Introductory Themes
1 Introduction No readings assigned
2 Theories of Technology and Culture

Marx, Leo. "Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept." Technology and Culture 51, no. 3 (2010): 561–77.

Buy at Amazon Gusterson, Hugh. "Nuclear Weapons Testing: Scientific Experiment as Political Ritual." Chapter 7 in Naked Science: Anthropological Inquiry into Boundaries, Power, and Knowledge. Edited by Laura Nader. Routledge, 1996. ISBN: 9780415914659. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Marx, Karl. "The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret." In Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Ben Fowkes. Penguin, 1992. ISBN: 9780140445688.

Theme 1: Identity
3 Labor-Saving Technology and the Worth of Workers

Buy at Amazon Babbage, Charles. "On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures." Chapter 6 in The Craft Reader. Edited by Glenn Adamson. Bloomsbury Academic, 2010. ISBN: 9781847883032.

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Nye, David E. "Invention." Chapter 2 in America's Assembly Line. The MIT Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780262018715. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. "Twentieth-Century Changes in Household Technology." Chapter 4 in More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave. Basic Books, 1985. ISBN: 9780465047321.

Green, Penelope. "The New Domestics," New York Times, February 12, 2014.

4 Technologies of Reproduction and Family

Buy at Amazon Davis-Floyd, Robbie E. "The Technocratic Model of Birth." In Feminist Theory and the Study of Folklore. Edited by Susan Tower Hollis, Linda Pershing, and M. Jane Young. University of Illinois Press, 1993. ISBN: 9780252063138.

Van Hollen, Cecilia. "Invoking Vali: Painful Technologies of Modern Birth in South India." Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17, no. 1 (2003): 49–77.

Gawande, Atul. "The Score: How Childbirth Went Industrial." The New Yorker, October 9, 2006.

5 Medical Experimentation, Race, and Globalization

Buy at Amazon Jones, James. "The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: 'A Moral Astigmatism'." In The "Racial" Economy of Science: Toward a Democratic Future. Edited by Sandra Harding. Indiana University Press, 1993. ISBN: 9780253208101. [Preview with Google Books]

Petryna, Adriana. "Ethical Variability: Drug Development and Global Clinical Trials." American Ethnologist 32, no. 2 (2005): 183–97.

Bartlett, Donald L., and James B. Steele. "Deadly Medicine." Vanity Fair, January 2011.

6 Food: If We Are What We Eat, What Are We?

Scrinis, Gyorgy. "On the Ideology of Nutritionism." Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies 8, no. 1 (2008): 39–48.

Yates-Doerr, Emily. "The Opacity of Reduction: Nutritional Black-Boxing and the Meanings of Nourishment." Food, Culture & Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research 15, no. 2 (2012): 293–313.

Freidberg, Suzanne. "The Secret Lives of Corporate Food,"

Rhinehart, Rob. "How I Stopped Eating Food," Mostly Harmless, February 13, 2013.


Wearables and Self-Tracking

Guest lecturer: Natasha Dow Schüll, Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, MIT

Quart, Alissa. "The Body Data Craze." Newsweek, June 26, 2013.

Schüll, Natasha Dow. "Obamacare Meets Wearable Technology." MIT Technology Review, May 6, 2014.

The Future of Wearable Tech: Key Trends Driving the Form and Function of Personal Devices, Slideshare.

Schüll, Natasha Dow. "The Folly of Technological Solutionism: An Interview with Evgeny Morozov." Public Books, September 9, 2013.

Maudlin, Laura. "Precarious Plasticity: Neuropolitics, Cochlear Implants, and the Redefinition of Deafness." Science, Technology, & Human Values 39, no. 1 (2014): 130–53.

Hardesty, Larry. "Cochlear Implants—with No Exterior Hardware," MIT News, February 9, 2014.

Wu, Tim. "If a Time Traveler Saw a Smartphone." The New Yorker, January 10, 2014.

Chen, Brian X. "Tech Attire, More Beta Than Chic," New York Times, January 8, 2014.

Vanhemert, Kyle. "Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report." Wired, January 2014.

Phelan, David. "Technology's Foremost Fortune Teller: Why Intel Has an Anthropologist on its Payroll," The Independent, September 25, 2013.

Singer, Natasha. "Intel's Sharp-Eyed Social Scientist," New York Times, February 15, 2014.

Theme 2: Infrastructure


Guest lecturer: Renée Blackburn, graduate student, doctoral program in History, Anthropology, Science, and Society, MIT

Kline, Ronald, and Trevor Pinch. "Users as Agents of Technological Change: The Social Construction of the Automobile in the Rural United States." Technology and Culture 37, no. 4 (1996): 763–95.

Jain, Sarah S. Lochlann. "'Dangerous Instrumentality': The Bystander as Subject in Automobility." Cultural Anthropology 19, no. 1 (2004): 61–94.


Electricity and Markets

Guest lecturer: Canay Özden-Schilling, graduate student, doctoral program in History, Anthropology, Science, and Society, MIT

Hughes, Thomas P. "The Seamless Web: Technology, Science, Etcetera, Etcetera." Social Studies of Science 16, no. 2 (1986): 281–92.

Buy at MIT Press Buy at Amazon Kline, Ronald. "Resisting Consumer Technology in Rural America: The Telephone and Electrification." Chapter 2 in How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology. Edited by Nelly Oudshoorn and Trevor Pinch. The MIT Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780262651097.

Özden, Canay. "Economic Anthropology, Technologically Speaking." Anthropology News 54, no. 7 (2013): e11–29.

10 Ocean Infrastructures

Buy at Amazon Hamilton-Paterson, James. "Charts and Naming." Chapter 1 in The Great Deep: The Sea and Its Thresholds. Owlet, 1993. ISBN: 9780805027761.

Starosielski, Nicole. "Underwater Flow." FLOW, October 16, 2011.

Helmreich, Stefan. "From Spaceship Earth to Google Ocean: Planetary Icons, Indexes, and Infrastructures." Social Research: An International Quaterly 78, no. 4 (2011): 1211–42.

11 Computers, Networked, Then and Now

Pfaffenberger, Bryan. "The Social Meaning of the Personal Computer: Or, Why the Personal Computer Revolution Was No Revolution." Anthropological Quarterly 61, no. 1 (1988): 39–47.

Edwards, Paul N. "Y2K: Millennial Reflections on Computers as Infrastructure." History and Technology: An International Journal 15, no. 1–2 (1998): 7–29.

Mackenzie, Adrian. "Wirelessness as Experience of Transition." The Fibreculture Journal 13 (2008).

Buy at Amazon Gabrys, Jennifer. "Shipping and Receiving: Circuits of Disposal and the 'Social Death' of Electronics." Chapter 3 in Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics. University of Michigan Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780472035373. [Preview with Google Books]


Stephenson, Neal. "Mother Earth Mother Board." Wired, December 1996.

12 Disorienting Infrastructures: Underground and Outer Space

Deutsch, A. J. "A Subway Named Mobius." Astounding Science Fiction 46, no. 4 (1950): 72–86.

Buy at Amazon Augé, Marc. "Solitudes." In In The Metro. Translated and with an Introduction and Afterword by Tom Conley. University of Minnesota Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780816634378. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Toth, Jennifer. "Introduction." In The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City. Chicago Review Press, 1995. ISBN: 9781556522413. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon ———. "Underground Spaces." Chapter 5 in The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City. Chicago Review Press, 1995. ISBN: 9781556522413. [Preview with Google Books]

Valentine, David, Valerie A. Olson, et al. "Encountering the Future: Anthropology and Outer Space." Anthropology News 50, no. 9 (2009): 11–15.

Battaglia, Debbora. "Coming in at an Unusual Angle: Exo-Surprise and the Fieldworking Cosmonaut." Anthropological Quarterly 85, no. 4 (2012): 1089–106.

13 Technological Disasters

Petryna, Adriana. "Biological Citizenship: The Science and Politics of Chernobyl-Exposed Populations." Osiris 2nd Series 19 (2004): 250–65.

Cisterna, Nicolas Sternsdorff. "Safe and Trustworthy?: Food Safety after Fukushima," An STS Forum on the East Japan Disaster.

Masco, Joseph. "The End of Ends." Anthropological Quarterly 85, no. 4 (2012): 1107–24.

Retro Report. "Nuclear Power's Promise and Peril," New York Times, April 29, 2014.

14 Class Presentations No readings assigned