Science and Technology Studies Material Culture and Design: Industrial, Modern, and Beyond




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НазваниеScience and Technology Studies Material Culture and Design: Industrial, Modern, and Beyond
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Science and Technology Studies

Material Culture and Design: Industrial, Modern, and Beyond



Dr. Shannon A. Brown


Course Overview and Objective:


This course will consider the body of scholarship on material culture as it applies to "designed" objects. Students will examine the theoretical and historical underpinnings of industrial design in the United States and elsewhere, explore scholarly perspectives on the technologies of production and consumption, and become familiar with contemporary design issues. Key questions will inform seminar discussions: What is design? What are the technological, economic, sociological, and cultural considerations that influence the design of objects? Is design a political act? Are objects value-neutral? These are among the many questions that we will address in this course.


The readings will focus primarily on the United States since the mid-nineteenth century, although due attention will be given to important European and Asian designers and design movements. Scholarly approaches to and interpretations of the study objects, the institutions that produce objects, and the societies that consume them will serve as points of review, analysis, and discussion for the class. Readings will be drawn from technology history, art history, anthropology, sociology, and the professional design literature.


Course Requirements


Students will be required to submit two papers for credit during this semester. The first paper will be a bibliographic essay that explores a specific topic design topic, describing the major academic works, summarizing the arguments that define the field. Based on the seminar discussions undertaken during the first few weeks of class, you can elect to write on an individual designer, a movement, a specific artifact or technology, etc. You should write between 9 and 12 pages. There is no limit to the number of books and articles that should be included in your bibliographic essay, but you should select works that are representative of the scholarship on the subject and can be given a fair treatment within the established page limit.


The second paper will be a product proposal that addresses the range of design issues that will be explored in this class. Later in the term, I will provide you with a more detailed requirements list for this assignment.


All students will be responsible for keeping up with the course reading. Your participation grades will be based on informal readings presentations (assigned to individuals the week prior) and open discussion.

Grading:


30% attendance and participation

35% bibliographic essay (12-15 pages)

35% analytical essay (12-15 pages)


Required Readings


Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space

Victor Buchli, The Material Culture Reader

Tim Dant, Material Culture in the Social World: Values, Activities, Lifestyles

Ian Woodward, Understanding Material Culture (* TBD)

Richard Buchanan and Victor Margolin, Discovering Design

Victor Margolin, Design Discourse: History, Theory, Criticism

David Gartman, Auto Opium

Beatriz Colimina et al, Cold War Hothouses

Gregory Votolato, American Design in the Twentieth Century

David F. Noble, American By Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism

Jeffrey L. Meikle, American Plastic

Carma Gordon, ed., The Industrial Design Reader

Raymond Stokes, Constructing Socialism: Technology and Change in East Germany, 1945-1990


Additional Reference Readings (optional)


Sigfreid Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command

Sigfried Giedion, Space, Time and Architecture

Arthur J. Pulos, The American Design Adventure

Arthur J. Pulos, American Design Ethic


Topic and Reading Schedule

(Reading assignments are subject to change; assignments marked “TBD” will be announced in class several weeks before discussion.


Week 1

Introduction and Course Overview


Week 2

Perspectives on Material Culture

Readings:

Pursell, “The History of Technology and the Study of Material Culture” (article)

Buchli, The Material Culture Reader (selections)

Margolin, Design Discourse (selections)


Week 3

Understanding the Artifact

Readings:

Joerges, “Do Politics Have Artefacts?” (article)

Winner, “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” (article)

Woolgar, “Do Artefacts Have Ambivalence?” (article)


Week 4

The Place of Material Culture in the Study of History

Readings:

Woodward, Understanding Material Culture

Dant, Material Culture in the Social World: Values, Activities, Lifestyles (selections)


Week 5

Revisiting the Industrial Revolution

Readings:

Kern, The Culture of Time and Space

Doordan, Design History (selections)


Week 6

Organizing for Production

Readings:

Noble, America by Design

Knowles and Leslie, “’Industrial Versailles’” (article)


Week 7

Consumer Cultures in the United States

Readings:

Votolato, American Design

Gordon, Industrial Design Reader (selections)


Week 8

Technology and Design

Readings:

Meikle, American Plastic

Gordon, Industrial Design Reader (selections)


Week 9

Alternative Paths

Readings:

Stokes, Constructing Socialism

Margolin, Design Discourse (selections)


Week 10

The Automobile

Readings:

Gartman, Auto Opium


Week 11

Gender and Design

Readings:

Wajcman, “Reflections on Gender and Technology Studies: What is the State of the Art?” (article)

Faulkner, “The Power and the Pleasure: A Research Agenda for ‘Making Gender Stick’ to Engineers” (article)

Berg, “Do Artifacts Have Gender?” (article)


Week 12

Selling Science and Technology

Readings:

Colomina et al, Cold War Hothouses (selections)

Week 13


Postmodern Design

Readings:

Betts, “The New Fascination with Fascism” (article)

Merelman, “Technological Cultures and Liberal Democracy in the United States” (article)

Berg, “The Politics of Technology” (article)

Week 14


Current Issues and Approaches to Design

Readings:

Laurel, Design Research (selections)

Henderson, “The Role of Material Objects in the Design Process”

Week 15


TBD

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