Media 2.0: Critical Studies in Digital Media

The emergence of digital media has radically changed our society. From the ways we spend money to the ways we socialize, and from how we travel to how we wage war, digital media have touched nearly every aspect of our lives. Keeping a critical eye on the dangers and promise of the digital age, we will talk directly to people who are producing and distributing their work on the Internet and other alternative channels, and we will explore how these new distribution forms challenge assumptions about how media should/do work. Students will not only learn to think critically about the social impact of digital media, but will also learn to use media creatively in their everyday lives.

 

(FULL SYLLABUS HERE!)

UNIT I: INTRODUCTION: DEBATING TECHNOLOGICAL UTOPIANISM

January 16: Introduction

 

January 21: Critiquing Technology

Chellis Glendinning, “Technology Can Be Damaging”

 

January 23: Technological “Utopianism”

Ray Kurzweil, “Reinventing Humanity: The Future of Human-Machine Intelligence”

 

January 28: Watch Minority Report in class

January 30: Finish Minority Report, and discuss emerging technologies

 

UNIT II: SURVEILLANCE

February 4: The Surveillance State

Paul R. La Monica, “Government ‘Spying’ on Me: Who Cares?”

Glenn Greenwald, “On the Espionage Act Changes against Edward Snowden”

Somini Sengupta, “Privacy Fears Grow as Cities Increase Surveillance”

 

February 6: Corporate Surveillance and Free Labor

Ian Bogost, “Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User”

Stephanie Armour, “Borrowers Hit Social Media Hurdles”

Elizabeth Dwoskin, “What Secrets Your Phone is Sharing about You”

Read in class: Trebor Scholz, “Introduction: Why Does Digital Labor Matter Now” (pages 1-3)

 

UNIT III: ACTIVISM AND THE DIGITAL PUBLIC

February 11: Guest! Brittany Fitzpatrick of Mentor Me

February 13: Guest! Addie McGowan of Bigfish

 

February 18: Social Media and the Arab Spring

Jay Rosen, “The ‘Twitter Can’t Topple Dictators’ Article”

Philip N. Howard, “The Arab Spring’s Cascading Effects”

 

February 20: Guest! Shannon Little of Shannon R. Little Communication

 

UNIT IV: WAR PROPAGANDA AND WAR TECHNOLOGIES

February 25: War Propaganda

Stacey Leasca, “Social Warfare: Israel and Hamas Bring War to the Digital Age”

Zeina Karam, “Syria’s Civil War Plays Out on Social Media”

 

February 27: U.S. Propaganda

Eric Schmitt, “A U.S. Reply, in English, to Terrorists’ Online Lure”

Tom Vanden Brook, “White House Fights Bid to Kill Pentagon Propaganda Sites”

 

March 4: Weapons and War Technologies

Peter W. Singer, “Do Drones Undermine Democracy?”  

Diane Weber Bederman, “Drones: The West’s Best Ethical Response to Terrorism”

 

March 6: Stuxnet and Cyber-Attacks

David E. Sanger, “Obama Order Sped up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran”

 

March 11: SPRING BREAK!!!

March 13 SPRING BREAK!!!

 

UNIT V: PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ADVERTISING

March 18: Digital Advertising

David Carr, “Storytelling Ads May Be Journalism’s New Peril”

Amanda Holpuch, “Advertising in the Digital Age: A Global Idea is Still the ‘Holy Grail’”

Business Insider, “Why Social Media Advertising Is Set to Explode”

 

March 20: Advertising Presentations

 

UNIT VI: LITERACY

March 25: Digital English?

John McWhorter, "Is Texting Killing the English Language?"

Motoko Rich, “Online, R U Really Reading?”

 

March 27: Final Previews

 

UNIT VII: ELECTIONS AND DIGITAL POLITICS

April 1: Digital Voting

Roger Johnston, “How I Hacked an Electronic Voting Machine”

Keith Thomson, “Could Romney-Linked Electronic Voting Machines Jeopardize Ohio’s Vote Accuracy?”

 

April 3: Social Media and Political Campaigns

John Axelrod, “A New Study on Twitter’s Power Could Change How Politicians Campaign”

Nick Judd, “The Game: How Campaigns’ New Obsession with Social Media Is Hurting America”

 

UNIT VII: MUSIC INDUSTRY

April 8: Music in the Digital Age

Paul Resnikoff, “Technology Didn’t Kill the Music Industry. The Fans Did”

Steven Goldstein, “How the Digital Age Changed Hip-Hop”

 

April 10: Guest! Elizabeth Cawein of Signal Flow

 

UNIT IX: EDUCATION: MOOCs, ONLINE LEARNING, ETC.

April 15: Digital Education

Max Chafkin, “Udacity’s Sebastian Thrun, Godfather of Free Online Education, Changes Course”

Laura Hepler, “Coursera Founder Ng Counters MOOC Criticism”

Huffington Post, “Is Online Education Replacing the Classroom Learning Experience?”

 

April 17: Online Education Experiment

 

UNIT X: DOING BUSINESS IN THE DIGITAL AGE

April 22: Economy

Bill Halal, “How Netflix Beat Blockbuster: An Exemplar of Emerging Technologies”

Alex Pappademas, “Blockbuster Video: 1985–2013”

Chris Anderson, "The Long Tail"

 

April 24: Digital Media Debates

April 29: Digital Media Debates

 

Final Exam: T, May 6, 10:30a - 12:30p