Technology, Culture, Education: The bomb
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.
- 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
- Gusterson, Hugh Nuclear rites: A weapons laboratory at the end of the cold war. Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1996
- various theoretical fights (deconstructionism, structuralism, phenomenology, existentialism) all focus on whether reality can be fully represented by language
- recording devices have made certain oralities available for study
- people who specialize in video analysis feel that video record is not necessarily an obvious entry into what actually happened
- sequentiality is important in understand how events unfolded
- Derrida: if everything is words, then there is nothing (no stable meaning, no reality)
- cognitive psychology have a similar notion regarding perception of color: do all people see the same colors?
- Cole: difficult to identify (differences in) thinking
- Latour's work directly relevant to Gusterson's work on weapons lab
- Roosevelt receives letter by physicists, including Einstein, who told him that it is possible to create a nuclear lab
- won't be learning anything new about atoms, but will learn about how to make a bomb
- any bomb that succeeds becomes the standard to exceed
- many weapons built today do not work because they were never tested
- Gusterson talked about ritual displays and metaphors of life and death
Out of school learning
- television series, The Wire, explores relationship between politics, drugs, and the community
- set in Baltimore; each season focuses on a different part of the city
- one episode paralleled two school events (math test) and one drug dealing event (teaching new recruits how to kill)
- any form of innovation involves a kind of education
- requires finding out what to teach, how you would learn
- reminds me of the quote: "I am never afraid of an army of Lions led into battle by a Lamb. I fear more the army of Lambs who have a Lion to lead them" - Alexander the Great Aaron Hung 14:18, 30 June 2008 (EDT)
- optimists say that education is good by nature
- in the larger world, this might not be so (e.g. morality of weapons development)
- war in Iraq is mutual education between soldiers and insurgents
- wars in medieval Europe were brief, in limited places, and probably unknown to other people at the time
- there was no draft until 1793 in France
- big transformation in history of warfare came when king called on "les peuples" (the people) to help fight
- French army had dominated, not so much because of new technologies, but because there were more soldiers who were willing to fight
- analogous to situation in the Civil War, because both sides were energized to fight
- needed bureaucracy to transform people into soldiers in short order (weapons, uniforms, etc.)
- how can anthropology and the other social sciences contribute to education
- many grants and funds prefer "evidence-based" research, statistical analyses, and clearly delineated variables
- anthropologists should argue that you really need to open up the "black box" to study the social uses of technology
- bureaucracy can become part of the technology
- need to focus on the temporal aspect instead of the static state to understand how things arrived at their present condition, and what possible trajectories it might follow
- Dewey advocated for educators to understand the mind of the child, but may have led others to focus excessively on testing
- de Certeau, M. (1984). The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520236998
- Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226468011
- Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521423740
- Army Enlists Anthropology in War Zones
- Army enlisting anthropologists in Iraq; some anthropologists resisting.
- Network of Concerned Anthropologists
- The Network of Concerned Anthropologists (NCA) is an independent ad hoc network of anthropologists seeking to promote an ethical anthropology.
- The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete
- Wired article that starts "All models are wrong, but some are useful."
- Why the cloud cannot obscure the scientific method
- A critique of the Wired article.
- Some fear debut of powerful atom-smasher
- Fears that the particle supercollider (CERN) will cause little problems such as the destruction of the world.
Speaking of bricolage...
- A Chinese farmer-made airplane
- There is of course a chance that this is a hoax.
- Hacked Nintendo Wii Balance Board Surfing
- Surfing Google Earth with a hacked Nintendo Wii Board
- Control Lights with Twitter
- Using the social networking software Twitter to control lights
- MacBook Pro controlled Roomba
- Using the MacBook Pro laptop's accelerometer to control the robot vacuum
- Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the WiiRemote
- Transforming your display into a portal to a virtual environment to create create a realistic illusion of depth and space.
Other amazing videos
- Bourdieu on Levi-Strauss
- Pierre Bourdieu talks about Levi-Strauss
- Interview with Clifford Geertz
- First part of the full interview of the anthropologist Clifford Geertz, filmed in May 2004 in Cambridge