I have to admit that Keith Peterson’s talk regarding Bruno Latour’s notion that being ‘revolutionary’ is a myth of modernity threw me for a bit of a loop. I found his conclusions to be somewhat thought provoking, and the way that he explains Latour’s philosophies were a good challenge for me to wrap my head around, given that I have very little philosophical education besides my W1 course freshman year. Perhaps it is simply the history major side of me that demands more evidence to back up claims, but overall I found Latour’s arguments to be overly authoritative and opinionated, with little evidence to back them up. Peterson’s use of visual aids to help explain the philosophical schools of thought at play in the sphere of Latour’s subject matter were interesting, but ultimately left me a bit bewildered, with not enough time to grasp the full implications of Latour’s point of view, given that the lectures in this course are just around one hour long. Ultimately, while I think Peterson did a good job explaining Latour’s philosophies, I know I am not alone in saying that the subject matter was a bit too esoteric to fully grasp in the span of one hour with no background context beforehand.
I suppose, given the subject of this particular lecture, now would be an appropriate time to reflect on this course. Since there was no course evaluation that I could voice my opinions on, I think a good question to ask would be “Is ST 132 revolutionary?” Overall, my personal opinion would be to answer with “No”. As a student, this course in my opinion did not add anything revolutionary to my educational experience at Colby. For only one credit hour, a once-a-week lecture with a requirement of 10 500-word reflections, for a total of 5,000 words, is far too much work for a class that only gives a single credit hour. I had to take this course concurrently with ST 215 in order to take ST 215, but I did not find that this lecture series significantly aided my understanding of ST 215. If only attendance was required, I would have adopted a much more sympathetic attitude towards this lecture series, but I often found myself dreading the reflection submissions, and the scheduling of the lectures often awkwardly interrupted the studying schedules of both myself and my friends who took the class, especially during midterms and the last few weeks of classes. Additionally, I got the sense that Colby wanted us to take this course because it looks good on their promotional material. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there was a photographer present in every lecture in addition to the televisions in Miller street showing off the course in a spot where pretty much every tour group passes by. Ultimately, while I appreciated the lecturers on an individual basis, I think that the course in general sacrificed too much student time in order to allow the administration to point at this course and claim “Hey look, aren’t we such revolutionaries?”