Courses

Introduction to Digital Media Studies – WINTER 2015 – UW English Undergrad Course
In this course, students get an introduction to the burgeoning field of digital media studies, focusing primarily on the impacts of digital technology on society and the human condition. In this particular iteration of the course, students create a LEGO robot that embodies philosophical concepts covered in class.

Digital Abstinence  – WINTER 2015 – UW English Grad Course
Why would an individual–or a whole community for that matter– abstain from the use of advanced technologies? This question, which is central to this course, is posed not just in the context of Old Order Mennonites, but applies equally to contemporary trends in “unplugging,” from Digital Detox retreats in California to the recent movement by French unions to ban e-mail communication for tech workers after 6:00 p.m.  We will begin by evaluating the attempts of various individuals and communities to observe digital abstinence, tallying their successes and failures. We will conduct our own experiments in digital abstinence, and ultimately create projects that (perhaps ironically) engage with digital abstinence for the sake of promoting the concepts of ritual, mindfulness, privacy, contemplation, community, and presence, among others.

Maker Culture (Rhetoric of Digital Design) – FALL 2014 – UW English Undergrad Course
This course focuses specifically on what has been called “Maker Culture.” This so-called “culture” is a contemporary phenomenon inspired by a spirit of DIY and a hacker aesthetic that can be traced in the history of computer hardware and software design. To begin, students explore the history of this “culture” by studying the Victorian Arts & Crafts movement and the 18th-century Luddites. Students then move through modern DIY movements before ending up in digital maker/hacker spaces, quite literally. This course pays specific attention to the role of “design” in maker culture, and students complete a design project that involves making a digital object-to-think-with.

Introduction to Digital Media Studies – WINTER 2013 – UW English Undergrad Course
In this course, students get an introduction to the burgeoning field of digital media studies, focusing primarily on the impacts of digital technology on society and the human condition. In this particular iteration of the course, students created a LEGO robot that embodied philosophical concepts covered in class.

Visual Rhetoric – WINTER 2013 – UW English Undergrad Course

MEMORY AND TECHNE – FALL 2012 – UW English Grad Course

NECROMEDIA – WINTER 2012 – UW English Grad Course

CYBERBODIES – WINTER 2011 – UW English Grad Course

Introduction to Digital Media Studies – WINTER 2011 – UW English Undergrad Course

NECROMEDIA – FALL 2009 – UW English Grad Course

SPATIAL THEORY AND PRACTICE – Winter 2009 – UW English Grad Course This course involves readings from Plato (via Derrida) to Rem Koolhaas (via Salvador Dali). Some seminars and studios for the class are held in the Andy Warhol Underground Studio at the KW Children’s Museum. Assignments include the creation of a project that combines geocaching and détournement.

VISUAL RHETORIC – Winter 2009 – UW English Undergrad Course This course introduces students to the interaction of texts and images in such professional writing fields as advertising, book illustration, technical documentation, journalism, and public relations. Issues may include visual and textual literacy, the semiotics and rhetoric of design, and the ideological basis of social communication. This course asks students to imagine a mode of academic communication that relies as heavily on the “imagetext” and the “hypericon” as it does on the paragraph and the dissertation. Students will develop new modes of academic discourse that involve the use of digital media.

THE DISCOURSE OF ADVERTISING – Fall 2008 – UW English Undergrad Course This course investigated the use of rhetorical figures and elements of graphic design as applied primarily in print-based advertising. Course readings also involved work by Jean Baudrillard, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and Guy Debord. Students created viral marketing campaigns for the Grand River Film Festival and subvertised a product of their choice. CYBERBODIES – Winter 2008 – UW English Grad Course Readings for the course focused on the impact of technology on the body, specifically phenomenological approaches to the body/machine interface. Students in the course created a “critical toy” as part of a collaborative relationship with the KW Children’s Museum. This required them to learn how to solder circuits, and program an Arduino board.

NECROMEDIA – Winter 2007 – UW Dept. of English Grad Course This course explored “the collusion of death and technology.” More specifically, it involved looking at how the finitude of the human condition rubs up against the infinity of technological processes and the rhetorics of immortality deployed in media theory, popular science, and biotechnological discourses. Students in the course contributed entries to a Necromedia Archive. This course will be offered again in Fall 2009.

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