Technology-Human Interface

Home/ Technology-Human Interface
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreNA4


It is commonly assumed that the complexities of contemporary globalization are driven by scientific progress and technological innovations. Indeed technology plays a significant role in shaping our world today to the extent that scholars perceive the arrival of ‘transhumanism’, indicating the transformation that has taken place in human existence. This elective attempts to address the present surge of ‘globalism’ by disentangling the multiple and multi-layered relationships between science and technology and the way it interacts with human perception and existence. The intention is to understand how human beings perceive, relate, receive and experience the world around them through scientific knowledge and technological artifacts. Instead of treating science and technology as a matter of impact and implementation, this course intends to foreground the proposition that scientific knowledge and technological artifacts are socially shaped/ constructed, not just in their usage, but also in their design destination and technical contents. Science and technology is contested and constructed by societies, collectivities and institutions.


The students will be encouraged to step back and reflect on commonsense assumptions on science and technology and apply their knowledge to debunk some of these commonly assumed realities

The students will be introduced to the world of artefact and to the phenomenology and Anthropology of artefacts

The students will get an opportunity to understand the political and social dimensions of what has been understood as ‘the black box’ (the laboratory) in STS studies.

Overall structure:

This course is organized around seven modules.

1Technology-Human interface2 weeks
2Technology and the contours of contemporary change2 weeks
3Media in digital age2 weeks
4Phenomenology of Technology-Human Interface2 weeks
5Science fictions and myth making2 weeks
6Almost Human: (Re)editing of Body and Cyborg2 weeks
7Patenting knowledge2 weeks

Course Details
M-I: Technology-Human interface: Major Theoretical Contours
This module intends to introduce the students to the various theoretical contours related to the debates on emergence of scientific inquiry and critical reflections on the altering nature of relationships. We begin with discussion on history and politics of Scientific inquiry and attempt to disentangle multiple layers of the relationships and look at major theoretical traditions. 
Bijkar, W.E. et al. ed. 1992. Shaping Technology/Building Societies, London, MIT, Page: 225-258

Habermas, J. 1971.‘Technology and Science as “Ideology” ’, in Toward a Rational Society. London: Heinemann.

Latour, B. 2005, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to the Actor Network Theory, New York: OUP, Page Number: 141-159.
Oudshoorn, N. and Pinch, T. 2003. How Users Matter: the Co-construction of Technology, Massachusetts: MIT Press. Page:1-29 and 67-80.

M-II: Technology and the Contours of Contemporary Change
This module initiates a dialogue among the students on the issues of science technology and social change in the context of contemporary changes taking place due to technology and scientific knowledge. What is the nature of the knowledge produced and how they are perceived by the people who inhabit these spaces? What are the complex ways science and technology shaping our world and how do we shape the design and destination of technology?


  • Castells, M. 2000. The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. I. Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
  • Castells, M. 2004. The Power of Identity, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. II. Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
  • Brook J. and Boal, I. 1995. Resisting the Virtual Life: the Culture and Politics of Information, New York: CityLights.
  • Zuboff, S. 2019, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontiers of Power, New York: Public Affairs, Page: 10-30. 

M-III: Media in Digital Age: Culture and Politics
This modules attempts to capture the way (new) media technologies are shaping our economy, politics and needless to say our everyday life. 


  • Castells, M eds, 2004, Network Society: A Cross Cultural Perspective, Northampton: Edward Elgar, Page No: 3-48 and 363-382,
  • Boler, M. 2008, Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times, Massachusetts: MIT Press, Page: 31-52, 101-122. 
  • Rajgopal, A, 2004, Politics After Television: Hindu Nationalism and the Reshaping of Publics in India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Page No: 30-62, 151-210.
  • Ravindran, G. 2009, Moral Panics and Mobile Phones: The Cultural Politics of New Media Modernity in India, in Erwin Alampay, 2009, eds, Living the Information Society in Asia, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Research Studies, Page No: 93-108.

M-IV: The Phenomenology of Technology-Human Interface
This module emphasizes on the experiential and existential dimension of technology-human interface. It attempts to address versatile issues arising out of the human existence in the world of artifacts. How do human beings interact and experience the technology? How do their social position impact/ influence their interaction with the techno world? More importantly, how does human world is experienced in an ever technocratic, hallucinated world of spectacles produced by technology?


  • Turkle, S, 2011, Alone Together: Why do We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each other, New York: Basic Books, Page No: 151-187.
  • Turkle, S, 2008, The Inner History of Devices, Massachusetts: MIT Press, Page No: 32-54, and 98-138.
  • Turkle, S, 2005, Second Self: Computers and Human Spirit, Massachusetts: MIT Press, Page No: 33-64.
  • Agarwal, K. 2018, Technological Solutions, Including Robots, Aim to End Manual Scavenging, WIRE,

M-V: Science Fictions and Myth Making
Demystifying the myth of science and technology and its inherent capabilities of modernizing the society, this module attempts understand the way science and scientific aspirations are riddled with fiction and myth making.


  • Abha Sur, 'Dispersed Radiance: Caste, Gender and Modern Science in India'
  • Sanders, M.ed. 2008.The Philosophy of Science Fiction Films. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press. 
  • Weldes, J. 2003. To Seek Out New Worlds: Science Fiction and World Politics, New York: Palgrave, Macmillan. Page 1-30.
  • Nanda, M. 2002. Breaking the Spell of Dharma, New Delhi: Three Essays Collective.
  • Nandy, A. 1988. Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity, New York: United Nations University.

M-VI: Almost Human: (Re)editing of Body and Cyborg
This module sensitizes the students on how and in which direction science and technologies are ‘editing’ our own physical existence, such as the body thus our being. In this module we attempt to understand various issues surrounding assisted technologies and the science of body editing.


  • Bjelic, D.I. 2003.Galilio’s Pendulum: Science, Sexuality, and the Body-Instrument Link, New York: the State University of New York Press.Page No: 81-114
  • Lavigne, C. 2013. Cyberpunk Women, Feminism and Science Fiction, London: McFarland and Company Inc. Page: 98-113. &145-160
  • Wajcman, J. 1991. Feminism Confronts Technology, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Pande, A, 2009, Not an ‘Angel’, not a ‘Whore’: Surrogates as Dirty Workers in India, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol-16:2, 141-173.
  • Shetty, P. 2012, India’s Unregulated Surrogate Industry, The Lancet, World Report, Vol: 380, Issue:9854, November 10.

M-VII: Patenting Knowledge: Copyrights and Biotechnology 
In this module we discuss issues related to ownership of knowledge, such as innovations in technology and its ownerships. This module will dwell on the issues of copy rights, genetic rights, rights over body and authorship and death of authorship.


  • Kleinman, D.L 2005, Science, Technology in Society: From Biotechnology to the Internet, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, Page No:  15-33, 50-68, 
  • Fuller, S, 2016, Humanity 2.0: What it means to be Human, Past, Present and Future, New York: Palgrave McMilan, Page: 01-60
  • Oudshoorn, N, 1994, Beyond the Natural Body: An Archaeology of Sex Hormones, London: Routledge, Page No: 1-13.
  • Zuboff, S. 2019, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontiers of Power, New York: Public Affairs, Page: 353-371. 


Assessment structure (modes and frequency of assessments)

S.NoDate of assignmentValueDue Date of Submission
1Assignment3020th of September
2Project and Presentation4019thOctober and 26th  October
3Field Visit/ Secondary Literature review30First Week of November