Technology & Anthropology


For those of you playing along with the home game, this Summer I’m taking two classes:

Technology & Civilization History of California since 1900 , and Emerging Global Cultures.

They’re both undergraduate classes in other departments and don’t count toward my degree, but who cares – I’m here to get an actual education.

The Technology class is alright, so far. Lots of work on CD-ROMs and online with very little in-class time. It’s not ideal, but I’ve been writing about what makes a technology socially disruptive (forget about “Your Failed Business Model Is Not My Problem” — that’s all about economic disruption) and starting to get into little bits about technology transfer between cultures – it ain’t all wine and cheese. More like this: papermaking artisans taken captive by the Turks during war with China in the 10th century and taken back to Baghdad. As I’ve often said about religion: Technology didn’t spread by knocking on doors.***

The Anthroplogy class starts Monday, only lasts three weeks, and jams a bunch of content in there. Then again, the last three-week-long Summer class I took taught me everything I know about story structure. That’s a good sign.

***[UPDATE: I dropped this class. I might write more on why after the paperwork clears, but when I said “It’s not ideal” I was being kind. Instead, I’m adding a History class taught by a professor with a great reputation. I’ve realized there’s absolutely no sense in spending more time to learn less from unenthusiastic instructors. I only have room in my schedule for a few classes that don’t count towards my degree. I’m not taking classes in other departments to fulfill any requirements, so I surely don’t want to be taught by someone just fulfilling their requirement to teach a certain number of credits, and that’s the vibe I was getting in the Technology class. The Anthropology class is fantastic – I’ll write more about that as it progresses.]

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