In this seminar, we will explore the literature of the interdisciplinary field of technology studies. While the scholarly study of technology and its relationship to society and culture is a relatively recent phenomenon\u2015e.g. the Society for the History of Technology was only founded in the late 1950s\u2015to the 1970s, the advent of technology studies is even more recent. Nonetheless, since that time, by adding sociological, anthropological, and other perspectives to the historical study of technology, technology studies has made valuable contributions to our understanding of the way technological change shapes and is shaped by society, culture, politics, and
Surprisingly, there has not been as much traffic as one might expect between the literatures of
technology studies more generally and new media, information, and communication
technologies (NMICTs) more particularly. Therefore, the goal in this seminar will be to
explore the ways in which the concepts and theoretical frameworks related to technological
change and development found in the technology studies literature might benefit us in our study
of NMICTs more specifically, as well as vice versa. Thus, we will read examples of
sociological, historical, and ethnographic approaches to the study of technology. We will also
explore a number of theories of technological change and the relationship between technology
\u25cfWhat are the strengths/limitations of the current literature on NMICTs?
\u25cfWhat (if anything) is distinct about NMICTs as technological artifacts?
\u25cfDo/should those differences (again, if any) make a difference for our study of them?
\u25cfDo those differences (if any), or the study of NMICTs in general, point to any
The main objective of this course might be described in Kierkegaardian terms. That is, the goal is to gain a better understanding of NMICTs and related literature by leaving and then returning to them with \u201cfresh eyes,\u201d with a perspective, concepts, and theories not typically found in the study of NMICTs.
the format provided to you. Each students will contribute one brief each week. Briefs will be
pasted intoa n dattached to discussion forum posts in WebCT. In this way, each student will
have access to the briefs of the others, meaning that by the end of the semester, each student
will have a set of standardized briefs for all course readings. The forum will also facilitate out-
of-class discussion about the sources, briefs, or topic of the week. We will coordinate one
week in advance to make sure that all sources will be covered.
in the course, or a crucial controversy/theme in the course literature, and write a 10 to 15 page
critical literature review based on relevant course readings. Summarize the literature and
provide a critical evaluation.
on new media and ICTs. Using the literature from the course, critically evaluate the
new media/ICTs literature. Write a paper in the style of Pinch and Bijker's "The Social
Construction of Facts and Artifacts." How can the tech studies literature inform and
improve our study of new media and ICTs? What shortcomings do you find in the new
media/ICTs literature from a tech studies perspective? Finally, how might a study of
new media/ICTs inform tech studies more generally? Does a study of these particular
technologies point to shortcomings in the tech studies literature? How could tech
studies benefit from the study of new media/ICTs?
communication technology and analyze it using appropriate concepts, theories, and
methodologies from the tech studies literature. You may still draw conclusions relevant
to answering the questions in option one, but the primary focus should be on using
what you have gained from the tech studies literature to provide a descriptive, critical
account of the development and use of a particular new media, information, or
for a week of his/her choosing. While it isnotexpected that you will lecture or give a formal
presentation, it is expected that you will be well prepared with a series of questions and/or
issues, based on the week's readings, which will serve to provide focus and direction for in-
of class on which he/she will present the findings of his/her final project. The format will be
similar to a conference or colloquium, in which each student will give a short (roughly 20 min)
presentation, followed by questions, answers, and general discussion. To facilitate this
process, each student will provide a copy of his/her final paper to the instructor and the entire
class one week prior to his/her chosen presentation date. It is expected that all other students
will have read the presenters' papers by the beginning of class and will be prepared to critically
and constructively discuss the work of their colleagues.
1930,\u201d Technology and Culture 47, no. 3 (2006): 486-512. [WebCT]
Melvin Kranzberg, "At the Start," Technology and Culture 1 (1960): 1\u201310. [WebCT]
Peter Drucker, "Work and Tools," Technology and Culture 1 (1960): 28\u201337. [WebCT]
Leo Marx, "The Idea of 'Technology' and Postmodern Pessimism," in Does Technology Drive
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