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Courses - The Transducer


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.

Dickinson College

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.
» Syl­labus

Princeton University

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.
» Syl­labus

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.
» Syl­labus


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