Comm 852—Information Machines: Media beyond Content

Comm 852—Information Machines: Media beyond Content

Ken Hillis and Sarah Sharma, Spring 13, Thursday 6-9 PM


This course is team taught by Dr. Ken Hillis and Dr. Sarah Sharma. Combining cultural, philosophical, and political economic approaches, we focus on the materiality of media-technologies. The course situates this materiality within historical contexts and definitions of history themselves bound up within the social diffusion of different media forms. We begin by looking at seminal/canonical texts by theorists of technology. While these theorists have been critiqued as determinist, essentializing and hyperbolic, it is telling that recent new media theory increasingly borrows and extends aspects of these individuals’ thought.

We understand that studying the materiality of media-technology is a critical practice of relevance and one that takes place across disciplinary boundaries. This form of study offers robust ways of understanding relationships, physical, discursive, actual and virtual, among technologies and: gender; labor; media/mediation; mobility; information networks and alternative political formations; and space/time.

Readings include:

Innis, Harold (excerpts)
McLuhan, Marshall. 1995. Essential McLuhan.
Baudrillard, Jean (excerpts)
Langdon Winner. 1986. The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology.
Heidegger, Martin. 1982. The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays.
Virilio, Paul. 2009 [1986] War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception.
_____. 2012. The Great Accelerator.
Carey, James 1988 Communication as Culture (excerpts)
Peters, John Durham. 1999. Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication.
Parks, Lisa. 2005. Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual.
Hillis, Ken et al. 2013. Google and the Culture of Search.
Haraway, Donna (excerpts)
Anne Balsamo (excerpts)
Bell, Shannon, 2010. Fast Feminism.
Fuller, Matthew and Andrew Goffey. 2012. Evil Media.
Kember, Sarah and Joanna Zylinska. 2012. Life after New Media: Mediation as a Vital Process.

Communication Studies

Posted in Graduate Courses