Intersections of Science, Technology and Culture

Open House Presentation

Alan Rauch, English, UNC Charlotte

Note:  This seminar takes place at Discovery Place.

The premise of this seminar is that science and the arts are not polar opposites, but rather intersecting modes of making the knowledge we call “culture.” The seminar will explore the rhetorical structures we use to communicate ideas that have “scientific” or “technical” significance. But our understanding of the world is not simply drawn from “science” and “technology”!  Literature, poetry, art, dance, and music are all forms of intellectual inquiry as well. They influence and shape science and technology, just as they are shaped by scientific knowledge.  Our students—trained both by cultural attitudes and pedagogical practices—are seemingly committed to identifying themselves as science-driven or humanities driven, which is paradoxically the very dichotomy that the “Liberal Arts” originally tried to eliminate.  What’s more, none of our students can afford to be ignorant of (or even resistant to) the fundamental issues that meld science, technology, and the arts. What we will try to do over the course of the seminar is explore what John Berger originally called “ways of seeing” and by doing so, we will look for ways to dismantle the silos of educational thought and replace that approach with an spectral (panoramic) view that is intellectually rather than disciplinarily driven.  In taking this road, we will consider all intellectual expressions of ideas—whether its music, literature, art, biology, medicine, statistics, philosophy, physics, etc.

The texts that we’ll look at –ranging from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (1818) to Tom Stoppard’s play, Arcadia (1993) to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2011) to How Images Think (2004).

Explore curriculum units developed by Fellows in this seminar here.