“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, September 20, 2013

Julian Yates on ANT: "Agent Orange"

Trying to take into account all the possible entities in an action such as making bacon and eggs, a blog post or a journal article. Actants, a neutral term for these.

This is Professor Yates's description of actor network theory, in an undergraduate masterclass he's doing here today. I'm the professor of record.

He has placed an orange on the table and he is asking the students what they have made recently.

A fact of making things is that you unmake them. Yates reads from Pandora's Hope. "Whenever we make something we are not in command--we are slightly overtaken by the action...constructivism uses a vocabulary of mastery that no construction worker would agree to."

This is all in the line of talking about poetry as poiesis.

Politeness and welcoming is required.

Making things is messy and you need a messy description of it to maximize the number of things.

There are cascades of irreversible events.

You have to make better and more inclusive lists. Yates does this with reference to John Gerard's memoir. This includes oranges and lemons (as the warder likes oranges and so forth; and Gerard's discussion of lemon juice).

Archived events have missing links. You need to keep track of them.

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