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Website and Syllabus


Language, Technology, and Culture owes some of its shape to its curricular history as a course initially designed to complement a course called Introduction to Literacy Studies.


Course Description
Language, Technology, and Culture focuses on the many and varied relationships between how we express ourselves and the technological systems and networks that provide context, meaning, and shape to those expressions. From pencils to pixels, telegraphs to texts, and semaphores to social networking, this class will examine the interactions between technology and literacy throughout history. While our focus will be on how literacies have both changed and been influenced by specific technologies, we’ll also address the production, reception, and transmission of cultural texts, both analog and digital. Beyond simply defining “new media,” we’ll consider how technologies affect subjectivity, agency, power, community, relationships, careers, and cognition. We’ll also investigate developments in communications technologies and consider important ethical, political, social, cultural, and economic questions that students, educators, politicians, and citizens need to consider. Further, this class will reflect on our current technological situation, how the technologies we use to communicate have ties to older literacies, and what they may suggest about coming changes. Since digital literacy and new media do not inhabit one particular discipline, our course will be quite interdisciplinary, drawing from areas of study such as communication, law, art, history, science, economics, and rhetoric.

Required Texts
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage (2005, orig. 1967)
Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey Pingree, eds., New Media: 1740-1915 (2004)
James Paul Gee, What Videogames have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy (2007)
Mark Bauerlein, ed., The Digital Divide (2012)
Other texts will be offered as PDFs, videos, and audio clips

Along with a content management system, the course existed in Wordpress as a series of linked pages: http://eng494595.wordpress.com

The syllabus is specifically located here: http://eng494595.wordpress.com/syllabus/