Monday, March 22, 2010

Your Keywords Final Exam

There are well over a hundred keywords listed below from among the many more terms we have taken up or will take up over the course of our readings and conversations this term.

For your Final you are to create three categories (conceptual, practical, figurative, whatever) entirely of your own choosing and design, and then subsume under each of these categories a number of keywords from the list below which seem to you to be related to one another in a significant or useful way through each of your chosen categories and in respect to your sense of the overall subject of our course together. "Green" is not a Keyword in the list -- but your own idiosyncratic inhabitation of Greenness, your own sense of what Greenness most importantly consists will likely emerge in the Final taken as a whole.

For each keyword you choose, provide a clear and concise definition of the term (nothing more than a sentence, at most two) in your own words, and then follow that definition with a quotation from one of the assigned texts from our syllabus. The quotation should be one that is especially illuminating for the definition you have made in some way: the quotation can be a definition that yours is a variation of, the quotation can be an example or illustration that supports your definition, the quotation can provide an analogy or figure or frame that inspired your definition, the quotation can even be something that seemed so wrongheaded to you that it provoked your definition as a kind of protest or intervention.

Your final must provide definitions and quotations for at least thirty-six keywords but no more than forty. None of your categories can contain fewer than seven keywords and none can contain more than sixteen keywords.

Each of your categories should have a title and a general explanatory paragraph (and I do mean a paragraph, not an essay) indicating what you take the category to delineate.

You can hand the final in to me personally at any time starting from April 27 to the end of term (you won't have a real sense of the range of the course until we move through the Permaculture and Green Eats readings, so don't try to complete the final before tackling those readings as well as the others before them), but I ask that you send it to me as a Word-readable attachment in an e-mail if you cannot place a hard copy directly into my hands on our last meeting or whenever. Think about when your other finals and projects are scheduled and when any other papers are due and fit this final Keyword Project into your schedule in a way that best suits your own situation. If you have time to get this done early rather than last minute, by all means do so. You should give yourself a good few days to do this work, since scouting through passages and notes across the whole term often yields unexpected syntheses that lead to revisions of your initial categorizations and keyword groupings. I hope this exercise is an enlightening and enjoyable one for you all rather than a drudgery. Be experimental, exploratory, earnest about it and you are almost sure to get incomparably more benefit from it.

If you have questions, always feel free to post them in Comments, e-mail them to me, raise them in class, or talk to me before or after class.

Here are the Keywords I'm having you choose from:

Access-to-Knowledge (a2k)
Appropriate Technology
Biosphere II
Cap and Trade
Climate Change
Climate Refugees
Climax Ecosystem
Common Sense
Consensus Science
Creative Commons
Deep Ecology
Ecosystemic Services
Edible Landscaping
Endangered Species
Energy Descent
Environmental Justice Movement
Environmental Racism
Farmers Market
Industrial Agriculture
Input Intensive
Instrumental Rationality
Integrated Pest Management
Intentional Community
Intellectual Property
Natural Capital
One Size Fits All
Peak Oil
Peer-to-Peer (p2p)
Political Ecology
Precautionary Principle
Public Good
Resource Descent
Seed Saving
Seed Sharing
Slow Food
Small Is Beautiful
Smart Grid
Social Ecology
Technical Metabolism
Triple Bottom Line
Urban Agriculture

Monday, February 15, 2010

Architecture for Humanity

You've all had a chance to navigate the Architecture for Humanity site -- anybody want to do a report on it to start us off? Seems like a gimme to me.

Green Urbanity

Lots of stuff to read for tomorrow morning, especially the Mike Davis stuff, but be sure to click on the Arcosanti, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Architecture for Humanity stuff, much of which is beautiful, provocative, weird, and full of stuff to play around with... Hope your weekends were good.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Co-facilitating Discussions and Writing a Precis

One of the key assignments for our course will be your co-facilitation of class discussion of one of the assigned texts.

This assignment also requires that you generate a précis of the text you are taking responsibility for. This precis should provide a point of departure for your contribution to the discussion in class, and you should publish it to the blog at least a day before class to give everybody a chance to think about the text in the terms that interest you.

Think of this precis as a basic paraphrase of the argumentative content of a text.

Here is a broad and informal guide for a precis, consisting of questions you should always ask of a text as you are reading it, and again after you have finished reading it. Don't treat this as an ironclad template, but as a rough guide to producing a precis -- knowing that a truly fine and useful précis need not necessarily satisfy all of these suggestions.

A precis should try to answer fairly basic questions such as:

1. What, in your own words, is the basic gist of the argument?

2. To what audience is it pitched primarily? (Do you see yourself as part of that intended audience, and how does your answer impact your reading of the argument?) Does it anticipate and respond to possible objections?

3. What do you think are the argument's stakes in general? To what end is the argument made?

a. To call assumptions into question?
b. To change convictions?
c. To alter conduct?
d. To find acceptable compromises between contending positions?

4. Does it have an explicit thesis? If not, could you provide one in your own words for it?

5. What are the reasons and evidence offered up in the argument to support what you take to be its primary end? What crucial or questionable warrants (unstated assumptions the argument takes to be shared by its audience, often general attitudes of a political, moral, social, cultural nature) does the argument seem to depend on? Are any of these reasons, evidences, or warrants questionable in your view? Do they support one another or introduce tensions under closer scrutiny?

6. What, if any, kind of argumentative work is being done by metaphors and other figurative language in the piece? Do the metaphors collaborate to paint a consistent picture, or do they clash with one another? What impact does this have on their argumentative force?

7. Are there key terms in the piece that seem to have idiosyncratic definitions, or whose usages seem to change over the course of the argument?

As you see, a piece that interrogates a text from these angles of view will yield something between a general book report and a close reading, but one that focuses on the argumentative force of a text. For the purposes of our class, such a precis succeeds if it manages

(1) to convey the basic flavor of the argument and
(2) provides a good point of departure for a class discussion.

Needless to say, in our course it will always be in point to direct our attention to the interplay of the discourses of nature we have been elaborating, to point out the ways in which argumentative strategies, assumptions, problems, figures, frames recur in the piece under discussion in variations familiar from earlier texts, and so on.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Syllabus, Green Theories, Practices, Idenities, Spring 2010

Green Theories, Green Practices, Green Identities
Spring 2010

Tuesdays, 9-11.45 AM, Studio 18 Chestnut
Instructor: Dale Carrico;;
Course Site:

Provisional Grade Breakdown:
Att/Part 25%; Co-facilitation/Precis 15%; In-Class Report 15%; Final Exam: 45%

Provisional Schedule of Classes

Week One | January 19 | Introductions

September 1 -- Personal Introductions

Week Two | January 26 | An Inconvenient Truth

September 3 -- Screening: "An Inconvenient Truth"

Week Three | February 2 | Green Idols and Precursors

Curtis White, The Idols of Environmentalism
Curtis White, The Ecology of Work
Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic
Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Henry David Thoreau Walden

Week Four | February 9 | Deep Ecology and Deep Economy

Arne Naess, The Shallow and the Deep
Arne Naess and George SessionsDeep Ecology Platform
Alan Drengson, Deep Ecology Movement
Church of Deep Ecology
Murray Bookchin, Social Ecology Versus Deep Ecology
Bill McKibben, Reversal of Fortune
An Interview with E. F. Schumacher

Week Five | February 16 | Political Ecology, Green Urbanity

Mike Davis, Slum Ecology
Mike Davis and Anthony Fontenot Twenty-five Questions about the Murder of the Big Easy
Mike Davis, Sinister Paradise: Does the Road to the Future End at Dubai?
David Biello, Eco-Cities: Urban Planning for the Future
Frank Lloyd Wright, A City for the Future
Frank Lloyd Wright, Broadacre City Project
Frank Lloyd Wright, Broadacre City Plan
Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti
Architecture for Humanity: Completed Projects
Architecture 2030

Week Six | February 23 | canceled die to illness...

Week Seven | March 2 | Eco-feminism

Cathleen McGuire and Colleen McGuire, Ecofeminist Visions
Rosemary Radford Reuther, Ecofeminism
Catherine Keller, Dark Vibrations: Ecofeminism and the Democracy of Creation
Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands, Unnatural Passions: Notes Toward a Queer Ecology
UNIFEM, Women, Climate Change, and Refugees
Interview with Vandana Shiva

Week Eight | March 9 | Environmental Justice Critique

The Rio Declaration
The Johannesburg Declaration
EPA Environmental Justice FAQ
About the Environmental Justice Foundation
Ludovic Blain, Ain't I An Environmentalist?
Robert D. Bullard, Ph.D., Poverty, Pollution, and Environmental Racism
Lisa Campbell Salazar, National Parks and Environmental RacismEco-socialism and Social Ecology

Week Nine | March 16 | Spring Break

Week Ten | March 23 | Ecosocialism and Biopiracy

An Ecosocialist Manifesto by Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy
Joel Kovel, Why Ecosocialism Today?
Common Voice, Ecosocialism
James O'Conner: Selling Nature
James Boyle, Enclosing the Genome
Vandana Shiva, The US Patent System Legalizes Theft and Biopiracy
Richard Stallman, Biopiracy or Bioprivateering?

Week Eleven | March 30 | Natural Capitalism and Greenwashing

Paul Hawken: Natural Capitalism
A Roadmap for Natural Capitalism, Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, Paul Hawken
OpenPolitics Critiques of Paul Hawken and Natural Capitalism
Balancing Act
About Triplepundit
What Is Greenwashing?
How Greenwashing Works
Greenwashing Index
Peter Barnes: Capitalism, 3.0
Time to Upgrade
A Short History of Capitalism
The Limits of Government
The Limits of Privatization
Reinventing the Commons
Trusteeship of Creation
Universal Birthrights
Sharing Culture
Building the Commons Sector
What You Can Do

Cap and Trade Musical Chairs
Cap-and-Trade More Effective than Carbon Tax
Carry on Polluting
Did Environmentalists Get Played on Cap and Trade?

Week Twelve | April 6 | Bright Green or Dim? Sustainable Technoculture and Techno-Utopian Futurology

Bruce Sterling, Viridian Design Speech
Bruce Sterling, Manifesto of January 3, 2000
Bruce Sterling, Viridian Principles
Bruce Sterling, Last Viridian Note
Grist on Worldchanging's Bright Green Principles (read the Comments!)
Worldchanging Geoengineering Retrospective
Time Magazine on Geoengineering
Lifeboat Foundation "ClimateShield"
National Geographic, Toxic Computer
When 1st Life Meets 2nd Life
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, The California Ideology
Jedediah Purdy The God of the Digerati
Marc Stiegler, The Gentle Seduction
John Zerzan, Technology
John Zerzan, Why Primitivism?
Kirkpatrick Sale, Lessons from the Luddites

Week Thirteen | April 13 | From Agriculture to Polyculture

John Zerzan, Agriculture
Malcome Scully, The Destructive Nature of Our Bountiful Harvests
Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry, A 50-Year Farm Bill
Lisa Hamilton, Let's grow a new crop of farmers
Ted Nace, Breadbasket of Democracy
Seeds of Resistance
Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Eating Fossil Fuels
Al Gore, Introduction to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring
Permaculture Design Principles, Online Interactive Presentation
Permaculture 101, Short Video Presentations
Introduction to Permaculture: Concepts and Resources, Online Compendium

Week Fourteen | April 20 | Green Eats

Jill Richardson, Organic White House Garden Puts Some Conventional Panties in a Twist (Follow the links and read the comments)
Kathy Freston, Vegetarian Is the New Prius
Clara Jeffrey, Michael Pollan Fixes Dinner
Claudia Deutsch, Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change
David Rogers, On PETA's Latest Campaign
Jane Liaw, Food Miles Are Less Important to Environment Than Food Choices
Jack Kloppenberg, Sharon Lerzberg, Kathryn De Master, Tasting Food, Tasting Sustainability
Cornell University, Factsheet: Consumer Concerns About Pesticides in Food
Paul Roberts, Organic and Local Is So 2008
Jim Hightower, Food Industry Is Now Calling Junk Food Healthy
Brian Howard, Meaningful Labels
Marc Abrahams, Food for Thought
Anna Lenzer, Spin the Bottle
Saul Landau, Reagan and Bottled Water

Week Fifteen | April 27 | Extracting Ourselves From Extraction

Michael T. Klare, The Coming Resource Wars
BBC: World Water Crisis
The Coming Water Wars: Demography and Water Resources
The Coming Water Wars: Chart
Kate Kelland, Antibiotics Overuse Threatens Medicine
David Korten on Democracy Now From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth
Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency
Howard Kunstler, A Five Part Online Video Exploration: The Long Emergency
Chris Vernon, Agriculture Meets Peak Oil

Week Sixteen | May 6 | Toxic World and Green Ethos

Ten Worst Anthropogenic and Natural Environmental Disasters
What Happened at Bhopal?
Learn More
Pollution Facts
Worst Polluted Places (2007)
Worst Pollution Problems (2008)
12 Cases of Cleanup and Success (2009)
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, The Death of Environmentalism
Bruno Latour, "It's Development, Stupid!" Or: How to Modernize Modernization
George Lakoff, How We Talk About the Environment Has Everything to Do With Whether We Will Save It

Hand In Take Home Keywords Final


1. Interrogate the discourses of "nature," as registers of materiality, worldliness, scientificity, wilderness, sublimity, insecurity, grace, and consider the ways in which these different (sometimes outright contradictory) registers function in argument and in identification as supplements, complements, resolutions, dissolutions, contraries, paradoxes, and so on.

2. Survey a host of "green" discourses, from transcendentalism, deep ecology, social ecology, urban gardening and green cities, permaculture, to eco-feminism, eco-socialism, environmental justice critique, natural capitalism, anti-civilizational discourse and anarcho-luddism -- identify both continuities and discontinuities in their assumptions, aspirations, figurations, frames, gestures.

3. Consider "environmentalisms" as more than argumentative claims, but as sites of subculture and style, identification and dis-identification, practices of education, agitation, and organization stratified by race, sex-gender, class, nationality.

4. Treat "greenness" as a site through which to think more generally about relations of theory and practice, political engagement, critical thinking, and art practices, as well as to think about political engagement and efficacy under contemporary conditions.

5. Acquaint students with hundreds of "Keywords" connected to various Green practices, theories, communities, strategies (eg, abrasion, biomimesis, cradle-to-cradle, downcycling, externality, financialization, greenwashing, etc.).

6. Embed these discourses within an STS (science and technology studies) framework, emphasizing publicity/historicity of objects/subjects, actor-network formulations of actant/associate agency, and strong critique (via Arendt, Latour, and Haraway) of triumphalist-emancipatory narratives of technoscientific-sociopolitical progress.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Many of you will be presenting original work connected to the themes of our course on the last day as your final project. Please remember that together with this presentation you should hand in a short description of the project and its connection to a text or texts from our class that I can use as a reference in assessing your work.

Those of you who would rather not do such a presentation are welcome to produce a short (5pp.) final essay responding to the following prompt:
What is the shape and what might be the significance of a transformation from a mass mediated public sphere into more p2p networked public sphere? Choose any two texts from the course to describe how, in your own view, the emerging peer-to-peer networked public sphere differs most significantly from the mass mediated public sphere that preceded it.

I have no expectation at all about how sweeping, how deep, how hopeful, how fragile, how illusory you have come to believe this transformation truly is, nor do I have any expectation about what each of you will finally decide the significance of this transformation truly amounts to.


Well, I've looked all over the place, but to no avail. When Berube migrated his site some of the essays available on the old site vanished down the memory hole and the beautiful essay I assigned for Thursday is among them. I cannot find it anywhere else. Unless somebody has had luck finding it through some other route I suppose we'll have to confine our discussion to the remaining three pieces Thurs. The essay became the basis for a wonderful book by the same title that I recommend to your attention. Hope your holiday went well and that everybody is working on their keywords assignment. Word about the final forthcoming in my next post.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


1. accountability
2. basic income guarantee
3. body
4. California Ideology
5. canon
6. code
7. commons
8. control
9. credential
10. crypto-anarchy
11. culture
12. cybernetic totalism
13. cyberspace
14. democracy
15. digital
16. elite
17. end-to-end principle (e2e)
18. enframing
19. enhancement
20. filtering
21. finitude
22. free software
23. industrial model
24. linking
25. mass culture
26. media
27. neoliberalism
28. Netroots
29. objectivity
30. open source
31. panopticon
32. peer to peer (p2p)
33. popular
34. post-humanist
35. privacy
36. private property
37. professional
38. propaganda
39. public
40. publication
41. public good
42. reductionism
43. representative
44. retro-futurism
45. secrecy
46. sousveillance
47. spontaneous order
48. techno-utopianism
49. transparency
50. -- WILD CARD: Good for one term I've failed to include in the list.

Choose thirty Keywords from this list. Organize your chosen Keywords into three separate, conceptually connected, sets. You can use any criteria that seems useful to you to organize these sets. The only rule is that no resulting set can contain fewer than six Keywords.

Each set should have a title or heading that indicates the criteria governing inclusion into that set. Once you have organized your three sets in this way, briefly define each one of the Keywords you have included in each set in your own words. Ideally, your definitions should be as clear and as concise as possible. These definitions should be a matter of a sentence or two, NOT a paragraph or two. They are definitions, not essays or explanations. It should be clear from your definitions why each of the Keywords in each of the three sets are conceptually connected to each other, but it is also crucial that no terms within a set are to be treated as synonymous, and that your definitions distinguish Keywords from one another (even if the resulting distinctions are sometimes matters of nuance).

Once you have defined all these Keywords, provide a short quotation (feel free to edit and prune to keep your chosen citations properly pithy) from one of the texts we have read this term to accompany your definition. The quotation you choose can be a definition you found helpful in crafting your own definition, it can be an example or illustration you found especially clarifying, it can a matter of contextualization, framing, or history that you found illuminating, it can even be something you disagreed with so strongly it helped you understand better what you really think yourself.

Obviously, there are endless ways of organizing these sets, defining their Keywords, distinguishing them from one another, and connecting them up to the texts we have read. What matters here is that you follow the rules of the exercise, not that you arrive at some single "right answer" you may think I have in mind.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hello, everybody...

I'm posting this message to the blog and also sending it out as a mass mailing to many of your e-mail addresses. I suspect I'm going to miss some of you this way, so please forward or mention this message to folks you know who are in class but aren't listed among the recipients to this e-pistle.

I have noticed that no précis has been posted to the blog and that there are no new links posted to organizations or artists or events on the blog either, even though I do believe that there are co-facilitators and people giving reports for tomorrow's class.

This makes me very nervous.

It makes me especially nervous because last week's class was really terrible and I don't want a repeat of that tomorrow.

Let me make something very clear that I shouldn't have to make clear at all.

Attending this class is not optional if you are enrolled in it. Arriving to class on time is not optional if you are enrolled in it. Reading the texts assigned for our class meetings and being prepared to discuss them is not optional if you are enrolled in it.

An unbelievable number of you asked special permission to enroll in this class. I had assumed that this meant you had an enthusiasm for the topic or for the style of teaching or for the community of the classroom you were expecting. I let everybody into the class who wanted to be here. Now I fully expect you to repay that generosity by contributing to the class you have joined.

You all know that I am pretty anarchic when it comes to class structure. I tend to think your engagement with this difficult material is more productive for everybody when we grapple with it as peers.

But you all need to meet me halfway. And that is not yet happening in our class together this term in too many cases.

If you need to miss a class, let me know before hand or immediately afterward. I tend to be very affable about such things. If you miss the class more than three times, however, there may be a real question whether you are really even participating in the class in any meaningful sense, and if you miss without ever doing me the service of explaining why I have little reason or inclination to be generous with you.

I'm taking attendance from here on out and if you arrive too late I'm treating you as absent. It is a ridiculous and infantilizing sort of thing to do, in my opinion, and I truly hate that sort of thing, but that's how it's going to be until you demonstrate to me that I can dispense with this sort of idiocy by coming to class on time and ready to talk.

Again, I get it that many of these texts are alienating and dense. Critical theory is already unfamiliar and complex and many of these texts add the complexity of obscure technological details to the already weirdly complex attentions of a theoretical vantage.

But nobody expects you to spin crystal clear lectures on these topics after a couple of readings! If you don't understand a text, try to figure out what is making it especially difficult for you. Come up with actual questions to ask your peers and me about the text, rather than just giving up. or dismissing it, or whatever it is that you want to do instead of reading the text carefully.

We are reaching a place in the syllabus in which the texts deal with more general issues that apply to all sorts of issues, not just to the specific historical moment of the 90s digirati we've been focusing on up to this point. This is a perfect moment to reconnect with the course and try to dig in a bit.

There are a few of you who are excused tomorrow but there are so many more of you that I still expect a full house tomorrow. I'm not interested in excuses or explanations, just come tomorrow, find something you are prepared to talk about in these texts, and let's all move on.

That is all. Dale

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I am going to give a presentation on Geert Lovink: bio
Blogging, the nihilist impulse: link

Brittany McCall