Cold War, Technology and Society

Term: Fall 2012

Subject Code: GHIS

Course Number: 5138

Do our contemporary forms of attention and economy have a history? How might the study of design, broadly conceived, help us to rethink our present, produce new methods in the social sciences, and critically examine the relationship between technology, media, politics, and governance?This course will examine, from numerous disciplinary perspectives, the relationship between design, technology, science, and society with a focus on the period of the Cold War. From neural nets to marketing tactics to corporate architecture and management to financial instruments, this class will traverse a range of fields and disciplinary perspectives to examine the mid-century movement from object to process and the co-produced changes in knowledge, power, and economy. As a class, we will examine the shadow infrastructure-aesthetic, political, and technical-that supports our contemporary information economies and attentive environments. Readings may include: Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, David Harvey, Saskia Sassen, Donald MacKenzie, Peter Galison, Beatriz Colomina, Rheinhold Martin, John Harwood, Wendy Chun. The class will also be structured as an experimental lab, and students will be encouraged to experiment with different forms of documentation, media, and data collection as part of their practice.

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