University of Virginia
Cyberspace, Cyberpunk, and the Technology of Salvation (INST2550). Hereford College. This short course traces the development of a series of themes in cyberpunk film and literature that can only be described as religious. Beginning with Williams Gibson’s classic cyberpunk works Burning Chrome and Neuromancer — in which the word “cyberspace” is coined and developed — we explore how the Christian themes of salvation, sin, sacrifice, and human identity are remixed and transformed in a series of films that either prefigure or follow upon Gibson’s text. Along the way, we augment our interpretive framework with readings from the anthropology of religion from such authors as Kenelm Burridge, Mary Douglas, and Edmund Leach. As a complement to the course, students maintain a collaborative WordPress site to document our conversations and to explore ideas outside of our meeting times.
The Internet is Another Country (ANTH2559). Department of Anthropology. This course explores the Internet (including the Web) as a globally pervasive sphere of exchange and communication that has produced a series of social institutions in economic, political, and cultural domains around the world. Using classical sociological and anthropological literature as our guide, we trace the history of the Internet and the ideology of information from its origins in the late 1940s to the present, and then describe and analyze emerging social and cognitive formations associated with Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, and other Internet zones. As part of their final projects, students collaboratively develop an online ethnography of the Internet as a site of cultural formations.
Dataesthetics (MDST3559). Department of Media Studies. This course introduces students to the theory and practice of database application design in the context of the digital liberal arts. Beginning with the premise that the database is the defining symbolic form of the postmodern era, students review critical literature about databases, study examples of their use in projects from a variety of disciplines, and engage in the actual design of a database application as a course project. Topics to be covered will include cross-cultural modes of classification, data models, web-based database development (using PHP and MySQL), and the role of databases in knowledge work within the academy. To be taught Spring 2010.
Introduction to the Digital Liberal Arts (MDST3703). Department of Media Studies. This course provides students with a practical and critical introduction to digital technologies that are shaping research, innovation, and critical thinking across the liberal arts curriculum. Students will learn specific technologies that will empower them to better envision and develop technology—mediated projects in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. At the critical level, students will read from and reflect on two key schools of thought—the digital humanities and media studies—as a framework within which to evaluate the design and institutional impact of digital media. Students will engage with a series of case studies from UVA faculty and others, addressing such issues as effectiveness of design and suitability to the goals of a liberal arts education. Students will a keep a blog of their responses to readings (and other materials) as well as to issues raised in class. Spring and Fall 2010.
The Internet is Another Country (INST2550). Hereford College. This short course explores emerging social and cognitive formations in the context of global society in the era of the Internet, beginning in the 1960s. During each weekly session we will view, read, or listen to people engaged or interested in a specific zone of Internet geography, such as FaceBook, MySpace, Wikipedia, YouTube, SecondLife, and Google, exploring topics such as memory, personal identity, privacy, and education. Students will contribute to a common web space describing their experiences from the course and Internet explorations. Spring 2010.
Anthropology of the Information Society (ANT245). Department of Anthropology. This course explored such topics as surveillance, privacy, and virtual community in the age of ubiquitous networked computing from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective. Fall 2007.
The Anthropology of Information Technology (ANT345). Department of Anthropology. This course explored the complex history between anthropology and information technology, investigating the computer as core metaphor for the concept of culture, marginalized research tool for the analysis of ethnographic data, hip methodology for corporate software development, and central artifact in the investigation of postmodern culture. Students kept blogs. Fall 2004.
Old French Paleography and Electronic Technologies (FRE707). Department of French and Italian. Co-taught with Sarah-Jane Murray. This course explored the relationship between nineteenth-century philological theory, medieval textuality, and various techniques of representing text digitally, including XML and relational data models. Focus was on the research interests of the graduate students taking the course. Fall 2002.
Art History and Technology (FRS113 and FRS163). Department of Art History. Co-taught with Kirk Alexander and John Pinto. This course explored Roman and art and archaeology from the perspective of database design and use. Students read texts relating to Roman art history, art historical theory, and database theory, and pursued a number of hands-on exercises pertaining to the nature of classification. Students produced a complete data record for a Roman building or work of art in Almagest, Princeton’s home grown media database for teaching and learning, and gave a presentation of their work at the end of the course. Fall 1999 and Fall 2001.