Technology, Power, and Culture in the Global Age
(Not to be offered in 2019 – 20)

Course Description

In Tel-Aviv, a gay couple is about to take a plane to India to meet the local surrogate mother who will give birth to their lab-designed test-tube baby. In Beijing, millions of families are drinking tap water from the Yangtze River in the South, and this daily supply of fresh water is only possible thanks to a mass engineering project of canals and tunnels whose construction involved the relocation of over 350.000 people. These are just two of the many ways in which TECHNOLOGY is having a major impact on everyday lives around the world, and as these two examples also suggest, this impact is always mediated by complex social, moral, legal, and political negotiations.
This course offers a highly entertaining introduction to this interactive dynamics between TECHNOLOGY, society, and culture, situating present-day technological developments in the context of a longer history of global innovation that goes back to the industrial revolution. From flush toilets to smart robots, from washing machines to contraceptive pills, from sex toys to designer babies, from GMO crops to information technologies, the course will explore a wide-ranging number of case studies that challenge conventional ideas about technology, inviting students to develop a deeper understanding of the major social and technological forces shaping the contemporary world.