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Date: Thu, 7 May 1992 19:31:52 CDT
Reply-To: 'TECHNOCULTURE' discussion list
Sender: 'TECHNOCULTURE' discussion list
From: Wes Chapman
Subject: Re: situated knowledges
To: Multiple recipients of list TNC
In-Reply-To: Message of Thu, 7 May 1992 19:49:31 -0400 from

Jeff, I think I can clear up some of what you're puzzling over, although I can't promise that you'll be any happier about us lit-critters meddling in your domain. If I understand the way people have been using the term "topology," you've got the etymology wrong--the word as it's kicking around in this forum doesn't come from mathematics, but from mapmaking. A topology is a topographical study of a place over the course of a span of time, with "topographical" being defined as a detailed description of the physical feature s of a place (rivers, mountains, etc.). As such the term is useful in relation to hypertext, because a hypertext is spread out over a geometric rather than a linear space (I use these words purely as useful metaphors, not as marks of rigor or precision!), and the space can shift over time if you write it that way. I think that this is the way Barthes is using the term too, although his writing is so dense that it's hard to be sure. Richard/Derrida I won't vouch for, since I don't have the text in front of me and only half followed the argument when I read it long ago.

As for Euclidean spaces and rationality--I think I know what that means too, although again I won't gaurantee that you will like it. Manhole is a representation of a space which is physically impossible. For instance, you travel in what appears to be a downward direction in order to get from land to a sunken ship. If you go inside the ship, you can get to a door which takes you to a different space (can't remember where, exactly); from here, to get to the land you started from, you need to move *down* a beanstalk--i.e. moving dow nward has gotten you to a higher place (is this right, NAK@cornella, and are you who I think you are?). Such a space cannot be described by Euclidean geometry, at least as I learned it; and it isn't "rational," that is, it defies our intuitive sense of the way space is laid out. I don't think there's any imputations here about mathematics at all, just some borrowed terms used as metaphors.


Wes Chapman

Achter's response