Archive for January, 2014

Taking McLuhan Seriously, Graham Harman

31 January 2014

The media theorist Marshall McLuhan is often dismissed as a trendy television pundit of the 1960s, even if one who occasionally resurfaces with each new media revolution: the internet, smartphones, the cloud. My view is that McLuhan is actually one of the most important figures in the 20th century humanities, one whose basic teachings are still far from exhausted or even understood. This lecture focus on the important features of McLuhan’s “tetrad” theory, according to which all media (that is, all human products) have a fourfold structure of enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval, and reversal. This theory is examined, and its strengths and weaknesses addressed.

Hybrid Assemblages, Environments & Happenings -Eric Paulos

31 January 2014

Abstract: This talk will present and critique a body of work evolving across several years of research at the intersection of computer science and design research. It will present an augment for hybrid materials, methods, and artifacts as strategic tools for insight and innovation within computing culture. It will explore and demonstrate the value of urban computing, citizen science, and maker culture as opportunistic landscapes for intervention, micro-volunteerism, and a new expert amateur. Finally, it will present and question emerging materials and strategies from the perspective of engineering, design, and new media.

Mattering Press: New forms of care for STS books

30 January 2014

Mattering Press: New forms of care for STS books


Dasein is(t) Design by Marie-Luise Angerer

30 January 2014

Looking Away: Participating Singularities, Ontological Communities

29 January 2014

Attachment, Agencements: A Pragmatist Inquiry into Things that Matter

29 January 2014

lecture by Antoine Hennion fleshing out the pragmatism that he is developing with Latour and others.

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Didier Debaise: A Universe of Possessions

28 January 2014

2013 GAD Distinguished Lecture: Bruno Latour

28 January 2014

This year the General Anthropology Division (GAD) welcomed Bruno Latour as its Distinguished Lecturer at the 112th Annual Meeting of the AAA. Latour’s talk, “What Is the Recommended Dose of Ontological Pluralism for a Safe Anthropological Diplomacy?” was recorded on video.

h/t  Chris Furlow.

Situational Awareness: Deadly Bioconvergence at the Boundaries of Bodies & Machines, Lucy Suchman

27 January 2014

Situational Awareness: Deadly Bioconvergence at the Boundaries of Bodies & Machines, Lucy Suchman

forthcoming via:

Pak-Hang Wong on Virtuous Climate Making?

27 January 2014

Pak-Hang Wong on Virtuous Climate Making?

Towards a Virtue-Theoretic Approach to Geoengineering: In the final Uehiro Seminar of Trinity Term, Pak-Hang Wong offered a novel approach to the ethics of geoengineering. He argues that if we view geoengineering as a large socio-technical system (LTS), which he asserts we should, then traditional approaches to the ethics of geoengineering that focus on intentions and outcomes are inadequate. Using a standard definition of geoengineering, “the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change,” and the understanding of geoengineering as an LTS, Wong suggests two key problems with existing attempts to address the ethics of geoengineering. Current approaches focus on the ethics of intentions and outcomes in geoengineering. For example, two common questions asked in the field at present are, 1) whether R&D and implementation of geoengineering are morally permissible; and, 2) if they are morally permissible, how should costs, risks, and benefits be shared? Yet because LTSs 1) are big, layered, and complex such that individual intentions will often be irrelevant, and 2) are subject to a high degree of uncertainty such that arguments based on consequences will be inappropriate, Wong argues that we need a new ethical approach to geoengineering. He suggests virtue ethics, as its focus on questions like ‘how should we live?’ rather than ‘what is the right action?’ or ‘what is the best consequence,’ allows the development of an applicable ethical framework in spite of geoengineering’s high degree of uncertainty and complexity as an LTS. –Kyle Edwards

You can listen to an audio recording of Wong’s talk here: