Example: Annotation of “The Innovation Campus” by Alexandra Lange

First, something must be said for the title, I think. It doesn’t suggest objectivity, that’s for sure. 

NYT article by Alexandra Lange (Aug 2016)

NYT article by Alexandra Lange (Aug 2016)

“Building Better Ideas”? This article reads more like propaganda than journalism. It’s easy to get caught up in the “sexiness” of new technologies and the youthful cultures that tend to accompany them, and this author seems to indulge. There’s so much missing in this article. A bias towards celebrating tech corporate cultures (under the assumption that the design cultures they promote are foundational to their successes) does nothing to help inform the public as to whether or not such cultures are good for us, are good for learning, are good for colleges (particularly liberal arts colleges).

“Where once the campus amenities arms race was waged over luxury dorms and recreation facilities, now colleges and universities are building deluxe structures for the generation of wonderful ideas” (par. 1). Notice the war metaphor. Particularly masculine, capitalistic. Sets the tone for the rest of the article; there’s no intention by the author to question the values system promoted by the corporate/tech design aesthetic. An aesthetic created by and promoted by a famously misogynistic and racist network. (See popular and scholarly discussions.)

In conversation with Mohammed and Charlie yesterday in class, I get the impression that there is a clear divide between those who kind of automatically feel excited by the design style of STEM and technology job-like atmospheres and those who feel skeptical, always. Do we associate success with a particular design style (Google-style, tech-start-up-style)? And if you’re a woman, are you a lot less likely to feel an automatic appreciate for that style of design?