Carly A. Kocurek, PhD - Games, Scholarship, Media

Casual Thinking. Serious Gaming.

Teaching Note: Theory in Technology and Humanities

Category : Pedagogy Apr 1st, 2015

This semester I’m teaching a “Special Problems” graduate course. “Special Problems” courses are effectively group independent studies on specific topics, and so this term I’ve been leading a very small class focused on reading theory. The reading list for this class was generated in part through an incredibly lively Facebook discussion, which ultimately produced a much larger bibliography than I could cram in the class. After some judicious revision, the reading list as it stands is shared here. The semester is far enough along now that I feel confident that the list has, for the most part, been working well. If nothing else, both of the graduate students engaged in this particular class have told me they love it, so it can’t be all bad.

This twelve-week reading plan is preceded by the usual organizational meeting and has two meetings reserved for working on and presenting student projects. For this class, students are tasked with researching and producing an intellectual genealogy of a scholar or theorist of their choosing.

Theory in Technology and Humanities (Reading List)

Week One:

“The Formation of Intellectuals,” Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramsci (1926-37)
“Objectives,” and “Cultural Preparation,” in Technics and Civilization, Lewis Mumford (1934)
“The Storyteller,” Walter Benjamin (1936)

Week Two:

“The Culture Industry,” from The Dialectic of Enlightment, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer 1944)
“The World of Wrestling,” “Soap-powders and Detergents,” and “Myth Today,” in Mythologies, Roland Barthes (1957)
“The Uses of Literacy,” Richard Hoggart (1957)

Week Three:

“Part 1,” Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan (1964)
“Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” E.P. Thompson (1967)

Week Four:

“Panopticism,” Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault (1975)
“Technology and Society,” and “Programming, Distribution, and Flow,” Television, Raymond Williams (1975)

Week Five:

“Introduction” and “Part 1” from Speed and Politics, Paul Virilio (1977)
“The Age of the World Picture,” Martin Heidegger (1977)

Week Six:

“Introduction: Rhizome,” A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1980)
“The Precession of Simulacra,” Simulacra and Simulation, Jean Baudrillard (1981)

Week Seven:

“Silence is a Commons,” Ivan Illich (1983)
“Introduction,” Distinction, Pierre Bourdieu (1984)
“Walking in the City,” The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau (1984)

Week Eight:

“Thinking with Eyes and Hands,” Bruno Latour (1986)
“Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought,” Walter Ong (1986)
“Situated Knowledges,” Donna Haraway (1988)
“Techniques of the Observer” (article), Jonathan Crary (1988)

Week Nine:

“The Jeansing of America,” Understanding Popular Culture, John Fiske (1989)
“The Emergence of Cultural Studies and the Crisis of the Humanities,” Stuart Hall (1990)

Week Ten:

“Introduction” and “Inventing the Expert,” When Old Technologies Were New, Carolyn Marvin (1990)
“Identity Crisis,” from Life on the Screen, Sherry Turkle (1997)
“Differences,” in Cybermarx, Nick Dyer-Witherford (1999)

Week Eleven:

“The Rhythmanalytical Project,” Henri Lefebvre and Catherine Regulier (1999)
“Prologue, Chapter 1, Conclusion” from How We Became Posthuman, Katherine Hales (1999)
“Introduction” from Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Friedrich Kittler (1999)
“Introduction” and “Part One,” from Bodies in Technology, Don Ihde

Week Twelve:

“Head-Hunting on the Internet,” Lisa Nakamura (2002)
“How Control Exists after Decentralization,” in Protocol, Alexander Galloway (2004)
“The Rhetoric of Video Games,” Ian Bogost (2008)
“The Enduring Ephemeral, or The Future is a Memory,” Wendy Chun (2008)