Syllabus

Course Schedule

Unit 1: Mediated Histories

Week 2: Course Introduction & Historical Mediations
8/24
Readings
Michel Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge, 21-49
Walter Benjamin, “On the Concept of History”
Harold Innis, Introduction to Empire and Communications

Week 3: Epistemologies of Speech and Writing
8/31
Readings
Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy, chs. 1-3
Jacques Derrida, “Declarations of Independence”
Lisa Gitelman, “Paper Knowledge” and “A Short History of ____” in Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents

Week 4: Labor Day-No Class
9/7

Week 5: Print and Public Cultures
9/14
Readings
Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, sections I & II
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, chs. 2-3
Michael Warner, “Public and Private” in Publics and Counterpublics

Unit 2: Inscription and Projection

Week 6: Aural Mechanisms
9/21
Readings
Michel Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge, 126-131, 135-140, 166-177
Friedrich Kittler, “Gramophone” in Gramophone, Film, Typewriter
James Lastra, “Inscriptions and Simulations: The Imagination of Technology” in Sound Technology and the American Cinema: Perception, Representation, Modernity
Lisa Gitelman, “New Media Publics” in Always Already New

Week 7: Optical Vectors and Technological Extensions
9/28
Readings
Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message” in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology”
Friedrich Kittler, “Introduction” in Gramophone, Film, Typewriter
Jonathan Crary, “Techniques of the Observer” in Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century

Week 8: Writing with Light: Photography & Film
10/5
Readings
Charles Musser, “Toward a History of Screen Practice”
Hollis Frampton, “Eadweard Muybridge: Fragments of a Tesseract”
Jimena Canales, “Introduction” and “Captured by Cinematography” in A Tenth of a Second: A History
Walter Benjamin, “Work of Art in the Age of Technological Reproducibility, 2nd Version”
Screening
Steamboat Willie (Disney, 1928)
Plane Crazy (Disney, 1928)
Skeleton Dance (Disney, 1929)
Playful Pluto (Disney, 1934)

Paper One Due 10/6

Unit 3: Electronic Pulses

Week 9: Network Aesthetics and the Electronic Wave
10/12
Readings
Marshall McLuhan, “Telegraph: The Social Hormone” in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
Christopher Keep, “Touching at a Distance: Telegraphy, Gender, and Henry James’s In the Cage” in Media, Technology, and Literature in the Nineteenth Century: Image, Sound, Touch
Tom Gunning, “Heard Over the Phone: The Lonely Villa and the de Lorde Tradition of the Terrors of Technology”
Recommended: Henry James, In the Cage

Week 10: Imagining TV and Broadcasting
10/19
Readings
William Uricchio, “Television’s First Seventy-Five Years: The Interpretive Flexibility of a Medium in Transition”
Doron Galili, “The Nineteenth-Century Origins of the Transmitted and the Cinematic Moving Image” in “Seeing by Electricity: The Emergence of Television and the Modern Mediascape, 1878-1939”
Daneil Czitrom, “The Ethereal Hearth: American Radio from Wireless through Broadcasting, 1892-1940” in Media and the American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan
Lynn Spigel, “Domestic Ideals and Family Amusements: From the Victorians to the Broadcast Age” in Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America

Week 11: Software and Decoding Digital Objects
10/26
Readings
Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think”
Lev Manovich, “What is New Media?” in The Language of New Media
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, “Introduction,” “On Sourcery and Source Codes,” in Programmed Visions: Software and Memory
Jonathan Sterne, “The MP3 as Cultural Artifact” & “The Making of a Standard” in MP3: The Meaning of a Format
Friedrich Kittler, “There is No Software”

Week 12: Platforms and the Materiality of Digital Media
11/2
Readings
Ivan Sutherland, “Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System”
Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, “Introduction: ‘Awareness of the Mechanism,’” “‘Every Contact Leaves a Trace’: Storage, Inscription, and Computer Forensics” in Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost, “Stella” in Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System
Zabet Patterson, “Introduction” and “What Was a Microfilm Plotter?” in Peripheral Vision: Bell Labs, the S-C 4020, and the Origins of Computer Art

Unit 4: Material Forces

Week 13: Technological Actors and Media Ecologies
11/9
Readings
Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, chapters 1-2
John Law, “Actor Network Theory and Material Semiotics” in The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory
Bill Brown, “Thing Theory”
Jane Bennett, “The Force of Things,” in Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things
John Durham Peters, “Understanding Media” in Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media

Week 14: Digital Networks Reconsidered
11/16
Readings
Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control”
Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker, “Nodes” in The Exploit
Danah Boyd, “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship” and “White Flight in Networked Publics? How Race and Class Shaped American Teen Engagement with MySpace and Facebook”

Week 15: Moving into the Archive, Thinking Archaeologically
11/23
Readings
Wolfgang Ernst, Digital Memory and the Archive, parts I & II
Jussi Parikka, “Introduction: The Materiality of Media and Waste”
Jonathan Sterne, “Out with the Trash: On the Future of New Media” in Residual Media

Week 16: Student Presentations
11/30

Final Paper Due 12/10

 

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