Internet Culture in the Information Society
This course surveys major issues of digital culture, such as race in cyberspace, cyborg feminism, pornography, gaming, censorship, civil liberties, indymedia, the digital divide, privatization, the "digital public sphere" from YouTube to indymedia, the impact of globalization on the knowledge class, social neworking, and the emergence of various forms of counterpower, from the Zapatista revolution to flash mobs. Participants will play and design social impact electronic games, interact in the Second Life virtual community, and learn some of the major uses, features, and forms of writing for electronic media.
This course meets weekly in the journalism
laboratory (A&S 128). It fulfills the
university core technology requirement, the core "third writing" requirement, and the rhetoric and writing
requirement for English majors. You will not have to purchase any books for this class. We'll use a variety of web-authoring
tools, principally the widely-used html editor in Macromedia's
Dreamweaver Studio 8. You may wish to purchase Dreamweaver, though it is available for free use in several on-campus labs. It may be necessary to share the expenses of some additional software for group projects. You will need a flash “thumb,” “stick,” or “keychain”
drive to store your work in progress.
Week 1 Introduction: Hypertext, Participatory Culture, and Sociable Media
Discussion. What is the
internet made of? Who “composes” the artifacts that are internet
“places” and internet “culture”? How is the composition of internet
culture different from the composition of television, radio, or
mass-market book culture? Is “publishing” your music, poetry,
memoirs, or political views on the internet different from other
kinds of publicity? What do we mean by an internet “public”?
In what ways do we people “read” or “view” internet culture
differently from other forms of reading and viewing?
What is an information society? Is it a place where
information technology creates a vast new “digital public sphere”?
If so, who’s left out and whose voice matters? What difference does the electronic mediation of everyday activities make in such areas as communication, leisure, political
organizing,and the generation and distribution of academic and
professional knowledge? What is the the relationship between "knowledge workers" and
other kinds of workers? How do we live out in our own lives the tension between intellectual
property claims and the hopes for a "knowledge commons"? What are the consequences of an internet-mediated community and sociability, including the
proliferation of subcultures and countercultures?
Dreamweaver by Teri Escobar. Goal: creation of a personal home
page, at least one activities or interests page, and a school
projects page, linked together.
Key thought: “self” presentation: the self as a
member of groups; participation, community, and activities as guides
for personal website design.
Homework: Print, read, and annotate 3 articles:
1. pages 1-11 of Henry Jenkins et al, "Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture."
2. danah boyd, "Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenaged Social Life"
3. danah boyd,"None of This Is Real: Identity and Participation in Friendster."
a draft of your Personal Hypertext Project. If you feel comfortable web-authoring, you can publish it to your account. If not, please prepare a mock-up of the site on sheets of paper, featuring the actual images, text, and links that you are planning to publish.
This can be anything you wish, so long as it expresses an aspect of your "networked self." This can be a service project for an organization with which you're involved, or a fan site for an author, band, film, game, or sports team that you admire. It can be creative writing, an autobiographical photo-essay, diary, or travelogue, family genealogy project, or a tribute to a relative who has passed away. It can be an annotated edition of a favorite text, such as a poem, song lyric, or photograph. It can be a mash-up of media texts of any kind. It can be "mystoriography" (a la Greg Ulmer; see below). Criteria: Must include at least 700 words of your own writing, spread out over 6 web pages hyperlinked together. Borrowed noncopyrighted texts, including, images, must be credited with a link back to the source page. Include as one page a description of/links to sites that influenced your own design decisions.
tutorial and help pages at SCU
good compilation of design help sites (from UC
Technology Training in Nobili Hall has lab assistance every Sunday through Thursday evening from 7-10 pm and Wednesday mornings 9:15 am-11:15 am. Contact Teri Escobar for news (email@example.com).
Other useful links for your Personal Hypertext Project
Resource Center for
http://www.elements.fiebich.biz/ (click on examples)
Hypertext poetics and web design
The Web Style Guide
Academic use of the web
The Lost Museum
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Alan Liu's Voice of the Shuttle
George Landow's Hypertext Theory pages
Lev Manovich, Models of Authorship in New Media
Ziming Liu, Reading
Behavior in the Digital Environment
Week 2 Sociable Media and Identity in Cyberspace
1. Dreamweaver tutorial: publish your personal hypertext projects.
2. Discussion of reading; join Counterpower class weblog
3. Discussion of the uses of Youtube (great compilation courtesy of Liz Losh); also see hotforwords, the Davos question, and Michael Wesch's A Vision of Students Today.
Create accounts in Second Life; build avatar
1. Revise your personal hypertext projects.
2. Watch the Daily Show report on Second Life. Finish the SL introductory tour & create your avatar (takes about 1 hour)
Print, read, and annotate:
Julian Dibbell, A Rape in Cyberspace
Howard Rheingold, Multi-user Dungeons and Alternate Identities
And visit the Reuters newswire in Second Life. Read for two hours, keeping a diary of at least six interesting stories. Post your reading diary, together with your annotations of Dibbell and Rheingold to the class weblog, Counterpower
Gambling in SL
LA Times article on SL "Terrorism"
"Nukes" in SL
More "Terrorism" in SL
Second Life "Griefzilla" Machinima
"Homeless" Avatar Raises Funds
Week 3 Second Life, the Turing Game, Machinima
1. Guided Tour of Second Life (Gloria Hofer and Mike Ballen)
2. Introduction to Machinima (Gloria Hofer and Julianne Seubert)
3. Discussion of Dibbell and Rheingold (Julianne Seubert)
What is Machinima?
Trash Talk in SL
Video Games Go To the Movies
First Film About French Riots Comes Courtesy of a Video Game
Machinima With Issues
1. Print, read and annotate Henry Jenkins, Nine Propositions Toward A Cultural Theory of Youtube.
2. With a classmate, arrange to explore Second Life. Feel free to create avatars dissonant with your own identity (or your identity as perceived by others) and record the reactions of others. Publish a 1500-word narrative of your experiences to the class weblog. Feel free to include screen shots of your experiences.
*Alternative: if you'd rather, you may build a hypertext essay on topics suitable for inclusion in the Equality Monitor or "Living the Low-Wage Life." Other topics okay with my advance permission. You are not required to explore Second Life, but if you choose not to do so, you must have an approved alternate credit activity.
3. View Machinima films and read Machinima how-to material below. Surf Youtube, Myspace, Machinima.com, etc for machinima that interest you
4. Write a one-page proposal for a machinima film of three to four minutes in length. Be sure to specify the genre and identify the necessary characters, locations, and props.
Alex Chan, The French Democracy
SusiSpicoli, We Choose Death
Secret Studios, Secret Lives
David Riedel, "Addiction"
Documentary: Political Activism in SL
Performing a Play in Second Life
Drama: My Second Life (episode 1)
Drama: The Fixer (episode 1)
redvsblue#1 why are we here?
redvsblue #84 strong male figure
SL News Program
Promotional video (Text 100 in SL)
Advertising Trailer (for novel) He Still Watches
Music Video: Tra5hTa1k #7 Code Monkey
Music video: One Step Closer (Sims 2)
Mighty Crane Films: Ballad of Black Mesa and AntiCitizens
Science Fiction 50s genre pic
Second Life Sampler
Free scriptwriting tool (Celtx)
Second Life Machinima Resources
SL versus other Platforms
Places to find Machinima:
Youtube and MySpace(tag: machinima, game videos)
Week 4 Machinima Production Groups; Presentations
1. Present hypertext diaries & personal hypertext projects; peer response and revision plans.
Play Turing Game. Discuss Dibbell, Rheingold, and adventures in SL.
Discuss machinima viewing and present film proposals.
4. Discuss alternate alternative to machinima: video blogging (usually individuals).
5. Organize in groups of three to actually produce these films. (Each group of three will have a partner group to help in each other's acting/voiceover, etc.)
6. Film group workshops/ individual conferences with potential video bloggers.
1. Film groups preproduction: generate the script, sets, props, and avatar-characters for your film.
2. Read short takes on fan and slash fiction at the MIT Communications Forum, in wired, glbtq.com and The Guardian, including the entries on fan fiction and associated legal issues in Wikipedia. Browse the Fan Fiction index and keep a diary of stories you choose to read: view at least 5 items and choose 2 that you think are especially noteworthy. On Counterpower either a) post a piece of fan fiction/fan teleplay of your own or b) post a description of a piece of fan fiction you could write, with a 300 word discussion of why you think other people will find the stories you liked noteworthy.
3. Read the one-page manifesto by John Perry Barlow, Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, and the (very short) chapter 1 Creators and chapter 4 Pirates in Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture. DISCUSS the issues raised in these texts on Counterpower.
Week 5 Authorship in New Media: Piracy and the Common Good
1. Reports on film preproduction. Tour of sets & props, dramatic reading of scripts, etc. (Gloria Hofer and/or Mike Ballen)
2. Film group workshop(Gloria Hofer and/or Mike Ballen)
Discussion: ethics of roleplay and research in online communities. (Gloria Hofer and Julianne Seubert)
4. Discuss fan, slash, piracy, intellectual property/democratic culture. (Julianne Seubert)
1. Produce film and edit rough cut (without sound).
2. Read the articles and skim the blogs from the list below. As you read, take notes and compile a list of links to interesting blogs and blog entries, posting them to Counterpower as you read. You should write three (3) original entries and make three (3) replies. Your writing should total about 1000 words, over the course of the week. You must post on at least three (3) different days: do NOT do all your posting on one day. Some questions to get you started: In what sense do these blogs and their readerships seem like a “community” to you? Are they “real” communities? Can anyone join?
Send at least one post that finishes these sentences: “If I were to maintain a weblog, I’d like to make it like __________” and “The blog I just couldn’t stop reading was ____________” and “The blog I really think other people should read is _________”.
3. Using some of the blog search engines or major blog hosts (technorati, blogger, blogspot, bloglist, weblogreview etc) search for blogs related to your own interests (women’s soccer, cars, dancing, social justice, eg). Report briefly on these, using the Counterpower weblog.
Rebecca Blood, weblogs: a history and perspective
Simon Garfield, New kids on the blog
Jane Perrone, Random Reality Bites
Tony Pierce, How To Blog
Mena Trott, Blogs, Bandwidth and Banjos: Tightly knit bonds in weblogging.
slightly more advanced articles:
Anita Blanchard, Blogs as Virtual Communities
Carolyn Wei, Formation of Norms in a Blog Community
Susan C. Herring et al, Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs
greek tragedy found at: http://stephanieklein.blogs.com/
my boyfriend is a -- found at: http://www.myboyfriendisatwat.com/
dooce found at: http://www.dooce.com/
piehole found at:http://liscious.net/piehole/index.php
bellow at http://kathrynjane.blogspot.com/
anonymous workplace weblogs:
“borderline teacher” at http://purplepiranha.blogspot.com/
ambulance girl at: http://ambulancegirl17-151.blogspot.com/
unique weblogs and blogs that become books:http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/
post secret at http://postsecret.blogspot.com/
Julia/Julie Project at:
photo blogs: http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/
Week 6 Citizen Media 1: Weblogs and Wiki
1. Show film rough cuts.
2. Discuss blogging and indymedia material.
3. In class workshop: collaborative writing on the topic of citizen media via wiki
1. Add sound tracks to machinima; produce final edit.
2. Read articles on Flash mobs, Korean netizens and James F. Moore's The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head. Visit the directory for Indymedia US, as well as sites covering the Zapatistas and the Durban Shack Dwellers' Movement the RTmark project list, the YesMen, Adbusters and the smartmeme website. Select one story from each and contribute on each to the class wiki.
Week 7 Citizen Media 2: Forms of Counterpower
Show final films; discussion of reading; brainstorming of final project ideas.
For brainstorming of final project: Survey annotated bibliographies/reviews of literature. Discuss examples of academic hypertext.
Examples in my classes at scu:
convict labor child labor*migrant farm workers
ministry to ex-convicts living wage at scu sweatshops in the bay area
strippers as low-wage workers sexism in science disparity at scu
garment workers *nail technician *morticians
Other resources for academic hypertext:
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies, The Lost Museum, Alan Liu's Voice of the Shuttle, and George Landow's Hypertext Theory pages.
reading behavior (Liu) navigation (dang ) document design (The Web Style Guide )discussion of various views on "good writing" and hypertext:
Owen Strain's How to Make A Final Project Randy Brooks' Old-Fashioned Writing on the Computer: Resisting the Modular Nature of Writing in the Info-Age James Griffith, Introduction to Hypertext Papers and Web Authoring
Homework: Please read the introduction to the "educational gaming" issue of INNOVATE as well as the short essay Game-Informed Learning, Daniel Terdiman's Games That Stick it to The Man and Ian Bogost's "Persuasive Games: Designing For Tragedy." Next, visit the Persuasive Games and Molleindustria and the Social Impact Games sites. Play four games of four different types for at least four hours total. Post a diary of your game playing and a review of the four games to the class weblog. The diary and review should be two double-spaced pages long (min. 700 words). Additionally, prepare a detailed proposal of at least 500 words for a social impact or persuasive game of your own. Before class, spend an additional hour visiting some of the games recommended by others.
Week 8 Social Impact Gaming
Discussion of gaming, reading, and ideas for games. Final project topics due.
Week 9 Final Project Workshop
Annotated bibliography, survey of literature, splash page for final project due.
Homework: 1. print and read Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto 2. Create your academic hypertext.
Week 10 Networks and Globalization from Below?
Discussion of Haraway, networks, and globalization from below. Academic hypertext component of final projects due. Completed final project due 1 week later.