This class is organized in terms of a double progression addressing both

  1. the evolution of the relationship between technologies and cultural elaboration where each feeds on the other as human imagination produces new technologies with unpredictable consequences that then become the material basis for further elaboration. Thus we move from
    1. agricultural tools and irrigation as the basis for the development of cities and states
    2. literacy as useful for further development and opening new possibilities
    3. the industrial revolution as an intellectual and practical problem for philosophers, poets and capitalists
    4. the latest technologies and the new dilemmas they make for humanity
  2. the evolution of theoretical approaches to the study of the relationship between technology and culture
    1. from the more marxist and determinist
    2. to the more idealist
    3. to the more current attempt to bridge the two by emphasizing the openness of constraining systems and thus their enabling as well as disabling characters
      1. from positive/negative feedbacks and broken/homeostatis to "evolutionary feedback" and the transformation of the system.

Specifically, the class

  1. starts with 3 sessions of introduction setting the general framework developing theoretical foundations, methodological grounding, and practical consequences for people (to linked page)
  2. continues with 2 sessions each dedicated to the four classical issues
    1. the (agri-)culturing of human ecology on the earth (to linked page)
    2. literacy and the development of new ecologies of discourse (to linked page)
    3. industrial machines as art and problems (to linked page)
    4. bombs and amniosyntesis as contexts for individual action (to linked page)