Reading & Composition: Silicon Valley

Anthropology of Silicon Valley
Course Number: 
R5B
Semester: 
Spring
Year: 
2017
Section: 
002
Instructor: 
Beltran, H
Units: 
4
Time: 
Tu Th 12:30 - 2 pm
CCN: 
12496

Spring 2017 
Reading and composition courses based on the anthropological literature. These courses provide an introduction to issues distinctive of anthropological texts and introduce students to distinctive forms of anthropological writing, such as ethnography and anthropological prehistory. Readings will be chosen from a variety of texts by authors whose works span the discipline, from bioanthropology to archaeology and sociocultural anthropology. Satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement. 

Texts: 

The Silicon Valley is frequently championed as a model for technological innovation, where high revenue generation and disruptive technologies are attributed to a culture of competitive collaboration, lean methodologies, and colorblind meritocracy.

At the same time—and especially recently with major tech companies releasing demographic data of their workforce—it is critiqued for its underlying structures that promote patriarchy, racialization, and exploitation. Thus, as the Silicon Valley increasingly becomes less of a place and more of a protocol for how to work and live, this course will examine how related socio-cultural forms and practices (hacking, responsible entrepreneurship, tech startup ecosystems) circulate and become re-assembled across boundaries of race, gender, class, and nation.

How can classic and emerging anthropological methodologies and theoretical frameworks help us think critically about the complex processes that undergird the “Silicon Valley”?