Artifice and Agency

Monday, August 28, 2006

Syllabus for Rhetoric 132, Fall 2006

Rhetoric 132:
Rhetoric, Culture, and Society
“Design for Living: Artifice and Agency”

Fall 2006

Tuesdays, Thursdays, 2.00-3.30, 287 Barrows Hall
Instructor: Dale Carrico,;
Office Hours: Before and after class and by appointment. 7404 Dwinelle Hall
Course Blog:

Course Description

We find ourselves in a world we make, and we find that we are made and unmade in the making of it. What are we to make of the abiding artifice that is "the political" in a world of design-objects, of manufactured products, of consumer goods? What are we doing when we are doing design and what do we do when we discern that design has designs on us? Where is the agency in artifice? What are the political possibilities of design?

We will take selections from Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels as points of departure from which we will go on to read design-objects as texts as construed by Roland Barthes, Daniel Harris, and others. Finally, we will grapple with the politics of some contemporary design movements -- peer-to-peer coding, Green Design -- that would undertake to remake the world in the image of particular ends, like collaborative democracy or sustainability.

Course Requirements

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
[selections] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party
[selections] Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish
[selections] Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, Vol. 1
[selections] Roland Barthes, Mythologies
Daniel Harris, “The Futuristic”
Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things
William McDonough & Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle
Janine Benyus, Biomimicry
[selections] Lawrence Lessig, Code
Michel Bauwens, “Peer to Peer and Human Evolution”
Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks
Mike Davis, Planet of Slums

Your final grade will be based on the following:

Attendance/Participation/Quizzes: 30%
Three short paper, approximately 3pp. each, posted to this Blog: 40%
Final Examination: 30%

Schedule of Meetings

Week One

Tuesday, August 29, Administrative Issues
Thursday, August 31, Personal Introductions

Week Two

Tuesday, September 5, Arendt
Thursday, September 7, Arendt

Week Three

Tuesday, September 12, Arendt, Ch 3., secs. 1-4; selections from Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, Ch. 1.
Thursday, September 13, Arendt, Ch. 3, secs. 5-7.

First Blog Post Should Be Published By Now

Week Four

Tuesday, September 19, Arendt
Thursday, September 21, Arendt

Week Five

Tuesday, September 26, Arendt
Thursday, September 28, Harris

Week Six

Tuesday, October 3, Barthes
Thursday, October 5, Barthes/Foucault

Week Seven

Tuesday, October 10, Foucault
Thursday, October 12, Sterling

Week Eight

Tuesday, October 17, Sterling
Thursday, October 19, McDonough and Braugart

Week Nine

Tuesday, October 24, McDonough and Braugart
Thursday, October 26, McDonough and Braugart

Second Blog Post Should Be Published By Now

Week Ten

Tuesday, October 31, Benyus
Thursday, November 2, Benyus

Week Eleven

Tuesday, November 7, Benyus
Thursday, November 9, Benyus

Week Twelve

Tuesday, November 14, Lessig selections from Code
Thursday, November 16, Bauwens, Peer-to-Peer pieces

Week Thirteen

Tuesday, November 21, Benkler
Thursday, November 23, Academic and Administrative Holiday

Week Fourteen

Tuesday, November 28, Benkler
Thursday, November 30, Benkler

Third Blog Post Should Be Published By Now

Week Fifteen

Tuesday, December 5, Davis
Thursday, December 7, Davis, Concluding Remarks

Take-Home Final Examination to Be Handed In-Class on Final Meeting


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