Syllabus, Fall 2021
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: Internets That Weren’t
Aug 30 Lecture: England’s Victorian Internet, France’s Minitel, and the Soviet Internyet
Discussion: How did you use the Internet today?
Sept 4 Optional screening of Dr. Strangelove, dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1964.
Week 2: ARPANET
Sept 6 NO CLASS, Labor Day
Sept 10 Assignment 1: Representation: Before the Internet
Sept 13 Reading: Mailland and Driscoll, 1–72
Lecture: The Culture of and around ARPANET, or How No Technology Is Neutral
Discussion: The culture and services of Minitel
Sept 17 Optional screening of WarGames, dir. John Badham, 1983.
Week 3: Bulletin Board Systems
Sept 20 Reading: Mailland and Driscoll, 73–128
Lecture: Afronet and the Digital Divide
Discussion: Minitel vs. BBSs
Sept 24 Assignment 2: Production: Minitel Services
Week 4: World Wide Web
Sept 27 Reading: Mailland and Driscoll, 129–156
Lecture: Hypermedia and the World Wide Web
Discussion: Minitel vs. WWW, Wikiracing
Oct 1 Optional screening of Ghost in the Shell, dir. Mamoru Oshii, 1995.
Oct 1 Final project topic
Week 5: Navigation
Oct 4 Reading: Borges, “The Library of Babel”; Gleick, “After the Flood” (Blackboard)
Lecture: Browsers, Portals, Search
Discussion: Micropayments vs. Advertising
Oct 8 Assignment 3: Consumption: Lost Sites and Web Design Comparison
Week 6: Hacking
Oct 11 Reading: “NSA Files: Decoded,” Guardian, November 1, 2013
Lecture: Encryption, Cybersecurity, and Threat Actors
Discussion: Multimedia journalism as example for final project
Oct 15 Optional screening of Citizenfour, dir. Laura Poitras, 2014.
Week 7: Social Media
Oct 18 Reading: Lockwood, 1–50
Lecture: Friends, Feeds, and the Hidden Work of Content Moderation
Discussion: Algorithmic feeds
Week 8: Streaming
Oct 25 Reading: Lockwood, 51–114
Lecture: From Jennycam to Zoom
Oct 29 Optional screening of Life in a Day, dir. Kevin Macdonald et al., 2011.
Oct 29 Assignment 4: Regulation: Encryption, Paywalls, and Takedowns
Week 9: Logistics
Nov 1 Reading: Lockwood, 115–208
Lecture: E-commerce and the Question of Free Labor
Nov 5 Final project annotated bibliography
Week 10: Blockchain
Nov 8 Reading: Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”; Iansiti and Lakhani, “The Truth about Blockchain”
Lecture: Peer-to-Peer Networks, from Pirated Music to Blockchain
Discussion: Steal this wallet
Nov 12 Assignment 5: Identity: Archaeology of an NFT
Week 11: Future Directions
Nov 15 Reading: Asimov, “The Last Question”; Dick, “Autofac”
Lecture: Internet for Machines: The Semantic Web and the Internet of Things
Discussion: Images of the connected future, past and present
Nov 19 Screening: Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, dir. Werner Herzog, 2016.
Nov 22 NO CLASS, Thanksgiving break
Week 12: Presentations
Nov 29 Final presentations
Week 13: Presentations
Dec 6 Final presentations
Dec 8 Final webpage due