critical approaches to digital media

Winter Quarter 2012

“Critical Approaches to Digital Media” introduces graduate students to digital media theory through a variety of disciplinary lenses and emerging conceptual practices. The class emphasizes readings in media theory & studies, philosophy of technology, media archeology and history, and science fiction studies as approaches to digital media.

Winter 2012
Professor: Trace Reddell, PhD
Graduate Teaching Instructor: Justin Eckstein, ABD
TR 3-4:50pm | Sturm Hall 434
Office Hours:  Tuesday 1-3pm and by appt.
Office: Sturm 216B
Contact: treddell@du.edu

Download Syllabus (.pdf)

Required Reading:

Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936)
Erik Davis, TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (1999 / Five Star 2005)
Frances Dyson, Sounding New Media: Immersion & Embodiment in the Arts and Culture (California 2009)
E. M. Forster, “The Machine Stops” (1909)
Federica Frabetti (ed.), “The Digital Humanities: Beyond Computing” ( Culture Machine , Vol. 12, 2011)
Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (MIT 2008)
Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture (NYU 2008)
Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (Stanford 1999)
Jaron Lanier, You Are Not A Gadget (Vintage 2011)
Steven Shaviro, Connected: or, What It Means to Live in the Network Society (Minnesota 2003)
Hiroshi Yamamoto, The Stories of Ibis (Haika Soru 2010)

Two preparatory books are worth checking out:

Noah Wardrip-Fruin & Nick Montfort (eds.), The New Media Reader (MIT 2003)
(excellent interdisciplinary survey of foundational texts and deep background)

K.W. Jeter, Noir (Spectra 1999)
(dark sci-fi novel that forms the basis of Shaviro's treatment of network society)

 

COURSE SCHEDULE

THE PAST: MEDIA ARCHEOLOGY & HISTORY

1.1 (Jan 03) Introduction + Film excerpts

L'arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (dirs. Auguste & Louis Lumièr, 1896)
A Trip To The Moon / Le Voyage dans la lune (dir. Georges Méliès, 1902)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (dir. Robert Wiene, 1920)
The Man With The Movie Camera (dir. Dziga Vertov, 1927)
Triumph of the Will / Triumph des Willens (dir. Leni Riefenstahl, 1935)

1.2 (Jan 05) Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"

2.1 (Jan 10) Kittler, “Gramophone”
2.2 (Jan 12) Kittler, “Film”

3.1 (Jan 17) Davis, Introduction - Chapter 5: 1-163 (1 leader + 2 respondents)
3.2 (Jan 19) Davis, Chapters 6 - 11: 164-335

THE PRESENT(S)

4.1 (Jan 24) Dyson, Chapter 6: 136-57
4.2 (Jan 26) Dyson, Chapter 5: 107-135 (1 leader + 2 respondents)

5.1 (Jan 31) Dyson, Chapter 7: 158-181 (1 leader + 2 respondents)
5.2 (Feb 02) Jenkins, Introduction - Chapter 3: 1-134 (1 leader + 2 respondents)

6.1 (Feb 07) Jenkins, Chapter 4 - Afterword: 135-294
6.2 (Feb 09) Lanier, Chapters 1 - 8: 1-116 (1 leader + 2 respondents)

7.1 (Feb 14) Lanier, Chapters 9 - 14: 117-192
7.2 (Feb 16) Debate (Jenkins vs. Lanier via Mike Wesch video)

THE FUTURE: EXTRAPOLATION & SPECULATION

8.1 (Feb 21) Shaviro, “Only Connect” - “Wetware”: 3-128 (1 leader + 2 respondents)
8.2 (Feb 23) Shaviro, "The Culture of Real Virtuality" - "Connected": 128-250 (1 leader + 2 respondents)

9.1 (Feb 28) Yamamoto, Prologue - Story 5: 9-189 (1 leader + 2 respondents)
9.2 (Mar 01) Yamamoto, Intermission 6 - Epilogue: 190-423 (1 leader + 2 respondents)

10.1 (Mar 06) Forster, “The Machine Stops” (1 leader + 2 respondents)
10.2 (Mar 08) Kittler, “Typewriter” + Gitelman, “Introduction: Media As Historical Subjects”

Final (Mar 13): Final essays due, via email, by 5pm