Course Syllabus

Seminar Schedule


Theme Readings Assignments
07/01/10 Introduction to the course:

Rendering and Representation; Life Itself and Liveliness

Joseph Dumit, “How I Read”
14/01/10 What is Life?

In class viewing:

Live Cell Imaging and Molecular Animations:

Biovision’s Inner Life of the Cell;

Chris Kelty and Hannah Landecker’s, News about Cells;

Protein Synthesis: An Epic on a Cellular Level;

Cell Journal

Canguilhem, Georges (2001) ‘The Living and Its Milieu’, Grey Room 03: 7-31.

Jacob, Francois (1973) “The Programme,” in The Logic of Life: A History of Heredity (Princeton: Princeton University Press): 1-17.

Dawkins, Richard (2006) “The Replicators” & “The Gene Machine” in The Selfish Gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press): 12-20; 46-65.

Margulis, Lynn and Dorion Sagan (1995) “Life: The Eternal Enigma” & “Lost Souls” in What Is Life? (Berkeley: University of California Press): 1-55.

Kirschner, Marc, John Gerhart and Tim Mitchison (2000) “Molecular ‘Vitalism’”, Cell 100 (January 7, 2000): 79-88.

Come to class prepared to present a rendering of something living or lively or other. If you are bringing in a digital image/object, you must email it to me before class.

(5 minutes maximum)

21/01/10 Sensing Aliveness Heller-Roazen, Daniel (2007) The Inner Touch: Archaeology of a Sensation (Cambridge, Mass.: Zone Books). Renderings

Individual presentations

on 1 chapter

(5 minutes maximum)

28/01/10 Life, Labour, Language Foucault, Michel (1971) The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Pantheon Books). Renderings

3 Group Presentations

(20 minutes each)

04/02/10 Rendering I:

Representation, Visualization, Objectivity

Daston, Lorraine and Peter Galison (1992) ‘The Image of Objectivity’, Representations 40: 81-128.

Haraway, Donna J. (1988) ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspectives’, Feminist Studies 14/3: 575-99.

Hayles, N. Katherine (1991) ‘Constrained Constructivism: Locating Scientific Inquiry in the Theater of Representation’, New Orleans Review 18: 76-85.

Barad, Karen (2003) ‘Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter’, Signs 28/3: 801-31.

Latour, Bruno (1990) ‘Drawing Things Together’, in Lynch, Michael and Steve Woolgar (eds), Representation in Scientific Practice (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press): 19-68.

Hacking, Ian (1983) “Microscopes” in Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press): 186-209.


Regula Valérie Burri and Joseph Dumit, “Social Studies of Scientific Imaging and Visualization,” in Hackett, Edward J., Olga Amsterdamska, Michael Lynch and Judy Wajcman (eds) (2007) The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Third Edition (Cambridge, M.A.: MIT Press): 297-318.


Seminar Presentations

11/02/10 Rendering II:

Slicing, Dicing, Peeling, Palpating

Kuriyama, Shigehisa (2002) The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine (New York London: Zone). Selections.

Duden, Barbara (1991) The Woman beneath the Skin: A Doctor’s Patients in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press). Selections.

Waldby, Cathy (2000) The Visible Human Project: Informatic Bodies and Posthuman Medicine (New York: Routledge). Selections.


Seminar Presentations

18/02/10 Reading Week

25/02/10 Rendering III:


Myers, Natasha (under review) Modeling Proteins, Making Scientists: Rendering Molecular Life in the Contemporary Biosciences (Durham: Duke University Press).


Haraway, Donna J. (1997) “Maps and Portraits of Life Itself” in Modest_Witness @Second_ Millennium.Femaleman_Meets_ Oncomouse: Feminism and Technoscience (New York: Routledge).


Seminar Presentations

Paper Proposals Due (1 page)

04/03/10 Capitalizing on Life I:

Extracting Surplus

Cooper, Melinda (2008) Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press).


Franklin, Sarah (2006) ‘The Cyborg Embryo: Our Path to Transbiology’, Theory Culture Society 23/7-8: 167-87.

Helmreich, Stefan (2008) ‘Species of Biocapital’, Science as Culture 17/4: 463-78.


Seminar Presentations

11/03/10 Capitalizing on Life II:

Animal Capital

Shukin, Nicole (2009) Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).


Haraway, Donna J. (2008) “Value Added Dogs and Lively Capital,” When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press): 45-67.


Seminar Presentations

18/03/10 What is Life Becoming? Helmreich, Stefan (2008) Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas (Berkeley: University of California Press).


Helmreich, Stefan (2006) ‘The Signature of Life: Designing the Astrobiological Imagination’, Grey Room 23/Spring: 66-95.


Seminar Presentations

25/03/10 Writing workshop

Post drafts of your papers on MOODLE by 5 p.m. Tuesday March 23. Come to class having read and commented on 3 draft papers
01/04/10 Rending Biopolitics: Art, Life, Science Da Costa and Philip, “Introduction”

Joseph Dumit “Foreword: Biological Feedback”

Oron Catts and Gary Cass “Labs Shut Open”

Claire Pentecost “Outfitting the Laboratory of the Symbolic: Toward a Critical Inventory of Bioart”

Paul Vanouse “Discovering Nature, Apparently: Analogy, DNA Imaging, and the Latent Figure Protocol”

Critical Art Ensemble “Bioparanoia and the Culture of Control”

Beatriz da Costa “Reaching the Limit: When Art Becomes Science”

all of the above in: Da Costa, Beatriz and Kavita Philip (2008) Tactical Biopolitics : Art, Activism, and Technoscience (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).

Natalie Jeremijenko’s Projects (see Moodle for links to projects)


Seminar Presentations

08/04/10 Papers Due Drop off papers in my mailbox at the Department of Anthropology in Vari Hall by 5 p.m.

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