Technology, Culture, Education: Imagination of machines
This page was composed by Aaron Hung on the basis for the lectures notes as they were in the Summer 2008. I want to thank him for the work. I am making some changes for the Summer 2009. The notes on the main web site for the course will generally be more up to date.
Everyone is welcome to use and edit these pages, perhaps on the basis of your own notes (since sometimes I do not follow my own notes).
Link to Professor Varenne's notes for this course.
For your reaction papers, click on the "Study" tab. You might also wish to watch a video tutorial on how to post your reaction papers on Youtube.
- Technology: possibility and determination?
- (Ethno-)Methodology for (de)constructing human production
- Human (dis-)abilities: expansions through tools and institutions
- Hoes, plows and familial strategies
- Irrigation: Power and social structure
- The power of the printed word
- Possibilities in print: Play and control
- Industrialization I: The imagination of the machines
- Industrialization II: The experience of machines
- Living with the bomb
- The body and the machine
- Further reading
- Marx, Leo The machine in the garden. Oxford University Press. 1964
- Bateson, an anthropologist, was one of the early scholars working on communication and systems theory
- did earlier works on video analysis, on families and schizophrenia
- "this is play": how do you know what type of behaviors are play and not play
- interested not only in humans, but in animals
- some actions, especially aggressive ones, need to be framed in non-aggressive ways
- Geertz wrote on "deep play" regarding Balinese cockfights
- based on Bentham's work on betting: The theory of legistlation (1931)
- Geertz interested in semiology, in communication and in the flexibility of meaning
- it would be interesting to relate this to changes in societies (i.e. how societies change over time)
- who were bothered to shift societies into different states?
- dangers of reifying cultural practices
- anthropologists generally want to preserve other cultures, but run into danger of preventing people who want to change from changing
- history filled with instances where societies or governments have to make bets as to going down a certain path that would affect large groups of people
- once you make a "bet" it would be difficult to back out of it
- Jefferson imported machines without knowing what they might do or how they might transform society
- V: have to imagine a solution to deal with a problem a society faces; the outcomes are always uncertain
- idea of democracy fit better in rural areas, small towns
- Wallace: more focused discussion on early capitalists along Delaware River
- Turner: one of the few impressionist painters who painted factories and made them beautiful
- until Rousseau, Europeans had thought mountains were ugly, because they were dark and dangerous
- shift in looking at nature as a beautiful garden
- most scholars will agree that schools (re)produce inequalities
- many think that equity can be achieved, and that it is possible to close the achievement gap
- others question whether it is possible, and that schools will never by equitable institutions
- why should the state pay to train workers for the factories? why shouldn't businesses pay for it?
- No Child Left Behind (NCLB) focuses on reading and math, on training workforce
- politicians will turn to experts (i.e. scholars) in designing policies
- Bateson, G. (1985). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Jason Aronson. ISBN 0226039056
- Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385058985
- Geertz, C. (1975). The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0465097197