Information in Society
Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary field concerned with two areas of interest to us: the interaction between technology and the social; and knowledge communities. Recent years have seen increased interaction between STS and human-computer interaction (HCI), information and communication technologies for development (ICTD), and new media.
This class will be a seminar emphasizing close reading and discussion of some classic STS works, along with more current research, emphasizing that which is relevant to information and computing technologies, and knowledge communities. Our concern will be with how these can help us understand the relationships among information technology and new media, especially design; knowledge communities; and the social.
Topics will depend in part on who’s in the class and people’s interests. Past years' topics include Social Construction of Technology (SCOT), Actor-Network Theory (ANT), Activity Theory, configuring users, epistemic cultures, situated action, reflective/critical HCI, and distributed cognition. Some of these topics are introduced in I203 but, of necessity, not in the depth. In I212, we address how these topics are useful for understanding the relationships among information technology, design, and the social. This course won’t help you get a job, but it may help you better understand what you are doing and why.
This class is open to any interested graduate student. It is particularly appropriate for I School Ph.D. students; I School master’s students interested in conceptual issues underlying some of their more applied coursework; and graduate students doing a new media emphasis, and from related departments. Past students have been from departments as varied as architecture, mechanical engineering, and education.