Intimacy and Technology

Subject 136-209 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 1-hour lecture and a 90-minute tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 2.5 contact hours/week, 6 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Usually 75 points of first year study across any discipline area.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Michael Arnold


Dr Michael Arnold

Subject Overview: Intimate Technologies are those that we use to understand ourselves, and that we use to establish and maintain our relations with others. The subject approaches technologies of intimacy through a wide variety of examples and case studies - technologies of modesty and privacy (underwear and bedrooms), technologies of surveillance (CAT scans and bar-codes), communications technologies (love letters and SMS), reproductive technologies (IVF and sheep-gut), technologies that mediate personal identity (the data-body and flesh-fashion), and that mediate social and community relations (swarms and networks). The unifying themes that run through these examples approach technologies of intimacy in terms of their propensity to abstract, attenuate, individuate and discipline our intimate relations, and students are invited to critically assess this argument. In so doing, students will gain a fresh and critical understanding of the ways in which technologies and our lives are intertwined.
Objectives: A student who has successfully completed this subject will
  • understand and critically interpret the major theoretical and philosophical approaches that inform our knowledge of sociotechnical relations;
  • demonstrate a critical appreciation of the implications of particular sociotechnologies for self, and for human relations;
  • identify, interpret and recount sociotechnical case studies relevant to intimate relations.
Assessment: A 2500-word essay 50% (due at the end of semester), a 1000-word essay 30% (due in week 4) and a 500-word seminar presentation 20% (due during the semester). A hurdle requirement of attendance at eight tutorials is applicable.
Prescribed Texts:
A subject reader will be available from the bookshop at the start of semester
Recommended Texts: Borgmann, Albert, Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life, 1984. Feenberg, Andrew, Questioning Technology, London: Routledge, 1999 Gray, Chris (Ed.) The Cyborg Handbook, Routledge, 1995. Haraway, Donna, The Haraway reader, New York : Routledge, 2003 Hayles, Katherine, How we Became Posthuman 1999 Ihde, Don, Technology and the lifeworld : from garden to earth, Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1990. Turkle, Sherry, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, London: Weidenfel & Nicholson, 1996.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments;
  • develop skills in written and oral communication;
  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument;
  • conduct independent research.
Related Course(s): Diploma in Arts (Cultural Studies)
Diploma in Arts (Gender Studies)
Diploma in Arts (History and Philosophy of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major
History & Philosophy of Science
History && Philosophy of Science Major
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science

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