Monday, November 7, 2011

Designerly ways of worlding?

Tuesday 1 Nov & Thursday 3 Nov: Worlding Sciences  
  • Katie is at the Society for the Social Studies of Science talking about SF feminisms and theory!
While Katie is away participating in professional SF feminisms, the class will continue to meet without her. Two facilitators (to be decided upon) will oversee the class, which will meet in groups, working on science issues for the course, sharing web research on those and worldings, and finishing up the rest of the collection Dreaming.

"Technology is a substantive and seductive force that permeates nearly every aspect of my being. To what extent is our collective humanity bethinged by technological things thinging (simultaneously dependent upon, inhabited by, immersed in and indifferent to the technology in our everyday lives)? My concern is that we do not USE our technologies inasmuch as we LIVE them. Technology is living inside me and it’s living inside you…." Theory of Learning....  

The Near Future Laboratory
"Extending this idea that science fiction is implicated in the production of things like science fact, I wanted to think about how this happens, so that I could figure out the principles and pragmatics of doing design, making things that create different sorts of near future worlds. So, this is a bit of a think-piece, with examples and some insights that provide a few conclusions about why this is important as well as how it gets done. How do you entangle design, science, fact and fiction in order to create this practice called "design fiction" that, hopefully, provides different, undisciplined ways of envisioning new kinds of environments, artifacts and practices." Projects....  Process....  

Tuesday 8 Nov – Secret Lives and Not So Secret Secrets
• finish up the Tiptree biography and make all the connections you can with worlding practices
What is an “open secret” and what role might such a way of thinking about secrets play in understanding what sort of icon Tiptree becomes to SF feminisms? How many ways and for whom does Tiptree end up mattering? How might Tiptree matter to YOU? 

Alice Bradley Sheldon / James Tiptree, Jr. (August 24, 1915 – May 19, 1987)
Joanna Russ (February 22, 1937 – April 29, 2011)

Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006)

Thursday 10 Nov – Near of Kin
• Finish the rest of the Butler collection, consider connections with science and worldings
Butler was a profound influence on Haraway's feminist theory, and on the writers of the collection
Dreaming. Why? Check out what else Butler has written and come in with some ideas about further reading. 

Butler, "Positive Obsession," 128: "I hid out in a big pink notebook--one that would hold a whole ream of paper. I made myself a universe in it. There I could be a magic horse, a Martian, a telepath.... There I could be anywhere but here, any time but now, with any people but these."
"[Butler's mother] wasn't sure which books I might be able to use, so she brought whatever she found in the trash.... them when I was ready for them. Some were years too advanced for me when I got them, but I grew into them."
129: "Obsession can be a useful tool if it's positive obsession. Using it is like aiming carefully in archery."
131: "At college...I took classes taught by an elderly woman who wrote children's stories. She was polite about the science fiction and fantasy that I kept handing in, but she finally asked in exasperation, 'Can't you write anything normal?'"
134: "What good is science fiction's thinking about the present, the future, and the past? What good is its tendency to warn or to consider alternative ways of thinking and doing? ...And what good is all this to Black people?"

From bell hooks and Cornel West, 1991. Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life. South End Press.

hooks, "Black Women Intellectuals," 148: "Living in a society that is fundamentally anti-intellectual, it is difficult for committed intellectuals concerned with radical social change to affirm in an on-going way that the work we do has meaningful impact. Within progressive circles, the work of intellectuals is rarely acknowledged as a form of activism, indeed more visible expressions of concrete activism (like picketing in the streets or travelling to a Third World country and other acts of challenge and resistance) are considered more important to revolutionary struggle than the work of the mind.... Throughout our history as African Americans in the United States, Black intellectuals have emerged from all classes and conditions of life. However, the decision to consciously pursue an intellectual path has always been an exceptional and difficult choice. For many of us it has seemed more like a 'calling' than a vocational choice. We have been moved, pushed, even, in the direction of intellectual work by forces stronger than that of individual will."
149: "During adolescence, I underwent a conversion process that pushed me towards intellectual life.... I became my own 'enlightened witness,' able to analyze the forces that were acting upon me, and through that understanding able to sustain a separate sense of my self. Wounded, at times persecuted and abused, I found the life of the mind a refuge, a sanctuary where I could experience a sense of agency and thereby construct my own subject identity."

naturecultures and Haraway:
 "I want the readers to find an “elsewhere” from which to envision a different and less hostile order of relationships among people, animals, technologies, and land … I also want to set new terms for the traffic between what we have come to know historically as nature and culture." (Haraway, Primate Visions 1989: 15)

Evelyn Fox Keller's book among the other books of legendary scientists
She won the Bernal Prize at this year's 4S, and spoke to the conference via Skype.



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