Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2023

Science in Perspective Information
In “Science in Perspective”-courses students learn to reflect on ETH’s STEM subjects from the perspective of humanities, political and social sciences.

Only the courses listed below will be recognized as "Science in Perspective" courses.
Type A: Enhancement of Reflection Competence
SiP courses are recommended for bachelor students after their first-year examination and for all master- or doctoral students. All SiP courses are listed in Type A.

Courses listed under Type B are only recommendations for enrollment for specific departments.
History
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
853-0726-00LHistory II: Global (Anti-Imperialism and Decolonisation, 1919-1975)W3 credits2VH. Fischer-Tiné
AbstractThe lecture will give an insight into the formation of anticolonial nationalist movements in Asia and Africa from the beginning of the 20th century onwards and discuss the various dimensions of dismantling of colonial empires.
ObjectiveThe lecture will give students an insight into the history of the non-European world, looking specifically into the political, economic, social and cultural transformation on the backgrounds of colonial penetration strategies and the resistance of anti-colonial movements. The aim is to show that societies in Asia and Africa are not just the product of colonial penetration or anti-colonial resistance, but that both aspects influenced the present political, economic, social and cultural perception of these parts of the world to a considerable extent. A nuanced knowledge of the long and arduous process of decolonisation is hence important to understand today's geopolitical constellation, still characterised by the struggle for a just post-imperial world order.
LiteratureJansen, J.C. und Osterhammel, J., Dekolonisation: Das Ende der Imperien, München 2013.
Prerequisites / NoticeA detailed syllabus will be available in due course at Link
052-0806-00LHistory and Theory of Architecture IV Information W2 credits2VL. Stalder
AbstractThis two-semester course is an introduction to the history of architecture from the Second Industrial Revolution in the 1850s to the Oil Crisis in the 1970s in Europe. Students will be able to identify the “things”—technical objects and ensembles—that transformed architecture, and to relate them to the technical, scientific, and cultural concerns that introduced them as key features of modernity.
ObjectiveTo introduce students to the history and theory of architecture, the course has three objectives.
First, students will be able to identify the “things” that transformed architecture in modernity, and the crucial events, buildings, theories, and actors that characterize their history.
Second, students will be able to describe how these “things” operated at different scales, focusing less on the formal level, and naming instead the different forms of expertise that constituted them historically, as well as the processes within which they were embedded.
Third, students will be able to reflect on a series of apparatuses, devices, and building parts that are in fact micro-architectures which have often been neglected, despite their pivotal role in shaping the daily lives of modern societies.
ContentThe course proposes a new approach to the study of the history and theory of architecture in Europe during modernity. It focuses less on single architects or their buildings, and more on those “things” that have brought profound transformations in the built environment and daily life over the last 200 years, such as the revolving door, the clock, and the partition.
The notion of “thing” includes both the concrete building parts and the concerns associated with them, such as material performance, social synchronization, and individual expression. To understand buildings as assemblages of “things,” therefore, does not mean to diminish their significance, but on the contrary to add reality to them, to understand them in terms of the complex, historically situated, and diverse concerns within which they were designed.
Each lecture introduces one “thing” through a genealogy that shaped it, from patents and scientific discoveries and technological advancement, to cinema, the visual arts, and literature. A set of renowned projects as well as lesser-known buildings from all around Europe offer a variety of case studies to describe these “things,” to understand how they operated in relation with one another, and to identify the theories and tactics that architects mobilized to make sense of them.
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Decision-makingfostered
Media and Digital Technologiesfostered
Problem-solvingfostered
Project Managementfostered
Social CompetenciesCommunicationfostered
Cooperation and Teamworkfostered
Customer Orientationfostered
Leadership and Responsibilityfostered
Self-presentation and Social Influence fostered
Sensitivity to Diversityfostered
Negotiationfostered
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityfostered
Creative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsassessed
Self-awareness and Self-reflection fostered
Self-direction and Self-management assessed
701-0791-00LEnvironmental History - Introduction and Overview Restricted registration - show details W2 credits2VM. Gisler
AbstractIntroduction into environmental history as a discipline that ask for the human-nature-relationships from a long-term and spatially defined perspective. By presenting a selection of different topics the lecture provides access to new questions and insights.
ObjectiveIntroduction into environmental history; survey of long-term development of human-nature-interrelations; discussion of selected problems. Improved ability to assess current problems from a historical perspective and to critically interrogate one's own standpoint.
ContentHumans live in and with nature, depend on it, change it permanently: as bio- and geological agents they intervene, reshape, leave prints, improve, reproduce and demonize nature; in short, they’re “doing environment”. Namely in the 20th century, the "era of ecology" (Joachim Radkau) or the age of the “Great Acceleration” (John McNeill), human interventions in their environments have increased exponentially. But nature itself is also constantly changing, adapting, striking back. This leads to a constantly changing interrelation between human and nature.
This interdependence is at the core of this lecture. The introduction into “environmental history” offers an overview of the human-environment-relationship in a long-term perspective. It outlines concepts such as the anthropocene, climate and energy as well as questions of environmental policy and the history of the environmental movements. It is meant to expand the competencies for the assessment of current problems and the critical questioning of one's own point of view.
Lecture notesCourse material is provided in digital form.
Literature- Kupper, P. (2021). Umweltgeschichte, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht.
- Radkau, J. (2011). Die Ära der Ökologie, München: Beck.
- McNeill, J.R. (2000). Something new under the sun: An environmental history of the twentieth-century world, New York: Norton.
Prerequisites / NoticeStudents are asked to write an exam during the last session
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Personal CompetenciesCritical Thinkingassessed
851-0528-00LDigital Government since 1950 Restricted registration - show details W3 credits2SD. Gugerli, R. Wichum
AbstractThe seminar discusses the changes that have resulted from the relocation of government into the digital space since the middle of the 20th century. We assume that in the course of this move, both governmental and digital reality have changed (e-government, health policy, public sphere, information systems).
ObjectiveStudents learn to read very different types of text against the grain and understand technical change.
Lecture notesThe reading program is available on Moodle at the beginning of the semester. Participation in the sessions is required. A graded semester performance will take place. Students should complete research tasks resulting from the individual sessions.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe Zahl der Teilnehmenden ist auf 40 beschränkt.
851-0283-00LRhetoric and Knowledge Restricted registration - show details W3 credits2SC. Jany, L. Rathjen
AbstractThe relationship between rhetoric and science is complicated. Since its inception, rhetoric has been suspected of obscuring the facts that science elaborates. But how plausible is this juxtaposition? Doesn't science itself have to be rhetorical in order to be effective? Is rhetoric not itself technique, knowledge, and science? And does literature promise to resolve this opposition?
ObjectiveThe seminar will explore these questions historically and systematically. To this end, we will examine various texts from science, literature, philosophy, and politics in terms of their rhetorical form and rhetorical knowledge. Rhetoric is thus understood on the one hand as a technique of representation that conveys and even produces knowledge, and on the other hand as an attempt to systematize kn
ContentOf particular interest is the interweaving of rhetoric, science, and technology. Such an interweaving is conceivable in at least three ways: 1) in the form of rhetorical peculiarities in the communication of scientists and engineers (rhetoric of science); 2) against the backdrop of an expanded understanding of rhetoric as a technical instrument for understanding the world, explaining the world, and changing the world (rhetoric as technology); 3) with rhetoric as the name of a discipline that lays claim to scientificity (rhetoric as science).
851-0065-00LEnergy, Resources, Scarcity. The Knowledge Regimes of Energy 1820–today Restricted registration - show details W3 credits2SM. Wulz
AbstractEverybody is talking about energy. But how do we know from which resources it can be obtained, how it can be measured and how much is available at all? Since the 19th century, physical and technical research on energy has been intertwined with political, cultural and economic discourses. In the seminar, we explore the knowledge regimes of energy from the 19th century until today.
ObjectiveThe seminar provides a history of energy and its knowledge regimes from the 19th to the 21st century. Students learn to analyse how physical and technical knowledge are intertwined with economic thought as well as with political and cultural debates.
ContentIn the seminar, we explore the knowledge regimes of energy from the 19th century until today. Starting from early thermodynamic research on energy conservation and entropy, the seminar looks at knowledge regimes of energy and resources, their extraction and use, as well as economic and cultural debates about energy scarcity and efficient use. In the seminar, we trace crucial periods of energy debates, from steam engines and industrialised labor, to the economic, geopolitical, and scientific conditions underlying the extraction and distribution of resources (coal, oil, nuclear power, natural gas, solar energy), up to current debates.
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Decision-makingfostered
Social CompetenciesCommunicationfostered
Cooperation and Teamworkfostered
Sensitivity to Diversityfostered
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityfostered
Creative Thinkingfostered
Critical Thinkingfostered
Integrity and Work Ethicsfostered
Self-awareness and Self-reflection fostered
851-0437-00LDipesh Chakrabarty, The Climate of History in a Planetary AgeW3 credits2SM. Hagner
AbstractClimate change is also forcing the humanities to rethink: What does history mean when geophysical processes are also taken into account? How should we imagine the future when part of the planet is in danger of becoming uninhabitable? Dipesh Chakrabarty develops new concepts to answer Immanuel Kant's old questions: What can I know? What shall I do? What may I hope?
ObjectiveThe goal of this seminar is to become familiar with Chakrabarty's arguments and to work out their relevance for new ways of thinking in the face of climate catastrophe.
ContentBased on the book "The Climate of History in the Planetary Age" (Link) by Dipesh Chakrabarty (acquisition and reading of this book is a prerequisite for successful participation in the seminar), we will discuss the new importance of history for a more precise understanding of the human situation in the Anthropocene .
851-0157-31LScience in the 20th CenturyW3 credits2VM. Hagner
AbstractThese lectures covers the extraordinary expansion and significance of science in the 20th century, with examples taken from the natural and engineering sciences as well as the humanities.
ObjectiveNo one will seriously question the great significance that science and technology was beginning to have in the 20th century, pertaining to almost every aspect of life. Treating among others on the examples of genetics, space travel, pharmacology, cybernetics and psychoanalysis, these lectures demonstrate how scientific departures such as these were embedded within broader historical contexts. These lectures aim to develop an understanding of the historical circumstances within which these various disciplines developed and accrued significance.
851-0297-00LManipulation in Literature and Cultural HistoryW3 credits2VS. S. Leuenberger
AbstractThis lecture focuses on the manipulation and control of individuals and the masses. The power of manipulation is based on subtle use of persuasive linguistic elements and knowledge of the desires and fears of the intended audience. In addition to a theoretical overview, the lecture concentrates on the literary and discursive texts that dispute the control of protagonists.
ObjectiveStudents will learn about manipulation as a linguistic and narrative phenomenon steeped in myth and classical rhetoric. Against the backdrop of cultural-historical developments, particularly with regard to major changes in media technology, we will examine how the reach of manipulation was extended from the individual to the masses. Students will be able to refine their critical discourse analysis skills and interdisciplinary abilities by studying texts from literature, politics, sociology, philosophy and psychoanalysis which reflect this shift in emphasis.
ContentSince the dawn of time mankind has tried to exert influence over others through the utilisation of certain techniques: initially for self-preservation – for example the interpretation of Sigmund Freud in Totem und Tabu. Later, desire became the driving force – centre stage: the desire for pleasure, power and control. Manipulation manifests itself in the form of characters and words, it is an authentically linguistic occurrence: classical antiquity, with the rhetoric, develops a system of verbal power of persuasion and, already then, questions were being raised in literary and discursive texts about how people could, or even should, manipulate. The exertion of influence and its impact will be clearly described, propagated, commented upon, criticised and ironised.
In contrast to oppressive overpowering, the power of manipulation (in Latin, manus hand, plere fill) is on the one hand, based on the subtle use of persuasive linguistic elements – it is always a (literary) discourse, too – and on the other, on knowing precisely what the fantasies, desires and fears of the manipulated are. The discourse of manipulation has its beginnings in the age of sophists and their belief in an omnipotence of language and rhetoric. It underwent further transformation under political and psychological signs in the early modern period through Giordano Bruno and Niccolò Machiavelli and culminated in the 20th century in a critique of the deception strategies of the “culture industry” (T.W Adorno) and “psychotechnology” (B. Stiegler) in global capitalism. Nowadays social media is the “radicalisation machine” (J. Ebner) that present new challenges for society. Written in the 19th century, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion already gave indications of how present-day conspiracy theorists would manipulate their audience, and its impact can still be felt today. Since manipulation is a linguistic, narrative and also literary phenomenon, the central theme of the lecture is how in literature itself this often politically controversial and manipulative behaviour is picked up and reflected through poetry: such as in Tristan from Gottfried von Strassburg, Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Friedrich Schiller’s Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua or Heinrich von Kleist’s Der zerbrochne Krug, the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Mann (Mario und der Zauberer) and, most recently in Eckhart Nickel’s novel, Hysteria.
851-0101-91LModernity and its Other: Fantastic Literature and Occultism ca. 1900W3 credits2VA. Kilcher
AbstractThe course focuses on the complex relation between the Fantastic and Occultism, which is understood as part of the history of knowledge of the imaginary after the 18th century.
ObjectiveThe course aims at conveying a general overview on various theoretical and literary conceptions of the Fantastic. At the same time it wishes to transmit the knowledge of occultism and its forms of representation.
ContentThe Fantastic may be understood as the conflictual surpassing of the fundamental literary function of fantasy during the modern age. Fantasy no longer structures an autonomous wonderful world, but it breaks in on the real as the imaginary. After 1800, and in the form of the imaginary, the fantastic breaks into a world that is thought to be rational and scientifically explainable while dissolving the causative correlations of the Enlightenment. In the backdrop of such tensed evolution, the Fantastic establishes itself within the context of the secularisation and of the scientification of knowledge. Yet, the Fantastic also promotes new forms of knowledge that come into conflict with the academic sciences during the 18th and 19th centuries and assert themselves as counterknowledge. This becomes evident and comprehensible in relation to occult sciences, namely theosophy, occultism, spiritism etc. With reference to the Fantastic counterknowledge becomes evident in a wide variety of distinctive images, and narratives, that relate of the uncanny, the gothic, the grotesque, the demonic, the surreal etc. At the same time, occult sciences look for the proximity to the arts of the Fantastic, that promise a new aesthetic -- as well as their possibilities in the media -- for the representation and the narration of the imaginary and the obscure.

The course has a twofold goal. It wishes to understand the notion and the history of Fantastic literature beginning with the 19th century, taking as case studies crucial and intriguing writers such as E.T.A. Hoffmann, Gustav Meyrink and Jorge Louis Borges. At the same time, the course aims at ascertaining the notion "occult knowledge" (resp. occult sciences) and its epistemological aspiration in conflict with academic knowledge. The lecture, therefore, aims at the reconstruction of the complex interrelation between the Fantastic and Occultism as a part of the history of knowledge of the imaginary right up to Psychoanalysis.
851-0308-00LLiterature and MathematicsW3 credits2VA. Kilcher, R. Wagner
AbstractLiterature and mathematics may seem to be far apart. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that they are analogous in essential respects: both formalize and condense language; both develop narrative processes. In short: mathematics and writing, counting and storytelling (Zählen und Erzählen) are closely related processes.
Objective- Theory of language
- Theory of literature
- Philosophy of mathematics
- Narratology
- History of mathematics and literature
ContentAt first glance, literature and mathematics seem to be very far apart: on the one hand an ambiguous pictorial language, on the other hand exact symbolic relationships. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that literature and mathematics are analogous in essential respects: both formalize and condense language; both develop narrative processes. In short and in general: mathematics and writing, counting and storytelling (Zählen und Erzählen) are closely related processes. Moreover, even a surprising reversal can be observed: on the one hand, literature becomes mathematical (e.g. in combinatorial poetry or in the procedures of experimental poetry); on the other hand, mathematics becomes literary (e.g. in the narrative procedures of proof, but also in the transition to the infinite and the fuzzy — Unschärfe --- in modern mathematics). In the seminar, this relationship between literature and mathematics is to be put up for discussion both theoretically and by way of example with texts from literature and mathematics.
851-0355-00LImages of Science and TechnologyW3 credits2VM. Bucchi
AbstractThis course will analyze public images of science and technology and their main changes from a historical and sociological perspective.
In particular, topics such as: the role of the visual element in the communication of science and its public representation; the role of 'visible scientists,' with particular reference to Nobel Prize winners.
ObjectiveVarious examples cited and discussed will refer to Italian science and its relationship with society and the various spheres of culture (literature, visual arts, gastronomy, music), with particular reference to the period from the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th century.
ContentThis course will analyze public images of science and technology and their main changes from a historical and sociological perspective.
In particular, topics such as: the role of the visual element in the communication of science and its public representation; the role of 'visible scientists,' with particular reference to Nobel Prize winners; trends and discontinuities that have marked the public perception of science; and the relationship between science and society will be explored.
Various examples cited and discussed will refer to Italian science and its relationship with society and the various spheres of culture (literature, visual arts, gastronomy, music), with particular reference to the period from the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th century.
The last part of the course will be devoted to images of technology and its role in contemporary society. Indeed, our daily relationship with technology also passes through the way we imagine and narrate it. More information at: Link.
851-0125-65LA Sampler of Histories and Philosophies of Mathematics Restricted registration - show details
Particularly suitable for students D-CHAB, D-INFK, D-ITET, D-MATH, D-PHYS
W3 credits2VR. Wagner
AbstractThis course will review several case studies from the ancient, medieval and modern history of mathematics. The case studies will be analyzed from various philosophical perspectives, while situating them in their historical and cultural contexts.
ObjectiveThe course aims are:
1. To introduce students to the historicity of mathematics
2. To make sense of mathematical practices that appear unreasonable from a contemporary point of view
3. To develop critical reflection concerning the nature of mathematical objects
4. To introduce various theoretical approaches to the philosophy and history of mathematics
5. To open the students' horizons to the plurality of mathematical cultures and practices
851-0519-00LDeportation as a Means of Migration and Population ControlW3 credits2VS. M. Scheuzger
AbstractIn recent decades, deportations have become a means of state migration and population control used on a massive scale. Contrary to popular perception, deportation is an extremely complex process. The course discusses the "normalisation" of deportation in a global perspective with a focus on the various techniques involved.
ObjectiveStudents a) know the main developments of the instrument of deportation in recent decades in their global contexts; b) know the different techniques used in deportations as well as their role in these developments; c) can assess the use of deportation as well as the techniques used in their social and political contexts.
ContentDeportations appear to be both a legitimate and effective solution in the state's dealings with people who cross national borders without authorisation or who are no longer allowed to stay within these borders. However, the supposedly simple act of forcibly deporting foreign nationals from national territory is an extraordinarily complex mechanism of state action. The different techniques and technologies on which deportation practices are based contribute to this complexity. The focus of the course is on the latter. The lecture looks at the technologies used in the creation of deportability, in the search and identification of persons to be deported, in their detention (immobilisation) and their deportation (mobilisation). A broad spectrum of technologies of surveillance, identification, communication, confinement, sanitary control or transport will be discussed in their modes of operation, their interaction with each other and with other factors (especially with the concept of "assemblages"). It also looks at the techniques and technologies used in resistance to state control and deportations. The question will be explored how technologies and their transformation are linked to the legal, political, cultural, and social preconditions of deportation practices and what significance they have acquired in the process. In a historical dimension, it will be asked what role technologies have played in the development of deportation regimes, especially in the postulated "deportation turn" since the 1990s, i.e. the massive increase in deportations in many countries of the world. The lecture focuses on Europe, the Middle East and Africa on the one hand and North and Central America on the other.
Prerequisites / NoticeAfter the introductory first session, which is conducted in presence, the lecture takes place in a "flipped classroom" format. This means that the content of the sessions is made available weekly in a 45-minute zoom recording on Moodle. The session content is then discussed together in the face-to-face class. The classroom sessions take place every fortnight, last 90 minutes and cover the topics of two lecture sessions. The exact dates can be found in the programme one week before the start of the course.
The conditions for the course assessment are, on the one hand, the reading of the texts given in the lecture programme in preparation for the discussion sessions and, on the other hand, the writing of an essay on a selection of questions on the lecture topic in the last session. This essay will form the basis of the grading. All organisational questions will be dealt with in more detail in the introductory session.
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationfostered
Personal CompetenciesCritical Thinkingassessed
Literature
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
851-0283-00LRhetoric and Knowledge Restricted registration - show details W3 credits2SC. Jany, L. Rathjen
AbstractThe relationship between rhetoric and science is complicated. Since its inception, rhetoric has been suspected of obscuring the facts that science elaborates. But how plausible is this juxtaposition? Doesn't science itself have to be rhetorical in order to be effective? Is rhetoric not itself technique, knowledge, and science? And does literature promise to resolve this opposition?
ObjectiveThe seminar will explore these questions historically and systematically. To this end, we will examine various texts from science, literature, philosophy, and politics in terms of their rhetorical form and rhetorical knowledge. Rhetoric is thus understood on the one hand as a technique of representation that conveys and even produces knowledge, and on the other hand as an attempt to systematize kn
ContentOf particular interest is the interweaving of rhetoric, science, and technology. Such an interweaving is conceivable in at least three ways: 1) in the form of rhetorical peculiarities in the communication of scientists and engineers (rhetoric of science); 2) against the backdrop of an expanded understanding of rhetoric as a technical instrument for understanding the world, explaining the world, and changing the world (rhetoric as technology); 3) with rhetoric as the name of a discipline that lays claim to scientificity (rhetoric as science).
851-0437-00LDipesh Chakrabarty, The Climate of History in a Planetary AgeW3 credits2SM. Hagner
AbstractClimate change is also forcing the humanities to rethink: What does history mean when geophysical processes are also taken into account? How should we imagine the future when part of the planet is in danger of becoming uninhabitable? Dipesh Chakrabarty develops new concepts to answer Immanuel Kant's old questions: What can I know? What shall I do? What may I hope?
ObjectiveThe goal of this seminar is to become familiar with Chakrabarty's arguments and to work out their relevance for new ways of thinking in the face of climate catastrophe.
ContentBased on the book "The Climate of History in the Planetary Age" (Link) by Dipesh Chakrabarty (acquisition and reading of this book is a prerequisite for successful participation in the seminar), we will discuss the new importance of history for a more precise understanding of the human situation in the Anthropocene .
851-0297-00LManipulation in Literature and Cultural HistoryW3 credits2VS. S. Leuenberger
AbstractThis lecture focuses on the manipulation and control of individuals and the masses. The power of manipulation is based on subtle use of persuasive linguistic elements and knowledge of the desires and fears of the intended audience. In addition to a theoretical overview, the lecture concentrates on the literary and discursive texts that dispute the control of protagonists.
ObjectiveStudents will learn about manipulation as a linguistic and narrative phenomenon steeped in myth and classical rhetoric. Against the backdrop of cultural-historical developments, particularly with regard to major changes in media technology, we will examine how the reach of manipulation was extended from the individual to the masses. Students will be able to refine their critical discourse analysis skills and interdisciplinary abilities by studying texts from literature, politics, sociology, philosophy and psychoanalysis which reflect this shift in emphasis.
ContentSince the dawn of time mankind has tried to exert influence over others through the utilisation of certain techniques: initially for self-preservation – for example the interpretation of Sigmund Freud in Totem und Tabu. Later, desire became the driving force – centre stage: the desire for pleasure, power and control. Manipulation manifests itself in the form of characters and words, it is an authentically linguistic occurrence: classical antiquity, with the rhetoric, develops a system of verbal power of persuasion and, already then, questions were being raised in literary and discursive texts about how people could, or even should, manipulate. The exertion of influence and its impact will be clearly described, propagated, commented upon, criticised and ironised.
In contrast to oppressive overpowering, the power of manipulation (in Latin, manus hand, plere fill) is on the one hand, based on the subtle use of persuasive linguistic elements – it is always a (literary) discourse, too – and on the other, on knowing precisely what the fantasies, desires and fears of the manipulated are. The discourse of manipulation has its beginnings in the age of sophists and their belief in an omnipotence of language and rhetoric. It underwent further transformation under political and psychological signs in the early modern period through Giordano Bruno and Niccolò Machiavelli and culminated in the 20th century in a critique of the deception strategies of the “culture industry” (T.W Adorno) and “psychotechnology” (B. Stiegler) in global capitalism. Nowadays social media is the “radicalisation machine” (J. Ebner) that present new challenges for society. Written in the 19th century, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion already gave indications of how present-day conspiracy theorists would manipulate their audience, and its impact can still be felt today. Since manipulation is a linguistic, narrative and also literary phenomenon, the central theme of the lecture is how in literature itself this often politically controversial and manipulative behaviour is picked up and reflected through poetry: such as in Tristan from Gottfried von Strassburg, Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Friedrich Schiller’s Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua or Heinrich von Kleist’s Der zerbrochne Krug, the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Mann (Mario und der Zauberer) and, most recently in Eckhart Nickel’s novel, Hysteria.
851-0355-00LImages of Science and TechnologyW3 credits2VM. Bucchi
AbstractThis course will analyze public images of science and technology and their main changes from a historical and sociological perspective.
In particular, topics such as: the role of the visual element in the communication of science and its public representation; the role of 'visible scientists,' with particular reference to Nobel Prize winners.
ObjectiveVarious examples cited and discussed will refer to Italian science and its relationship with society and the various spheres of culture (literature, visual arts, gastronomy, music), with particular reference to the period from the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th century.
ContentThis course will analyze public images of science and technology and their main changes from a historical and sociological perspective.
In particular, topics such as: the role of the visual element in the communication of science and its public representation; the role of 'visible scientists,' with particular reference to Nobel Prize winners; trends and discontinuities that have marked the public perception of science; and the relationship between science and society will be explored.
Various examples cited and discussed will refer to Italian science and its relationship with society and the various spheres of culture (literature, visual arts, gastronomy, music), with particular reference to the period from the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th century.
The last part of the course will be devoted to images of technology and its role in contemporary society. Indeed, our daily relationship with technology also passes through the way we imagine and narrate it. More information at: Link.
851-0044-00LFeminist Philosophy and Criticism of ScienceW3 credits2SN. Mazouz
AbstractStudents will get an overview of different approaches in feminist philosophy.
They will be supported in developing their skills to interpret complex texts, to identify the argumentation, to reflect critically and to put it up for discussion.
ObjectiveStudents will get an overview of different theories of feminist philosophy and systematic philosophical questions as well as the different types of challenge that go along with them ethically, aesthetically, epistemologically, politically and scientifically. They are enabled to interpret complex texts, to identify the argumentation, to reflect critically and to put it up for discussion.
ContentThe first fundamental question that arises with this title is, of course, what feminism is and what feminist philosophy can mean, and the debate on this is also our first seminar focus. In a second central line of discussion, systematic philosophical questions are thematic, for example in feminist ethics and political philosophy, feminist aesthetics, feminist epistemology and feminist philosophy of science. This focus will be selected according to the interests of the participants.
LiteratureHerta Nagl-Docekal (2010). „Feministische Philosophie: Wie Philosophie zur Etablierung geschlechtergerechter Bedingungen beitragen kann“. In: „Handbuch zur Geschlechterforschung“, Springer Verlag.
851-0312-00LLiterary Writing from ResearchW3 credits2SC. Weidmann
AbstractScience occupies a prominent position in contemporary literature, as evidenced by the new boom in science fiction, auto-theory, theory-fiction, nature, or feral writing. We'll take the way there: what happens when you step out of study and research into literary writing and turn it over to the dynamics and rules of poetics?
ObjectiveThe goal of this course is to practice literary writing and examine it for how it connects to and complements the practices of scholarship. The aim will be first to literarize invisible practices of research (lab cleaning, programming, commuting) and second to defamiliarize them with poetic practices (poetry, science fiction, protocols).
Content"[A]s soon as you hear the word science, you know you're in for an intensification of sensation." (Kodwo Eshun)
Science occupies a prominent position in contemporary literature, as evidenced by the new boom in science fiction, auto-theory, theory-fiction, nature, or feral writing. But literary writing obeys different rules than scientific writing and produces a different kind of thinking. We take the way there: what happens when one moves out of study and research into literary writing and surrenders this production of knowledge to the dynamics and rules of poetics? Is it possible to make visible and convey aspects such as derivations, boring data searches, sparking thoughts, late trips home, disappointing results, or the cheerfulness of science?
In the seminar, we read and discuss literary texts that use science as an intensifier, regularly compose and discuss our own texts, try our hand at writing exercises, and go into the field to record science in literary form.
In collaboration with literary institutions such as the Aargauer Literaturhaus Lenzburg, we will bring our findings to the public and convey science poetically.
We are addressing people who are interested in literary writing and would like to work intensively on it. What is required is the willingness to write texts at regular intervals and to discuss them in a confidential setting.
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