Fall 2009, Tuesdays 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Smith Warehouse, Bay 12, Room 101

Timothy Lenoir
Kimberly J. Jenkins Chair in
New Technologies & Society
lenoir A-T duke D-O-T edu
Smith Warehouse Bay 11 Rm. A231
919-668-1952 (office)
Office hours: TBD
Course email list: TBD

Patrick Herron
Research Analyst/Technologist
Jenkins Collaboratory
patrick D-O-T h A-T duke D-O-T edu
Smith Warehouse Bay 11 Room A-232
919-668-0276 (office)
Office hours: By appointment


Critical Studies in New Media
Fall 2009 Tuesdays 6:00-8:30 PM
Smith Warehouse, Bay 12, Room 101

Addresses key issues in the philosophy of new media. Central themes include the materiality of media; media configurations and the co-evolution of human being; computational media and recent discussions of posthumanism; the merger of nano-bio-info-technology and the ubiquity of code; media convergence and the political uses of new media. Examines new media technologies from a transdisciplinary perspective. Builds upon existing expertise in film, literature, and media studies to analyze what is ?new? about new media and how they compare with, transform, and remediate earlier media practices. Proposes the development of a critical analytical framework for approaching new media and relating them to other areas of academic discourse. Promotes a hands-on, active engagement with the technologies as a means for analysis and critique of new media innovations in contemporary academic research. Instructors: Timothy Lenoir and Patrick Herron.

Download syllabus (pdf; REVISED 31 AUGUST 2009 @ 14:59)

Week 1: Tuesday Aug 25: Course introduction

Week 2: Tuesday Sept 5: What Are Media?

  • Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1994), pp. 3-61.
  • Mark Hansen, "Media Theory," Theory Culture & Society 23(2-3) (2006): 297-306.
  • Film: Videodrome

Week 3: Tuesday, September 8: What are New Media?

This week's presentation: Ruffin Bailey

  • Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media, Cambridge, Mass.; MIT University Press, 1999, pp. 2-87; pp. 230-271
  • Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media , Cambridge , Mass. ; MIT Press, 2001, Introduction and Ch. 1-2, pp. 3-115, and Ch. 5-6, pp 212-333.

Week 4: Tuesday, September 15: Writing Différance

This week's presentation: Melody Jue

  • Charles Sanders Peirce, "Some Consequences of Four Incapacities," Peirce: Of Signs. (Chapel Hill: Univ of North Carolina Press, 1991), pp. 54-84.
  • Jacques Derrida, "Différance", Margins of Philosophy , translated by Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), pp. 3-27.
  • Brian Rotman, "The Emergence of the Metasubject," in Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987), pp. 27-56; "Absence of an Origin," pp. 87-107.
  • Stuart Hall, "Encoding/Decoding," in Stuart Hall, Dorothy Hobson, Andrew Lowe, Paul Willis, eds., Culture, Media, Language, London; Hutchinson, 1980, pp. 128-138,. Also anthologized in Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks , London; Blackwell, 2001, pp. 166-176.

Week 5: Tuesday, September 22: There is No Software

This week's presentation: Gus Alvarez

  • David Wellbery, "Post-Hermeneutic Criticism," Forward to Discourse Networks, pp.vii-xxxiii.
  • Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Nicholas Gane, "Friedrich Kittler: An Introduction," Theory, Culture & Society 2006, Vol. 23(7–8): 5–16
  • Friedrich Kittler, Discourse Networks: 1800/1900, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1990, Section II 1900, pp. 177-368.
  • Friedrich Kittler, "There is No Software," in John Johnston, ed., Friedrich A. Kittler: Essays. Literature, Media, Information Systems, Amsterdam , G+B Arts International, 1997, pp. 147-155.
  • Friedrich Kittler, "Protected Mode," in Kittler: Essays, pp. 156-168.

Week 6: Tuesday, September 29: Cinematic Embodiment

This week's presentation: Katherine de Vos

  • Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory, Cambridge , MA , Zone Books, 1990, Introduction and Ch. 1-2, pp. vii-169.
  • Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," in Illuminations, New York ; Harcourt Brace & World, 1968, pp. 217-251.
  • Dziga Vertov, Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov, Berkeley ; University of California Press, 1995, Annette Michelson, ed., "We: Variant of a Manifesto," pp. 5-9; "The Birth of Kino-Eye," pp. 40-42; Kino-Eye, pp. 60-79.
  • Michael Taussig, "Physiognomic Aspects of Visual Worlds," in Lucien Taylor, ed., Visualizing Theory: Selected Essays from V.A.R. 1990-1994, New York and London ; Routledge, 1994, pp. 205-213.
  • Film: Kino-Eye

Week 7: Tuesday, October 6: Fall Break: No Class

Week 8: Tuesday, October 13: As We May Think

This week's presentation: Clarissa Ai Ling Lee and Harrison Lee

Week 9: Tuesday, October 20: Postmodern Subjects

This week's presentation: Jui-an Chao and Ian Murphy

  • Jean Baudrillard, Simulations, New York; Semiotext(e), 1983.
  • Frederic Jameson, Postmodernism: Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Durham, NC; Duke University Press, 1991, pp. 1-54; 55-66.
  • Scott Bukatman, Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction, Durham , NC ; Duke University Press, 1993, "Introduction," pp. 1-22; Chapter 1, "Terminal Image," pp. 23-99; Chapter 5, "Terminal Resistance/Cyborg Acceptance," pp. 300-329.
  • Films: Blade Runner, TRON

Week 10: Tuesday, October 27: The Medium is the Body

This week's presentation: Jung E. Choi

  • Vivian Sobchack, "The Scene of the Screen: Envisioning Photographic, Cinematic, and Electronic 'Presence'" and "Beating the Meat/Surviving the Text, or How to Get Out of the Century Alive," in Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture, Los Angeles; University of California Press, 2004, pp. 135-178.
  • Laura Marks, "Video's Body, Analog and Digital," "How Electrons Remember," and "Immanence Online," in Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media, Minneapolis; University of Minnesota Press, 2002, pp. 147-191.
  • Bernadette Wegenstein, "The Medium is the Body," in Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory, Cambridge, Mass.; MIT Press, 2006, pp. 119-162.
  • Adrian Mackenzie, Cutting Code: Software and Sociality, New York; Peter Lang, 2006, pp. 1-42.
  • N. Katherine Hayles, “Print Is Flat, Code Is Deep: The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis,” Poetics Today, 25:1 (Spring, 2004), pp. 67-90
  • Reading recommended by Jung E. Choi: Martin Heidegger, The Age of the World View. trans. Marjorie Grene, boundary 2, Vol. 4, No.2, Martin Heidegger and Literature (Winter, 1976),340-355.

Week 11: Tuesday, November 3: Encoding the Posthuman

This week's presentation: Marie-Pier Boucher and Holly Little

  • Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Chicago; University of Illinois, 1998. "Recent Contributions to the Mathematical Theory of Communication," pp. 1-28.
  • N. Katherine Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts, Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 2005, chapters 1, 2, 7, 8 (pp. 15-38; 39-61; 171-192; 193-213.
  • Mark Hansen, Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media, New York; Routledge, 2006, pp. 25-103
  • Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, NC; Duke University Press, 2002, pp. 1-45.
  • John Cayley, "The Code is not the Text (unless it is the Text)," Electronic Book Review, 10 September 2002. Available at http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/electropoetics/literal

Week 12: Tuesday, November 10: Writing Machines

This week's presentation: Arielle McKoy and Ashley Chang

  • André Leroi-Gourhan, Speech and Gesture. Cambridge, Mass; MIT Press, 1993, pp. 187-266.
  • Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1: the Fault of Epimetheus. Stanford; Stanford University Press, 1998, Ch. 3, "Who? What? The Invention of the Human," pp. 134-179.
  • Terrence Deacon, "Why a Brain Capable of Language Evolved Only Once: Prefrontal Cortex and Symbol Learning." Zygon, Vol. 31(4), 1996: 635-670.
  • Adrian Mackenzie, Transductions: Bodies and Machines at Speed, London; Continuum, 2002: Introduction, pp. 1-27; Chapter 1, pp. 29-56; Chapter 6, pp. 171-204.
  • Recommended: Terrence Deacon, The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain, New York; Norton, 1997, Ch. 3, pp. 69-101; Ch. 4, pp. 102-115; Ch. 11, pp. 321-375; Ch. 12, pp. 376-410; Ch. 13, pp. 411-419 & 423-432; Ch. 14, pp. 433-464.

Week 13: Tuesday November 17: Becoming Beside Ourselves

This week's presentation: Grace Huang and Ruth Ann Chan

  • Rodney Brooks, "Intelligence without representation." Artificial Intelligence 47(1991): 139-159.
  • Rodney Brooks and L. A. Stein, "Building Brains for Bodies," Autonomous Robots 1(1994): 7-25.
  • N. Katherine Hayles, “Unfinished Work: From Cyborg to Cognisphere,” Theory, Culture and Society, Vol. 23(7–8) 2006: 159-166.
  • N. Katherine Hayles, “Narrating Bits: Encounters between Humans and Intelligent Machines,” Comparative Critical Studies 2.2 (2005):165-90
  • Andy Clark, Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds Technologies and the Future of Human Intelligence, Oxford; Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 13-34; 115-142; 197-198.
  • Brian Rotman, "Corporeal or Gesturo-haptic Writing," Configurations, 10(2002): 423-438.
  • Eugene Thacker, “What Is Biomedia?” Configurations, Vol 11(no.1), pp. 47-79.

Week 14: Tuesday, November 24: No Class. Rescheduled for Dec 8.

Week 15: Tuesday December 1: Political Engagements with New Media

This week's presentation: Zach Blas and Melanie Plageman

  • Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations, 1972-1990, New York ; Columbia University Press, 1995, "Control and Becoming" and "Postscript on Control Societies," pp. 169-182.
  • Alexander Galloway, Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization, Cambridge, Mass.; MIT University Press, 2004, pp. 3-27; pp. 81-115; pp. 175-206.
  • Frédéric Vandenberghe, “Deleuzian Capitalism,” Philosophy & Social Criticism. Vol. 34, No. 8(2008): 877-903.

Week 16: Tuesday December 8: Network Subjects and Datastreams

This week's presentation: Mycah Braxton

  • Alex Pentland, Honest Signals, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008: Chapters 1 & 2, pp.1-31; Chapters 5-7 and Appendix A, pp. 57-111.
  • Nigel Thrift, "From born to made: technology, biology, and space," and "Spatialities of feeling," Non-Representational Theory, New York; Routlege, 2008: pp.153-197.
  • Felix Guattari, “Balance Sheet for ‘Desiring-Machines’,” Chaosophy, Los Angeles; Semiotext(e), 2009. pp. 90-115.
  • Saskia Sassen, “Assemblages of a Global Digital Age,” in Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblage. Princeton; Princeton University Press, 2006: pp. 323-377.
  • Felix Guattari, "Machinic Junkies," and “Integrated World Capitalism,” Soft Subversions. Los Angeles; Semiotext(e), 2009: pp. 158-161; pp. 227-309.