Art, Craft, Science

An elderly brown-skinned woman with gray hair and wearing glasses works on a quilt.

One of the women of Gee's Bend works on a quilt during the 2005 ONB Magic City Art Connection in Birmingham, AL. (Image courtesy of André Natta on flickr. License CC BY.)


MIT Course Number

21A.501J / STS.074J

As Taught In

Spring 2013



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course examines how people learn, practice, and evaluate traditional and contemporary craft techniques. Social science theories of design, embodiment, apprenticeship learning, skill, labor, expertise, and tacit knowledge are used to explore distinctions and connections among art, craft, and science. We will also discuss the commoditization of craft into market goods, collectible art, and tourism industries. Ethnographic and historical case studies include textiles, glassblowing, quilting, cheese making, industrial design, home cooking, factory and laboratory work, CAD-CAM. In-class demonstrations and hands-on craft projects will be included.

Related Content

Heather Paxson. 21A.501J Art, Craft, Science. Spring 2013. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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