Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reports and Precises

I just want to make sure everybody remembers that one of the expectations for the class is that everybody will give a report at some point in the term telling us about some activist campaign or interesting resource or about the work of an interesting artist that connects up in some way to the concerns we are reading and talking about in the course.

In order for this to work, there should probably be two or three reports at the beginning of each class meeting. Reports rarely take more than five minutes or so, but there is a Q and A component that sometimes goes longer if folks are really interested for some reason. You should post a link to the blog enabling us to explore the campaign or artist's work on our own, ideally before you give your report, but afterward is also fine.

If you want to report on an organization or campaign, be sure you are able to talk about how and why you think they are doing something especially unique or interesting or problematic, since there are a lot of essentially vapid and interchangeable "green-ish" sites out there...

Also, remember that everybody is expected to write a precis and publish it on the blog about one of our assigned texts at some point. There are lots of good ones coming up this week, so don't pass up a fine opportunity.

If anybody has questions about the precis, about the report, about logging onto the blog, e-mail me or ask me about it when class begins Tuesday. Hope everybody is having a good weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

hey everyone

my art show made the sf chronicle today.
(this is the last time i'll spam)


-gerald

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; dcarrico@sfai.edu; dalec@berkeley.edu
Course Site: http://tecblogging.blogspot.com/

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
LEED
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
Introduction
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

GENERAL OBJECTIVES:

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.