Intro. to Digital Comm. & Culture
This course will explore how electronic and digital forms of communication emerged from—and subsequently affected—the cultural contexts in which they were developed. In the service of charting this complex network of influence, we’ll explore James Carey’s claim that the study of communication should be just as much involved in the exploration of ritual as transmission. In addition, we’ll focus on how communication technologies are involved in ongoing struggles over power; in order to orient this perspective, the course will be broken up into discrete but cumulative units that isolate an important lens of cultural critique, along with a key theorist(s), and various illustrative objects of study ranging from music video to websites.
1. Build an understanding of how to study communication from a critical cultural perspective through the study of some of the most important theoretical contributions to the field
2. Explore how to conduct and produce their own multimodal digital research.
Online course reader
Sample Assignment Excerpt
Each student will be placed in a group. Your group will be assigned a unit and serve as the interlocutors for that topic. Your goal is to expand and facilitate our intellectual engagement with your topic by producing critical work that both explains the topic theoretically, and illustrates it by applying it to an object of study.
As a group you will determine if you want to create a twenty minute podcast, a five to eight minute YouTube video, or a 1200 word blog in order to accomplish these goals. The structure, style, and content of this production is up to your group; although, you must discuss it with Prof. Higgin in office hours first. The one requirement is that whatever you produce must leverage the media format you have selected, and it must inventively apply a theoretical perspective, gained through your reading, to a revelant object of study of your choosing.
- UNIT 1 COMMUNICATION AS CULTURE, COMMODITY, MYTH
Readings: Excerpt from James Carey Communication as Culture; excerpt from Vincent Mosco The Digital Sublime; excerpt from Dan Schiller How to Think About Information
- UNIT 2 COMMUNITY
Readings: Excerpt from Howard Rheingold The Virtual Community; excerpt from Clay Shirky Here Comes Everybody; excerpt from Tom Standage The Victorian Internet
- UNIT 3 MATERIALITY
Reading: Excerpt from N. Katherine Hayles My Mother Was a Computer
- UNIT 4 POWER
Reading: Gilles Deleuze “Postscript on the Societies of Control”
- UNIT 5 ACCESS
Reading: Excerpt from Adam J. Banks Race, Rhetoric, and Technology
- UNIT 6 GENDER
Reading: Donna Haraway “A Cyborg Manifesto”
- UNIT 7 RACE
Reading: Ben Williams “Black Secret Technology”
- UNIT 8 SEX
Reading: Excerpt from Mary L. Gray Out in the Country
- UNIT 9 CLASS
Reading: Excerpt from Andrew Ross White Collar
- UNIT 10 AVATAR
Reading: Julian Dibbell “A Rape in Cyberspace”
- UNIT 11 RESISTANCE
Readings: Excerpt from Rita Raley Tactical Media; excerpt from Alexander Galloway Gaming