Notes on the readings you will find below: In advance of each seminar meeting you are required to read at least one of the key essays closely. In your blog post (composed of image and text) you are to respond carefully to some aspect of the text that you believe is critically valuable (you do not need to respond to the whole text in detail). The further readings are provided for those who want to read beyond the key texts. The further readings help situate the question of architecture, gender and technology in the context of what has come to be called (still controversially) the anthropocene. The anthropocene is the name appointed to a brief geologic age that has witnessed massive environmental change at a planetary level. Swiftly effectuated following the invention of the steam engine and its revolutionary impact upon industrial production the anthropocene is a geologic age created by ‘man’ and his ever-developing technologies. It is a term that helps us think the relationship between technology and environment (see J.K. Gibson Graham). There are also accounts of another associated term given above, and that is the ‘posthuman’. This challenging concept does not necessarily anticipate the extinction of the human species, so much as the urgent need to re-conceptualise what the human is, and how it practices its modes of inhabitation (see N. Katherine Hayles and Braidotti). This leads us to a third theme, after the anthropocene, and after the posthuman, and that is the theme of ecology, and how we might rethink our own modes of being as ‘eco-subjects’ and to imagine new ‘relational architectural ecologies’ in order to deal with our new age, the athropocene (see Verena Andermatt Conley and Peg Rawes). How we shift our modes of being or styles of life also relates to how we situate our knowledge (Donna Haraway) and develop our (architectural) methodologies (Sandra Harding). It could be that one approach might be through the invention of new feminist technologies? (see Linda Layne and Judith A. McGaw). I hope that we can address many of these concepts and questions when we come together in our seminar meetings this term!
MEETING 01 Introduction: Posthuman Landscapes and the Anthropocene
Linda L. Layne, ‘Introduction’ in Linda L. Layne, Sharra L. Vostral, Kate Boyer, eds. Feminist Technology, Urbana, Chicago, Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2010.
Judith A. McGaw, ‘Why Feminist Technologies Matter’ in Nina E. Lerman, Ruth Oldenziel, Arwen P. Mohun, eds, Gender and Technology: A Reader, Baltimore and London: John Hopkins University Press, 2003.
-Rosi Braidotti, ‘Introduction’ in The Posthuman, Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2013.
-J.K. Gibson-Graham, ‘A Feminist Project of Belonging for the Anthropocene’, in Gender, Place and Culture, 18.01, 2011, pp. 1-21.
Verena Andermatt Conley, ‘Eco Subjects’ in Verena Andermatt Conley, ed. Rethinking Technologies, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
–Donna Haraway, ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspectives’, in Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 575–599, 1988.
Sandra Harding, ‘Introduction: Is There a Feminist Methodology?’, in Sandra Harding , ed. Feminism and Methodology, Indiana University Press, 1987.
N. Katherine Hayles, ‘Afterword: The Human in the Posthuman’ in Cultural Critique, No. 53, Posthumanism (Winter 2003), pp. 134-137. Peg Rawes, ed. Relational Architectural Ecologies: Architecture, Nature, and Subjectivity, London: Routledge, 2013.
REFERENCE TEXT for Posthuman Landscapes STORYBOOK EXERCISE: Jakob von Uexküll, A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, trans. Joseph D. O’Neil, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
This text is provided to help you think about how you might create your own post human landscapes storybook. Uexküll’s work can be read as a ‘storybook’ of sorts, including little narratives of different creatures and wonderful storybook pictures attempting to describe what is significant in the worlds of these creatures (including human beings). You are not expected to read this entire extended essay, instead look for a chapter that interests you, and see how Uexküll uses his illustrations. Take inspiration!
INSTRUCTION 01 Based on the seminar readings and seminar discussions provisionally define what a ‘posthuman landscape’ might be. You may find that your definition needs to be revised as we proceed through the seminar meetings. Select a site that can be framed in terms of the concept of a ‘posthuman landscape’. Such a site should be situated in relation to our relatively new geologic age that has come to be called the ‘anthropocene’ (see J.K. Gibson-Graham). Furthermore, ‘site’ here should be conceived in an expanded sense; it is not necessarily a conventionally defined ‘architectural site’. While your site might be discovered in your local neighbourhood, you might also draw on a ‘scene’ from an influential movie; or a setting in a novel; you might respond to an artist’s body of work; or you might choose to focus on a site that directly relates to your current design research or interests. While a ‘posthuman landscape’ suggests a large-scale site, it may be a site of any scale from the macro to the microscopic.
MEETING 02 Things and Objects
Elizabeth Grosz, ‘The Thing’, in Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.
Jane Bennett, ‘The Force of Things: Steps Toward an Ecology of Matter’, in Political Theory, Vol. 32, No. 3, June 2004, pp. 347-372.
Arjun Appadurai, ‘The Thing Itself’ in Public Culture, 18.1, Duke University Press, 2006. (see also Appadurai’s introduction to: Arjun Appadurai, ed. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.)
Martin Heidegger, ‘The Thing’ in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstader, New York: Harper Collins, 2001.
Graham Harman, ‘Heidegger on Objects and Things’ in Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, eds. Atmospheres of Democracy: Making Things Public, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.
Timothy Morton, ‘Here Comes Everything: The Promise of Object-Oriented Ontology’, in Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer/Spring 2011, pp. 163-190.
INSTRUCTION 02: Select a ‘technological’ thing or object that has some relation to your ‘site’. Assume an expanded sense of what a technological object or thing might be; a definition that goes beyond the idea of machines or engineering feats. Based on your readings, reflect upon whether a difference can be determined between objects and things? When you choose your object or thing imagine how it can be discussed or even retrofitted as a ‘feminist design power tool’.
MEETING 03 Containers and Matter
–Katie Lloyd Thomas , ‘Going into the Mould’ in Radical Philosophy, vol. 144, July/August 2007, pp. 16-25.
–Zoe Sofia, ‘Container Technologies’ in Hypatia Vol. 15, No. 2, Spring 2000, pp. 181-200.
Karen Barad, ‘Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter’ in Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman, eds., Material Feminisms, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008.
Elizabeth Grosz, ‘Woman, Chora, Dwelling’ in Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner, Iain Borden, eds, Gender Space Architecture: An Interdisciplinary Introduction, London: Routledge, 2000, pp. 1-5.
Interior architectural example of the ‘Frankfurt Kitchen’:
Susan R. Henderson, ‘A Revolution in the Woman’s Sphere: Greta Lihotszky and the Frankfurt Kitchen’ in Debra Coleman, Elizabeth Danze, Carol Henderson, eds, Architecture and Feminism, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996.
Thomas Elsaesser, ‘The Camera in the Kitchen: Grete Schütte-Lihotsky and Domestic Modernity’ in Christiane Schönfeld (ed), Practicing Modernity: Female Creativity in the Weimar Republic, Verlag Königshausen and Neumann, 2006.
See also Hilde Heynen and Gülsüm Baydar, eds. Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Productions of Gender in Modern Architecture, London: Routledge, 2005.
INSTRUCTION 03: Select a container and/or discuss a material specification or a material relation as a means to further situate and discuss your selected ‘posthuman landscape’. Matter here turns out to be something that is quite lively, and may even exhibit an agency of its own. Containers such as bowls, plumbing, bottles, even houses, are the kinds of technologies that we take for granted when we place an emphasis instead on projectile technologies such as cars, planes, rockets and also various war machines (see Zoe Sofia).
MEETING 04 Networks and Agents
–Judy Wajcman, ‘TechnoCapitalism Meets TechnoFeminism: Women and Technology in a Wireless World, in Labour and Industry, vol. 16, No. 3, April-May 2006, pp. 7-20.
–Bruno Latour, ‘Technology is Society Made Durable’, in John Laws, ed. The Sociology of Monsters: Essays in Power, Technology and Domination, London: Routledge, 1991.
Fallan, ‘Architecture in Action: Travelling with Actor Network Theory in the Land of Architectural Research’ in Architectural Theory Review, 13.1, 2008, pp. 80-96.
Bernard Stiegler, ‘Introduction’, in Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998.
Judy Wajcman, ‘Feminist Theories of Technology’ in Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2009.
INSTRUCTION 04: Diagram a network in which your technological thing or object operates. How is a network different from a ‘site’? What is the relation between network and site? Does your thing or object operate as an ‘agent’ in the network that makes your site operational? What relations and effects does your thing or object procure in its network in relation to its site?
MEETING 05 Machines and Prostheses
–Donna Haraway, ‘Cyborg Manifesto’ in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, London: Free Association Books, 1991, pp. 149-
N. Katherine Hayles, ‘Unfinished Work: From Cyborg to Cognisphere’ in Theory Culture Society 23; 159, 2006.
–Alice Jardine, ‘Of Bodies and Technologies’ in Hal Foster, ed. Discussions in Contemporary Culture, DIA Art Foundations, no. 1, 1987, pp. 151-172.
–Susan Hekman, ‘Constructing the Ballast: An Ontology for Feminism’, in Stacy Alaimo and Susan hekman, eds, Material Feminisms, pp. 85-119.
Bruno Latour, ‘Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Maters of Concern’ in Critical Inquiry, 30, University of Chicago Press, Winter 2004, pp. 225-248.
Georges Teyssot, ‘The Mutant Body of Architecture’, in Diller and Scofidio, eds, Flesh: Architectural Probes, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, pp. 8-35.
FOR some historical situating of the ‘machine’ in architectural theory see:
Reynar Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, London: The Architectural Press, 1970.
Sigfried Gideon, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014 (first published 1948).
Vitruvius, Book X [Dedicated to Machines and Instruments], On Architecture, London: Penguin, 2009 (originally written c. 20BC).
INSTRUCTION 05: Now step back and reconsider how your ‘posthuman landscape’ and things (or objects) operate together like a machine and its parts: parts in relations to other parts in relation to the operation of the assemblage as a whole. This week we will discuss how quickly technology becomes integrated into the daily habits of the human actor, becoming a ‘prosthesis’ that supports (and also inhibits) the functioning of a body. Is the (anthropocene) body more organism or more machine, or a hybrid of both? The term ‘cyborg’ as discussed by Donna Haraway will be a useful concept-tool here.
MEETING 06 Noopolitics and Information
Deborah Hauptmann, ‘Introduction: Architecture and Mind in the Age of Communication and Information’, in Deborah Hauptman, eds. Cognitive Architecture: From Biopolitics to Noopolitics, Rotterdam 010 Publishers, 2010.
–Sally Wyatt, ‘Feminism, Technology and the Information Society: Learning from the Past, Imagining the Future’ in Information, Communication & Society, 2008, Vol.11(1), p.111-130.
Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, ‘The End of (Wo)Man’ in Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, eds. New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies, Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, 2012.
Maurizio Lazzarato, ”Exiting Language,” seminotic systems and the production of Subjectivity in Félix Guattari’ in Deborah Hauptman, eds. Cognitive Architecture: From Biopolitics to Noopolitics, Rotterdam 010 Publishers, 2010.
Maurizio Lazzarato,, ‘The Concepts of Life and the Living in the Societies of Control’ in Martin Fuglsang and Bent Meier Sorensen, eds. Deleuze and the Social, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006.
INSTRUCTION 06: Yet another aspect of the ‘posthuman landscape’ and the things (or objects) that populate it, also the networks formed across such milieus, and the role of machinic relations, is the way information is circulated. Noopolitics is a key term in relation to information. It is a concept that describes how minds (nous: noo) in the information age often enter into unwitting collaboration, which manifests, for instance, as local and global market trends, the predictability of consumer behavior, and even the increasingly predictable modes of inhabitation that are performed in urban contexts.
MEETING 07 Conclusion In the concluding seminar Posthuman Landscapes Storybooks will be presented.
INSTRUCTION 07: This week is when your posthuman landscape comes together. All seminar participants will share their discoveries through the presentation of a draft of a posthuman landscapes and things storybook. Each presenter will be paired with a respondent who will have read the work before it is presented, and who will be prepared to offer critical and constructive feedback.
GENERAL READERS on Gender, Technology, ‘New Materialism’:
-Stacy Alaimo, Susan Hekman, eds, Material Feminisms, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008.
-Mary Wyer, Mary Barbercheck, Donna Cookmeyer, Hatice Örük Oztürk, Marta Wayne, eds, Women, Science, and Technology: A Reader in Feminist Science Studies, London: Routledge, 2014.
-Linda L. Layne, Sharra L. Vostral, Kate Boyer, eds. Feminist Technology, Urbana, Chicago and Springfield: University of Ilinois Press, 2010. -Nina Lehman, Ruth Oldenziel, Arwen P. Mohun, eds. Gender and Technology: A Reader, Baltimore: Maryland, John Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Further Essays on Feminist Philosophy
Michèle Le Doeuff, ‘Women and Philosophy’ in Radical Philosophy, Vol. 017, Summer 1977, 2-11.