2015-2017 Courses

The 2015-17 INTERSECT-Seeing System Curriculum designed by Seeing Systems core faculty features the below courses:

Spring 2017:  CMN5– | Professor Will Barley| Title, location, time: TBA.

Fall 2016: MDIA590: naturecultures | Professor Anita Say Chan | Gregory Hall 003 Thursdays, 1:30-4:20pm | 4 credits hours. This seminar adopts an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of naturecultures – the entanglement of the natural and the cultural, the body and the mind, the material and the semiotic (among other oppositional binaries of the modern) – drawing from science and technology studies, communications and media studies, political anthropology, globalization studies, social theory, and feminist and post-colonial/de-colonial theory. This seminar is designed for students interested in contemporary developments in STS and interrogating the sociotechnical and naturecultural as means to examine the coshaping of such forces. It is particularly concerned with examining how diverse ‘disciplinary’ orientations and practices come to work at the interface of the naturecultural (and related emerging paradigms of new materialism and post-humanism) in the humanities and natural sciences alike.

Spring 2016: LIS 590: Sociotechnical Systems |Professor Jerome McDonough| LIS Building| 4 credits hours.

Fall 2015:  Dialogues on Feminism and Technology. LIS 590-1 meets with MDIA 590 |Professors Sharon Irish and CL Cole | LIS Building 109 | Mondays, 3-5:50pm | 4 credits hours | CRN 35246. Dialogues on Feminism and Technology is a cross-disciplinary graduate seminar that’s part of a Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC) in an international network of institutions and scholars called FemTechNet. This Fall 2015 course will use technology for collaborative creation and peer-to-peer sharing while still valuing local issues and face-to-face connections. The course is built around a set of video dialogues on keywords—including Body, Difference, and Transformation—with preeminent thinkers and artists who consider technology through a feminist lens. One of the course’s basic pedagogic instruments is the use of Boundary Objects that Learn, a concept indebted to the work of former UI faculty member S. Leigh Star, and further developed by Anne Balsamo. Through reading, discussion, writing, and making, we will add to a growing and global database of materials that “learn” through implementation, reflection, revision, and/or deletion.

Fall 2015: CMN 529: Communication, Technology, and Social Change. Professors Sally Jackson and Will Barley | Tuesdays 2-4:50pm, Lincoln Hall 4103. CMN 529 Syllabus. Course Description: We begin with the premise that “new media” refers not just a set of specific artifacts (devices, applications, infrastructures) but to a dramatically changed communication environment in which we should expect meaningful shifts at both the social-behavioral and societal levels. This seminar will introduce students to significant bodies of theorizing in communication and allied disciplines, each of which attempts to explain the relationship between technological and social change. Following a general introduction to system theories of communication, we will explore:

  • Medium theory (McLuhan, Ong, etc.), sometimes known as “Media ecology” (Postman)
  • Mediatization theory (Hjarvard, Lundby, etc.)
  • Actor network theory (Latour, Woolgar, Callon, etc.)
  • Sociomateriality (Leonardi, Orlikowski)
  • Socio-historical approaches to communication technology (Marvin, Fischer, etc.)
  • Social construction of technology (SCOT; Pinch, Bijker, etc.)
  • Feature oriented approaches to technology & change (Kiesler, Daft, Walther, etc.)
  • Structurational approaches (Poole, Barley, etc.)

As a broader structure for the course, we will position each body of theory along two axes with regard to how they treat the relationship between technology and change: first, on whether the theory attends more closely to artifacts or to human interpretation, and second, on whether the theory attends more closely to the immediate influences or to durable, irreversible changes in how human social life is organized. It is our hope that this structure will facilitate a meta-conversation about how one’s theoretical positioning may influence data collection, methods, analysis, and conclusions.