Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ursula Franklin, technoscience and everyday life

This term we're reading Technoscience and Everyday Life, a great little book by Mike Michael. In our first lecture and discussion on Friday, we'll be taking a look at the connections between theories of everyday life and social studies of science and technology.

"As I see it, technology has built the house in which we all live. The house is continually being extended and remodelled. More and more of human life takes place within its walls, so that today there is hardly any activity that does not occur within this house. All are affected by the design of the house, by the division of its space, by the location of its doors and walls. Compared to people in earlier times, we rarely have a chance to live outside this house."

- Ursula Franklin, The Real World of Technology, 1989 CBC Massey Lecture Series

Our objective is to begin to identify what constitutes a critical perspective on technoscience and everyday life, and I'm looking forward to introducing students to Ursula Franklin -- scientist, scholar, feminist, pacifist, environmentalist, activist, and one of my heroes.

Believe it or not, it was only in 1984 (at the University of Toronto) that she became the first female in Canada to receive the rank of Professor. Interviewed last year, at age 85, Franklin was asked if people are right to call her a radical, and she responded:

"I hope so. I think a radical means one can look and think without being prejudiced by existing structures, and remove what is unnecessary or atrophied. It’s like getting all the silt out of a spring, so that the water is clear. That’s not a bad thing to do."


Related posts: An Extraordinary Mind (26.01.03)

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