ID707 Critique of Design I Syllabus for 2019-2020

This year we move our focus away from conventional “cultural” analysis toward “material” analysis. In the first module we’ll be interested in actor-network theory, including design researchers’ take on ANT. In the second module, we’ll be interested in “material engagements.” With readings from postphenomenology (Ihde etc.), material engagement theory of Malafouris and ecological anthropology of Ingold.

Here is the syllabus. (Updated 11 November 2019)

New elective! ID362 Film Culture and Design Thematics: Science Fiction and Design

Black and white detail from ‘By Ducks’, Simon Stålenhag, 2016

I am happy to announce my new undergraduate elective on Science Fiction and Design.

This semester I resuscitate the course ID362 Film Culture and Design Thematics, which was an elective designed and run once by Prof. Dr Mehmet Asatekin many years ago. In line with the learning outcomes of the original course, I’ll be interested in science fiction film and literature, and we’ll collectively try to translate the resources into design insights.

Here’s the syllabus.

ID 707 Critique of Design I Syllabus for 2017-18: Object writing

New syllabus for ID707 Critique of Design I: Object writing helps students think about, talk about and write about objects in a creative and critical manner. The course is divided into three four-week modules, each with three reading weeks and a module assigment: Representation module consists of readings on semiology and affordances, and concludes with an advertising analysis assignment. In Consumption module, students read on material culture, subculture and craft consumption, and conduct a single interview around an object. The final Body module has readings on script theory and Ingold’s skilled practice, and ends with an observation assignment.

Find the syllabus here.

Image above: Pink BMW E30s from Ankara Piston Fest 2017 (

ID723 Design Cultures and the Human Body: Fall 2016-17 Syllabus

Images, from left to right, top row: (1) “EXERCISES 1–3: Exercising the mus-cles of the face, neck, and head […] helps maintain the tone and contour of the facial skin and musculature. It will also ‘train’ the muscles to control unattractive facial expressions.” In: Way Bandy, Designing Your Face: An Illustrated Guide to Cosmetics, 1977 URL. (2) “Proper proportions of a love seat.” In: Francis de N. Schroeder, Anatomy for Interior Designers, 1948 (Illustrations by Nino Repetto, Henry Stahlhut, and Mario Carreño) URL; (3) “BentoLab” low-cost portable DNA analysis lab. bottow row: (4) “Vehicle”, Krzystof Wodiczko, 1973. (5) “A leather and metal rod limb”. In: “Disability Information Resources (DINF), Disabled Village Children, Chapter 67 (Artificial Legs)” URL

We have done the first ever semester of the course, ID723 Design Cultures and the Human Body. We read theoretical pieces, stories, and comics; we watched films, TV series, and anime; we talked about products, and practices. We had the most stimulating semester!

My thanks to Dr. Aret Karademir (METU Philosophy) and Dr. Melike Şahinol (Orient-Institut Istanbul), who gave excellent lectures as part of the course; and to all students for their enthusiasm and hard work.

You can find the syllabus here.

New course: ID723 Design Cultures and the Human Body

Here is the poster for the new graduate I offer from Fall 2016-17. The syllabus will follow.

the human body has been a prominent object in design, as designers routinely refer in their practice to observations of and speculations about bodies, their capabilities and limitations, as well as the common postures and practices. such references are value-laden and so politically relevant; design practice is never merely a matter of optimizing products for existing bodies, but through its products empowers or precludes, makes visible or invisible, glorifies or stigmatizes, brings forth or destroys bodies.

we will focus on medical products; with readings on biopolitics and material semiotics and from medical STS; seminars by visiting scholars; film and documentary screenings, case study exercises of existing products and design projects in our vicinity. key topics include embodiment, discipline, cyborg, posthuman, normalization and quantification, molecularization of life. cases include synthetic biology, biohacking, mobile health; reproductive technologies such as assisted fertility and ultrasound; prosthetics such as cochlear implants; brain machine interfaces, etc.

Thomas Carpentier - L’homme, mesures de toutes choses
Thomas Carpentier
“L’homme, mesures de toutes choses”
Image borrowed from here.