Introduction

In the face of our growing technological dependencies, Intersections on Imagineering and the Technosphere explores how humans use technology intentionally and unintentionally to alter themselves and their physical world. Lessons from the past show us how to use technologies to address today’s global challenges.

How deep does the influence go?

For millennia, humans have created and used technologies to shape their lives. But the pace of social technologies, such as the Internet and Artificial Intelligence, is accelerating rapidly. We may be well intentioned in our creative use of technology, but technologies can also have unintended consequences and shape our lives in ways we may not realize. Understanding the impact of technologies on society involves examining the technologies themselves, but also recognizing the humans who make and use them. Humans engage in the work of imagineering when they use human creativity to shape the earth. The resulting technosphere, our world shaped by human hands, is composed of material forms, like mobile phones and cars, but it is also composed of cultural constructs such as language, art and architecture, political agendas, and religious traditions. These material and cultural constructs, which look different around the globe, are technologies created by humans to organize their lives.

Some of the greatest challenges facing us today – climate change, environmental catastrophe, and the resulting displaced populations – involve components of physical and social worlds. When we recognize the intersections between humans and technologies in our altered world, we have the power to create better technologies to change the world in productive ways.

The spread of civilization may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.

Nikola Tesla

Bridging the humanities, science, technology,
arts, and social sciences

Courses in this Intersections cluster work with an array of technologies, connecting buildings to shell mounds, art to scientific discovery, ancient manuscripts to Amazon reviews, and film to virtual reality. Exploring a breadth of technologies allows us to see how different technologies alter perceptions of culture, time, and space and create new ways that we interact with the world and with one other.

By bridging the humanities, science, technology, arts, and social sciences, these courses introduce the humanities in the context of technology to students of all majors. This multidisciplinary approach demonstrates that the humanities, sciences, and engineering are not disparate entities but are deeply interdependent. Understanding these interdependencies shows that we share the planet, that we have a set of tools derived from multiple disciplines, and that we are all capable of using them to find solutions to the most pressing problems of our time.

The group maintains an interactive website, hosts regular research workshops, and organizes events with speakers and filmmakers about technoscience. Host a regular research workshop, and organize events with speakers and filmmakers about technoscience. To engage students with questions of space, place, and time, students will use a mobile app for time travel in augmented reality to examine the hidden role of technology on the UF campus (from our bell tower to our nuclear reactor). This work will lay the foundation for team-taught and other new courses that will give students the tools to envision how they will “imagineer” the future of the planet while harnessing the power of technologies in environmentally and socially sustainable ways.

For more information about the Mellon Intersections Group on Imagineering and the Technosphere, visit: https://research.dwi.ufl.edu/projects/technosphere/

To stay up to date with Intersections on Imagineering and the Technosphere activities, subscribe to the TECHNOSPHERE-l Listserv HERE.

Upcoming Courses

  • IDS2935 – Why Chemistry Matters (Fall 2021)
  • CLT3510 – Ancient World in Film (Fall 2021)
  • ENC1136 – Multimodal Writing and Digital Literacy (Fall 2021) (WR)
  • HIS3465 – The Scientific Revolution (Fall 2021) (GenEd-H) (WR)
  • REL2071 – Religion and Nature in North America (Summer 2021) (GenEd-H) (WR)

Faculty and Doctoral Students

Convener
Eleni Bozia
Assistant Professor, Department of Classics
Angelos Barmpoutis
Associate Professor, Digital Worlds Institute and On-Line Learning Institute
Morris (Marty) Hylton III
Assistant Professor, Program Director, Historic Preservation Program, College of Design, Construction and Planning,
Sara Russell Gonzalez
Assistant University Librarian, Marston Science Library
Ying Xiao
Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Film and Media Studies
Aishat Aloba
Doctoral Student, Computer and Information Science and Engineering
Anastasia Pantazopoulou
Doctoral Student, Classics
Chuan Wang
Doctoral Student, Political Science
Andrew Jenkins
Doctoral Student, English