You are here

Provost Seminar Series Addresses Embodied Agencies at the Interface

March 3, 2003

WALTHAM, Mass. - As part of its emphasis on promoting practical research that addresses current and future issues in the world of business and society more generally, the Provost Seminar Series at Bentley College continues with a lecture by Lucy Suchman entitled "Embodied Agencies at the Interface". An authority on ethnomethodological studies of everyday practice in the design on new technologies, Suchman is among several internationally recognized professionals and researchers invited to Bentley this year to discuss topics of interest to both practitioners and scholars in areas that cross several fields of business practice. The seminar will be held on March 21 in the Adamian Academic Center at Bentley College. The program is free and open to the public.

This talk offers a review of how social and material relations are figured at the human-machine interface. Focusing on recent initiatives in the design of software agents, mobile and wearable devices, and pervasive computing, Dr. Suchman suggests that these new technologies rest on some very old assumptions regarding agency, intelligence and interactivity. A central question is "How do we imagine humans and artifacts, and the relations between them?" As an alternative to the prevailing view, she sketches some new resources for imagining human-machine connections less in terms of an encounter between otherwise separate entities, than as the action among people and objects that are equally dynamic and culturally inflected.

Lucy Suchman, after spending twenty years as a researcher at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), is now a member of the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, UK, one of that country's leading business and management research universities. Her work has focused on ethnomethodological studies of everyday practice in the design on new technologies. At Xerox PARC, she held the position of Principal Scientist and manager of the Work Practice and Technology area, an interdisciplinary research group that she founded in 1989. In 1988, she received the Xerox Corporate Research Group's Excellence in Science and Technology Award. She was a founding member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and served on its Board of Directors from 1982-1990. She is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow with the Work, Interaction and Technology Research Group at King's College, London and a Collaborating Editor for the journal Social Studies of Science.

The seminar will be held on Friday, March 21, 2003 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Adamian Academic Center, Graduate Commons, followed by a reception. The event is free but pre-registration is requested. Please RSVP for the seminar and reception by March 18 to Cathy Mertz, Office of the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs at (phone) 781-891-2014 or email:

For directions to Bentley College, call 781-891-2100 or online at:


BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

Type: Latest Headlines