General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Objects Of Power. Materiality Of Politics And Politics Of Materiality
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Andrzej Wojciech Nowak
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Professor
Faculty Faculty of Philosophy
Semester 2023/2024 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 23-PIE-OOP


Monday 16:45 - 18:15
room D building E
Faculty of Philosophy
"Ogrody" Campus

street: Szamarzewskiego 89

Module aim (aims)

The module aims to explore various forms of embodiment of power and politics in artifacts, objects, infrastructures. The classes will be based on texts from the philosophy of technology, philosophy of power and politics, science technology studies, anthropology, and history. On the one hand, we will analyze how materiality, objects can become political (as presented in Winner Langdon's classic text "Do Artifacts Have Politics?"), and on the other hand, we will analyze how we can establish politics utilizing " politics of materiality.” The subject will be conducted in a "problem-oriented" way, i.e., to matters of concern will set the agenda.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)


    1. Do artifacts have politics, and how to find them?

        1. Langdon Winner, Do Artifacts have politics?

        1. Bernward Joerges, Do politics have artifacts?

        1. Interview with Catherine Liu


    1. What are an object and its agency?

        1. Bruno Latour, On technical mediation – philosophy, sociology genealogy

        1. Bruno Latour, Where are the missing masses? The sociology of a few mundane artifacts

        1. Michel Callon, The Sociology of an ActorNetwork: The Case of the Electric Vehicle


    1. From Objects to ontological politics and ontological design

        1. Annemarie Mol, Ontological politics. A word and some questions

        1. Anne-Marie Willis, Ontological Designing

        1. Michael Lynch, Ontography as the Study of Locally Organized Ontologies


    1. Boundary object and ethnography of infrastructure

        1. Susan Leigh Star, Ethnography of Infrastructure

        1. Susan Leigh Star, James R. Griesemer

        1. Institutional Ecology, `Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39

4b – Case of oil pipe: Andrew Barry & Evelina Gambino, Pipeline Geopolitics: Subaquatic Materials and the Tactical Point Andrew Barry: Material Politics: Disputes along the Pipeline.


4c. – Case of Documents:  Isto Huvila The Politics of Boundary Objects: Hegemonic Interventions and the Making of a Document, Olga Restrepo, Malcolm Ashmore The guerrilla’s ID card: Flatland versus Fatland in Colombia

    1. Objects and things as comrades and part of an identity

        1. Yulia Karpova, Comradely objects, design and material culture in Soviet Russia, the 1960s–80s

        1. Matthias Bode & Dorthe Brogård Kristensen, The digital doppelgänger within. A study on self-tracking and the quantified self movement.

        1. Daniel Miller (ed), Material cultures Why some things matter


    1. Objects and stabilization of politics – Case I: Body of Lenin

        1. Alexei Yurchak, Bodies of Lenin: The Hidden Science of Communist Sovereignty

        1. Alexei Yurchak The canon and the mushroom Lenin, sacredness, and Soviet collapse,

        1. Alexei Yurchak Form versus Matter: Miraculous Relics and Lenin’s Scientific Body

        1. Sergey Kuryokhin, Lenin was a mushroom / С.Курехин: Ленин был грибом Sergey Kuryokhin: Lenin was a mushroom / C.Курехин: Ленин был грибом, part 2 - YouTube


    1. Objects and politics Case II more-than-social-movements

        1. Dimitris Papadopoulos.Ontological organizing chapter 3 of experimental practice technoscience, alterontologies, and more-than-social movements

        1. Dimitris Papadopoulos, Insurgent posthumanism

        1. Christian Nold, Insurrection training for post-human politics

        1. Noortje Marres Why political ontology must be experimentalized, On ecoshowhomes as devices of participation,

            1. Case 1. Eun-Sung Kim, The material culture of Korean social movements

            1. Case 2. Dicky Yangzom, Clothing, and social movements: Tibet and the politics of dress

    1. Terence E. McDonnell, Cultural Objects as Objects: Materiality, Urban Space, and the Interpretation of AIDS Campaigns in Accra, Ghana

    1. Hegemony and Objects

        1. Nick Srnicek, Infrastructure and Hegemony: The Matter of Struggle


    1. Material hegemony in practice - “Conceived child as an ontohegemonic object

        1. Andrzej W. Nowak, The conceived child - Material politics in the Polish’ war on gender’ in Democratic situation, Mattering Press 2021

        1. Andrzej W. Nowak „Dziecko poczęte” jako obiekt ontohegemoniczny. Obiekty, materialność i wizualizacja a procesy ustanawiania hegemonii (in polish)

        1. Michael Lim Tan, Fetal Discourses and the Politics of the Womb


    1. Analysis of contemporary material and ontological struggles – students cases and proposition

Reading list