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Title: Technoromantics, Maker Culture and Critical Neo-Luddism
Authors: O'Gorman, Marcel
Issue Date: 23-Jun-2016
Abstract: ‘Critical Making’ ­ understood as hybrid conceptual/material practices supported by humanistic theories and assumptions ­ are increasingly en vogue. Increasingly, humanities faculties in North America are developing programs that incorporate making as key pedagogical and research components. This panel brings together directors, faculty, and graduate students from three such programs; Critical Media Lab (Waterloo), Critical Making Lab (U of T), and Hexagram (Concordia). The panel seeks to foster a dialogue on the role of “making” within the humanities as well as to situate these practices within a broader historical context. We ask: What is the pedagogical/ epistemological value of “making” as a complement to conventional scholarly activities such as written analysis and critique? Is the emphasis on materiality and concrete practices in this context a reaction to a perceived de­materialization within digital culture? By convening this panel, we hope to address recent skepticism about “making” within the context of the Digital Humanities. For instance, the resurgence of “making” within the culture at 8 large has been criticized for fetishizing materiality and artisanal modes of production. Similarly, Richard Grusin argues that within the emerging paradigm of the Digital Humanities, too much emphasis is placed on digital media practices (coding and software design) at the expense of more conventional modes of academic pedagogy such as close reading and essay writing. By addressing some of these areas of critique, the panel will map some of the ways in which conceptual/material practices both challenge and reinforce conventional pedagogical practices and assumptions in the humanities.
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