Course Description

MIT 436G (Winter 2008)   Lesson of Luddism: Exploring Techno-Skepticism

Course Description
“You are my creator, but I am your master” – The Monster to Dr. Frankenstein

In this age of rampant technophilia and euphoric discourse about technology, a deeper exploration of the tradition of techno-skepticism is called for. This course will explore the legacies, both theoretical and pragmatic, of the Luddite movement of the early 1800s. We will begin by examining the historical context and events of the Luddite resistance. We will then explore resonances of Luddism in various theories of technology of the 20th century, including contemporary neo-Luddite critique, with a specific focus on their links to broader critiques of capitalism and the free market. We will go on to examine some thematics suggested by the efforts of the Luddites' struggle against the rise of techno-capital: the enclosure of human identity and the production of the unruly and the monstrous; the enlosure of human labour, creativity, and thinking and the production of social resistance as violence, breaking, and banditry. We will also explore contemporary examples of the use of technology in the service of anti-capitalism and current embodied struggles 'from below' against the various enclosures of globalization.

This course is no longer active. Please contact FIMS Undergraduate Student Services,, for more information.