Assignments

Assignment 1 

Due: Day 2, 1/16

  1. Blog: Navigate wordpress to become a blog author.
  2. Syllabus Co-creation: 
    1. Read over possible class topics (here)
    2. Mark on a piece of paper 10 topics (by number) that you’d be most interested to investigate brought to class.
    3. Note any other topic not included in the list that you’re especially interested in in discussing as a class.

Assignment 2

Due: Day 3, 1/21

Reading notes: Key to the practice of writing is the development of techniques for close reading.

Students are expected to read Langdon Winner’s essay “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” using a consistent practice of 1) highlighting or underlining, 2) circled words and margin notes, and 3) reading notes on another paper/document.


Assignment 3 

Due: Day 5, Wednesday 1/28

Blog post: Write a blog post on a technology or artifact and its political dimensions. This can be an artifact of the past or present. It can also be a possible technology of the future. It can be the analysis of a technology or artifact in a particular representation rather than the technology itself (e.g. the airship as it’s represented in Forster rather than actual airplanes).

  1. Select an artifact or technology to analyze.
  2. Describe the technology
  3. Explain what you take to be its political dimensions (or one significant aspect of them)
    1. Some questions to consider: What “form of life” does this artifact make possible or require? In what ways does it imply a particular political arraignment—an arraignment that is democratic, authoritarian, or otherwise? What scale of social arraignment does it imply? In what ways might it disrupt or reinforce existing social institutions such as the family, ethnic/religious community, the state, or international governance? How might it create new kinds of social affinity or authority?
  4. Bring in at least one outside source. (Make sure to cite your sources properly in a footnote)
  5. Adding an image is nice but not required. (Make sure to cite its source in a footnote)
  6. Blog posts should be 500 to 1000 words.
  7. Please label your post with the category “Artifact Politics”
  8. Please tag your post with any appropriate terms (e.g. cars, Lithuania, dystopia, etc.)

Satisfying the above requirements will result in full credit for the assignment


Assignment 4

Due: Day 5, Friday 1/30

Comments: Read and make thoughtful comments on other people’s blog posts. Be prepared to talk about them in class.

  1. Make comments of a few sentences or more on at least 4 other people’s blog posts.

Assignment 5

Due: Day 8, Friday 2/6

Blog post: Choose some of the key concepts we’ve talked about in the last few classes and do an analysis of your own. You could look at an archive and consider it in light of Ann Cvetkovich’s idea of the “archive of feelings,” you could consider a single text according to N. Katherine Hayles’ ideas in Writing Machines, or you could take what’s useful from Marshall McLuhan’s book, The Medium is the Massage to talk about a set of texts or media. You may build on things you’ve written on in your previous post.

As in the previous blog post:

  1. Bring in at least one outside source. (Make sure to cite your sources properly in a footnote)
  2. Adding an image is nice but not required. (Make sure to cite its source in a footnote)
  3. Blog posts should be 500 to 1000 words.
  4. Please tag your post with any appropriate terms (e.g. cars, Lithuania, dystopia, etc.) including “Archive of Feelings,” “Media Specific Analysis,” and/or  “Media Messages” depending on whose theories you use in your analysis.

 

Assignment 6

Due: Day 11, Wednesday 2/18

Blog post: Choose some of the key concepts we’ve talked about in the last few classes and do an analysis of your own. The last few classes covers Turkle’s ideas in Alone Together, and Smith and Watson’s “Studying the Digital Self.” You may consult your peers as an outside source, applying or evaluating claims of the reading. Or you may consider the issues in the reading as they relate to your group media-projects.

As in the previous blog post:

  1. Bring in at least one outside source. (Make sure to cite your sources properly in a footnote, including people.)
  2. Adding an image is nice but not required. (Make sure to cite its source in a footnote)
  3. Blog posts should be 500 to 1000 words.
  4. Please tag your post with any appropriate terms.

 


Blog post: 

Due: Day 20, Friday 3/27

Write informally about one or more things you might research for your final paper. Consider the advice for finding your “water table” or “obsessions” in the short sections from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (on Carmen). What do you care about that might be relevant to this class? What do you know about that others might benefit from hearing? What do you know very little about that you would like to investigate further?

The final paper will consider a technology (new or old), a technological system, a particular artifact, or a particular representation of the above. It will incorporate research and will offer an original analysis.

As in the previous blog post:

  1. Blog posts should be 500 to 1000 words.
  2. Please tag your post with any appropriate terms.

 

Blog Options 

The following are options for the remaining blog posts. The final item on this list (Our Class Archive of Essays) is required for one post. Tag your blog with one of these options and any other key terms, 500 word min.

Observation Essay: What can you observe about your object of study in the world. Write without judgment of any kind.

Research Question: What is your driving question? What motivates your investigation?

Research Method: How will you go about finding answers? What tools will you use? What will you bring those tools to bear on?

Key Terms in the Investigation/Argument: What are some of the key analytic terms? What things need clear definition and use?

Literature Review: What important writing has been done on this area? What are a few important books or essays on this subject?

Primary Sources: What is the “data” of your investigation? What are the particular “texts” you’ll look to in order to get information to answer your research question?

Outline the Archive of Feelings: Where does a community deposit their feelings? What kinds of texts are there and how do you find them?

Personal Research Reflection: What brings you to this particular investigation? Consider What about your location/identity influences how you might perceive this object? Or, what experiences have you had with it in the past?

Through the Lens of the Readings: Choose one or more readings and consider your object of study through its lens. How is it applicable? Is it in harmony with what it finds or in dissonance?

Interview Questions: What would you ask to people to get information about your area of interest? Who would you ask and why?

Transcription: Find a friend, family member, or stranger to interview about your area of interest. Record it and write down 500 words or more of the relevant tape.

Essay Outline: Outline the sections of your paper with notes about

Identifying the Central Thesis, Argument, or Theme: What is the core message of your work? How do you defend or explore it?

*Our Class Archive of Essays: What do you find interesting in our own growing archive? Write 500 words on what you see in one, or more, other students’ blog posts. Consider what patterns you see, expand on something you find, or offer an alternative.

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