The central theme of this class will be technological change. How have digital technologies transformed mass media such as cinema, television, photography, and telecommunications? How do new technologies impact artistic production, social life, and individual experience? How have political formations of race, gender, and sexuality shaped technology, and how does technology influence politics?
Lectures and readings will survey the history of several technologies we now consider to be “new media”: computers, video games, the Internet, and digital photography. We will also look backwards, to a time when old media were new: how did historical viewers experience the "new media" of film, television, and the telephone? How did their understanding of technological change and media "newness" compare with ours?
We will also emphasize tangible encounters with historical media objects. Students will view 3-D images from the 19th century and play video games from the 1980s, amongst other encounters. Through class discussion and written exercises, students will use these encounters to explore how technological changes impact individual experience.
Assignments will include:
- Weekly Activities: a creative task, different every week, that is related to the lectures and readings and which involves reflective writing
- Weekly Quizzes: reviews of major concepts from lectures and readings
- Twice Weekly (Very) Short Reading Responses: just a way to check in before class
- A Final Project: a range of options will be available