the way, we’ll be exploring texts and composition in various forms. We’ll be taking a “comparative media” approach inspired primarily by the work of N. Katherine Hayles.(1)
Blogs are one of many new media that organize text and images into a navigable format for anyone with an internet-ready device. What are the advantages and drawbacks of this particular format and what skills are necessary to use it effectively? Please explore this blog with critical eye and an open mind, and thank you for however you contribute to this project!
1. Hayles, N. Katherine (2012) How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis. University of Chicago Press.
2. New media do not make old media disappear but put them into a new context. In this class, students will be transferring thoughts into letters on a page, but we cannot say this act is the same as it was 100 years ago, physically and in its meaning. This photo, an early daguerreotype photograph of unknown origins, probably from the 1840s, depicts a moment when a new form of “text” emerged, yet, it still evokes the presence of the old. This new media makes possible unexpected effects, such as the ghostly fact to the side of the primary subject (perhaps the first “photobomb”). Books in our hands, we explore other new forms of representation at the beginning of the 21st century. What human-like, but not quite human, figures might emerge for us? (Note: this photo is available in various places on the web, but no place seems to give it’s authorship or other information. Because of it’s age, it is most likely useable without copyright.)