114 | CCN: 23092

Rhetoric of New Media

Thinking and Technology in the Digital Era

Instructor: David Bates,

4 Units

The digital revolution has changed the way we interact with the world, with other people, and with our culture. This course will investigate the ways in which technological change has affected the study of human beings. Our goal will be to look critically at how technological media (and the various forms of mediation they involve) condition the kinds of questions we ask as humanistic scholars. However, we will also study how technology alters the very way human beings think. If the digital humanities has so far emphasized the new tools and methods afforded by technology today, what we might call digital studies will address the broader social, political, and cognitive dimensions of new technology.

Each 3 hour class will consist of three different kinds of activity. First, we will have some kind of demonstration/lecture that will emphasize interaction. THen we will discuss some critical or historical readings together. Finally, we will have a workshop in which students will actively work on problems or tasks, and share results with the class.

Topics will include: the history and theory of modern computing; coding and programming languages; digital cultures (including, eg., video gaming, digital literature, photography); textual analysis -- from print culture to the study of large databases; big data, machine learning, and algorithmic culture; war and technology; the digital mind.

Assignments: 1) some short critical writing assignments on the readings; 2) some technical exercises on coding, programming, game design, etc.; 3) final project (research paper or creative project) which will be presented to the class.