Syllabus, Fall 2020

Syllabus, Fall 2020

Details about weekly topics and readings can be found in the dropdown links or the menu to the right. Below is an overview of the schedule.


Week 1: Course Introduction
Aug 31 The Internets That Weren’t: England’s Victorian Internet, France’s Minitel, and the Soviet Internyet
Sept 4 Optional screening of Dr. Strangelove, dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1964.

Week 2: 1961–1983
Sept 7 NO CLASS, Labor Day
Sept 11 Assignment 1: Representation: What the Internet Means Today
Sept 14 The Culture of and around ARPANET, or How No Technology Is Neutral
Sept 18 Optional screening of WarGames, dir. John Badham, 1983.

Week 3: 1973–1990
Sept 21 Services: Afronet and the Digital Divide
Sept 25 Assignment 2: Identity: Bulletin Board Systems

Week 4: 1989–1994
Sept 28 Hypermedia: The World Wide Web
Oct 2 Optional screening of Ghost in the Shell, dir. Mamoru Oshii, 1995.
Oct 2 Final project topic

Week 5: 1992–2000
Oct 5 Navigation: Browsers, Portals, Search
Oct 9 Assignment 3: Consumption: Lost Sites and Web Design Comparison

Week 6: 1994–2005
Oct 12 Logistics: E-commerce and the Question of Free Labor
Oct 16 Optional screening of Life in a Day, dir. Kevin Macdonald, Loressa Clisby, 2011.

Week 7: 1995–2001
Oct 19 Bubbles: News Silos and the Dot-com Crash
Oct 23 Optional screening of The Internet’s Own Boy, dir. Brian Knappenberger, 2014.

Week 8: 1999–2016
Oct 26 Sharing: Music, Peer-to-Peer Networks, and Piracy
Oct 30 Assignment 4: Regulation: Paywalls, Takedowns, and Invitation-Only Communities

Week 9: 2002–2016
Nov 2 Social Media: Friends, Feeds, and the Hidden Work of Content Moderation
Nov 6 Final project annotated bibliography

Week 10: 1994–Present
Nov 9 Streaming: From Jennycam to Zoom
Nov 13 Assignment 5: Production: Archaeology of a Meme

Week 11: The Future
Nov 16 The Semantic Web and Internet of Things
Nov 20 Optional screening of Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, dir. Werner Herzog, 2016.
Nov 23 NO CLASS, Thanksgiving break

Week 12: Presentations
Nov 30 Final presentations

Week 13: Presentations
Dec 7 Final presentations
Dec 9 Final webpage due