A goal of Inclusive Engineering Design (ENGR 053) is to intentionally engage in critical analysis of technology and its production directly alongside developing technologies and imagining shared futures (“half seminar, half design studio”). While there has been an increase in courses specifically aimed at technologists who want to engage with critiques of technology and related disciplines, these courses are mostly offered outside of formal design environments. I think it’s important to put these two together, because it is exactly their separation that contributes to pervasive views of technology as neutral, and history and critique as being outside the scope of engineering design. The de-politicization of engineering education was an intentional construction to situate any critical study as “over there” rather than “right here.”
Re-orienting engineering education toward engaging critically with what we build necessitates true integration of that critique into design workflows (“contextualize, critique, rebuild”*). We must learn from the past, engage meaningfully with its limitations, and work together to rebuild.
*Phrasing inspired by this post