GSD Course Bulletin - Fall 2013

This term's information was last refreshed on 12 MAY 2015 14:55:09.

Courses taught by Sanford Kwinter

03431: A Science of the Environment (DES 0343100)

Architecture, Landscape Architecture
Lecture - 4 credits
Thursday 3:00 - 4:30   42 Kirkland 1G
Tuesday 3:00 - 5:30   Gund - Gropius

Sanford Kwinter

Course Description

The science of ecology purports to study life as the sum of interactions between organisms and their natural environment. The term ‘natural’ has in recent decades undergone significant revision, in both biological and philosophical circles, increasingly to include a great many aspects of human cultural process and history. This course will be an approach toward the ideal of a ‘total ecology’, at once an incorporation of ‘deep ecology’, behavioral ecology and evolutionary theory as a discipline intended to transform and cultivate an entirely new way of understanding the human physical and cultural relationship to the natural world.

As ‘sustainability’ theories and ethics rise to prominence in the contemporary economic and historical world, conceived largely in terms of remedial and technological intervention, the more foundational questions and forms of knowledge associated with true ecological thinking have paradoxically fallen by the wayside. This course seeks to recover, and in many ways reinvent, the habits of mind in which naturalism once played a central role in human life and culture. This course will focus in considerable detail on early human evolution and the early (Pleistocene) stone age (economics, art, social organization, knowledge systems, etc.), on the ‘knowledge systems’ employed within plant and animal milieus to at once create, exploit and stabilize the relationship to their milieus as well as on the forms that they
both create and take on to maximize this stability.

Geological, climactic, biotic, technological, aesthetic and even psychic factors will be studied as contributors to a ‘total’ ecological posture toward the environment. Human ‘being’ will be shown to be a direct and inseparable product of the landscape in which the human type arose and to which it will need once again to return with effective understanding, if it wishes to evade the catastrophes that current science predicts.

Courseware site (Canvas)

03457: How to do Things with Words (DES 0345700)

Seminar - 4 credits - Limited enrollment
Wednesday 3:00 - 6:00   7 Sumner 404

Sanford Kwinter

Course Description

This seminar will seek to explore the (actual and potential) roles and uses of writing within design and the design field. It will address problems of both form and content and examine important but neglected complexities of the relations between them. The course will have as a central concern philosophies of writing and especially the philosophical component of written intervention in general (the course is not intended for PhD students nor students concerned with contemporary academic writing as currently practiced within the Anglo-Saxon academy). The course is based on the dual assumption that a. writing is thinking and b. writing is a material practice that uniquely connects physical and immaterial actions and things -- a form of building, design or worldmaking.
Each week a short text will be studied closely and in depth (ex. Isaiah Berlin, Erwin Panofsky, Erich Auerbach, Michel Foucault, Rayner Banham, Friedrich Nietzsche, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Roland Barthes, etc.) and each week one written text will be assigned and completed by each class member for consideration by the entire class.

Prerequisites: demonstration of an existing publishing record (or an attempted one) and a credible commitment to a writing practice in the public domain.

Contemporary ephemeral and quasi-literary forms (primarily associated with digital and social media) will enter into discussion and will be theorized but will NOT be considered part of this course's topos or practice.

Courseware site (Canvas)

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