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Critical Contexts

Critical Contexts

A critical survey of key and reoccurring contextual paradigms that designers must consider.

Objective & Outcomes

This course will survey a selection of theories, ideas, and concepts that form the basis for understanding ourselves, the category of “the human,” and the world that we live in. This course will address themes such as materiality, temporality, and power as well as categories such as gender, race, class, disability, sexuality, decoloniality, and the multispecies. As design moves away from traditional domains such as images and objects and towards the creation of socio-technical systems, it is essential that designers build a rich vocabulary to discuss these complex relationships.

Upon completing the course, students can evaluate, articulate, and critique design’s social, cultural, ethical, legal, health, environmental, political, and economic implications. Students will also creatively and generatively build their own points of view about the nature of complex socio-technical systems.

Typical Schedule

  • Session 1: Making & Design Theory
  • Session 2: Time, Temporality and Long Futures
  • Session 3: Space, Place, Materiality and the Digital
  • Session 4: Power, Politics and Publics
  • Session 5: Maintenance, Repair and Care
  • Session 6: Making & Diverse Economies