Syllabus, Fall 2021

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.


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