How to do Things with Words

This seminar will seek to explore the (actual and potential) roles and uses of writing within design and the design field. It will address problems of both form and content and examine important but neglected complexities of the relations between them. The course will have as a central concern philosophies of writing and especially the philosophical component of written intervention in general (the course is not intended for PhD students nor students concerned with contemporary academic writing as currently practiced within the Anglo-Saxon academy). The course is based on the dual assumption that a. writing is thinking and b. writing is a material practice that uniquely connects physical and immaterial actions and things — a form of building, design or worldmaking.
Each week a short text will be studied closely and in depth (ex. Isaiah Berlin, Erwin Panofsky, Erich Auerbach, Michel Foucault, Rayner Banham, Friedrich Nietzsche, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Roland Barthes, etc.) and each week one written text will be assigned and completed by each class member for consideration by the entire class.

Prerequisites: demonstration of an existing publishing record (or an attempted one) and a credible commitment to a writing practice in the public domain.

Contemporary ephemeral and quasi-literary forms (primarily associated with digital and social media) will enter into discussion and will be theorized but will NOT be considered part of this course\’s topos or practice.