STS 310H
Prof. Burt Kimmelman


Bender, Gretchen, and Timothy Druckrey. Eds. Culture on the Brink: Ideologies of Technology. Dia Center for the Arts, Discussions in Contemporary Culture, Number 9. Seattle: Bay Press, 1994.

Bolter, J. David. Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991.

Bronk, William. Selected Poems. Preface by Henry Weinfield. New York: New Directions, 1995.

Winner, Langdon. The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.


This course examines the intersection between technology and the humanities.  We will consider the ways in which machines and tools change the way we think and live, by drawing on material from history, philosophy, and the arts.  History reveals when and where mechanical innovations have occurred and how they have challenged and transformed societies.  Philosophy asks us to consider how the introduction of a new tool into a situation leads us to reconsider our categories of thought and the limitations of humanity.  The arts make use of tools of a time to express timeless human dreams and concerns.  Is technology just a means to realize intentions that are inside us, or are these desires and wants revised because we live in a world made up of tools and devices?  What aspects of humanity are extended by technology?  What aspects are immune to the betterment promised by machines?  These are the kinds of question this course considers.


* Oral reports, one or two based on class readings, another on the end of term research project (see below).
* Midterm and Final examinations, comprehensive, essay in format.
* One 1200 word take home examination that will be analytical in nature.
* One 2000 word end of term research paper that will be analytical in nature.  The research paper topic must be approved ahead of time by the instructor.
* All out-of-class writing, when submitted, must have been word processed on 8 1/2" x 11" paper, double spaced with one inch margins, spell checked, and to the best of one's ability grammar checked.  If on occasion use is made of the ideas or words of someone else in one's writing, then the source(s) of those ideas and/or words must be cited; that is, when appropriate, papers must be fully documented (you must cite sources--using footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical documentation, which include specific page numbers keyed to particular passages in one's text, and complete bibliographical information).  Of course, the final research paper must also be fully documented.  For this paper, a minimum of three secondary research sources must be cited.  PAPERS NOT MEETING ALL OF THESE REQUIREMENTS WILL NOT BE READ AND WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT.
* Optional attendance at guided tour of Guggenheim Museum.


I: Introduction to the course.
II: Winner, 98-117.
III: Bolter, ix-xi, 1-31.
IV: Bolter, 33-61.
V: Bolter, 63-99.
VI: Bender, 149-55.
VII: Bolter, 99-119.
VIII: Bolter, 121-46.
X: Bolter, 171-93; Bender, 65-79.
XI: Bender, 329-41.
XII: Bolter, 195-222.
XIII: Bolter, 223-40; Bender, 231-48.
XV: The History of Abstraction, Guggenheim Museum, NYC.
XVI: Winner, 3-18; Bender, 267-76.
XVII: Bender, 191-97; Winner, 19-39.
XVIII: Bender, 129-143; 47-64.
XIX: Bender, 31-45; 317-27.
XX: Bender, 85-127.
XXI: Winner, 121-54.
XXII: Winner, 155-78.
XXIII: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 by Arthur Clarke.
XXIV: Stanley Kubrick's 2001 by Arthur Clarke.
XXV: Bronk, 2-4, 6-12, 19,22.
XXVI: Bronk, 24-32, 35,37-40-41, 43-45.
XXVII: Bronk, 46-53, 59-62, 64, 66, 68-69.
XXVIII: Oral reports on research projects.
XXIX: Oral reports on research projects. FINAL RESEARCH PAPER DUE


Take Home Examination   10%
Midterm Examination   20%
End of Term Research Paper   25%
Final Examination    25%
Oral Reports    20%