ICS Calendar Title: In Media Res: Media, Technology and Culture

ICS Course Code: ICSD 132301-W16

Instructor: Matt Bernico

Term and Year: Winter 2016, Distance

Last Updated: November 2, 2015

1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Learning Goals

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

According to Michel Foucault, the “blueprint” of the 20th century was the prison or hospital.  However, we might say that the “blueprint” for the 21st century is the computer network: namely the Internet.  With the technological revolutions of the 21st century, we see the digitalization and informationalization of everything.  Learning to live, think and act within this sort of society is increasingly difficult and requires new diagnostics of culture, politics and the self.  This class will engage with these questions in light of the importance of materiality and embodiment in the community of faith’s ongoing reflection upon Christian life and mission

2. Reading Schedule

Class Period

Reading & Assignment

Seminar Topic

Session 1

McLuhan - Medium is the Massage Pg.5-45

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

Google Hangout scheduled for suitable time this week

Intro to Media Theory

Session 2

McLuhan - Medium is the Massage Pg.45-85

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

Media as Extension of the Body

Session 3

Flusser - Toward a Philosophy of Photography, pg. 7-33

Summary Analysis Blog

Applied Internet Aesthetics Project 1

Discussion Board Posts

The Apparatus

Session 4

Flusser - Toward a Philosophy of Photography, pg. 41-86

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

The Image

Session 5

Latour - What Does It Mean To Be Modern? Pg. 1-22 & 130-142

Summary Analysis Board

Discussion Board Posts

Google Hangout scheduled for suitable time this week

Intro to Actor Network Theory & Amodernism

Session 6

Galloway - Protocol Pg. 1-28

Summary Analysis Blog

Applied Internet Aesthetics Project 2

Discussion Board Posts

Introduction to Network Theory: Theory & Practice of the Internet

Session 7

Galloway - Protocol Pg. 54-80

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

Final Paper Assigned

Form and Power in Network Theory

Session 8

Galloway - Protocol Pg. 145-208

Summary Analysis Blog

Hacking, Tactical Media and Internet Art

Session 9

Zielinski - Deep Time of the Media Pg. 1-13

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

Deep Time

Session 10

Jussi Parikka & Martin Howse (sourced by instructor)

Earthcode - http://www.1010.co/uk/org/earthcode.html

Summary Analysis Blog

Applied Internet Aesthetics Project 3

Discussion Board Posts

Deep Geology

Session 11

Sconce, Haunted Media Pg. 21-58 37 pages

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

Telegraph and the Birth of the Electronic Territory

Session 12

Sconce, Haunted Media Pg. 58-91 32 pages

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

Alien Ether

Session 13

Sconce, Haunted Media Pg. 124-166 42 pages

Summary Analysis Blog

Discussion Board Posts

Final Paper Due at the end of Week 13

Google Hangout scheduled for suitable time this week

Television and Electronic Presence

3. Course Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. To engage theories of the media and analyze the way these theories relate to culture in order to write an essay on the role of media in Christian life and in society at large.
  2. To investigate digital media practically and consider how it shapes our understanding of the world in order to prepare a presentation of digital cultural materials that accounts for them theoretically.
  3. To practice Christian critical self awareness in regards to media in order to organize a media project directed at Christian recipients.

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

  1. Weekly reading (around 30 pages): [approximately 30 pages/week=400] [approximately 1250 for course as whole including paper research]
  2. In-seminar leadership: In distance learning, in-seminar leadership can be challenging. Rather than weekly meetings, there will be 3-4 synchronous sessions throughout the trajectory of the course. These sessions will largely be spaces of student led discussion. In the portions of the course that are solely online, students will take turns directing the weekly conversation in giving an introduction and critical reflection to the topic via blog post as well as guiding and shaping the discussion forums for that week
  3. Description of course project: Theory and Practice paper: 3500-4000 words
  4. Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

                i.  Student blogs: 30%

                 ii.  Applied Internet Aesthetics: 20%

                iii. Theory and Practice paper (final): 40%

                iv.  Class participation: 10%

Student Blogs - The purpose of this assignment is to give students a space to demonstrate your understanding of the reading materials as well as develop basic media literacy via the creation of a blog. The Summary and Analysis blog is a brief assignment in which you will summarize the reading and then give a basic analysis of the content. This is an invitation for you to tell me what the author is saying and then what you think about the content. Try to focus on the content as well as the affect created by the author. You may address questions such as, “What does this mean for my Politics?” “How does this change the way I understand the world?” “What does this have to do with my faith community?” This assignment should be no more than 400 words. You will link each blog post to our course home page.

Applied Internet Aesthetics - Learning about media, technology and society is a start, but to really get a feel for the culture creating power these techniques have, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. For example, we can theorize about the democratic power of Wikipedia, but to really understand the medium you’ll have to try your hand at it. Or, in the wake of the invention of 3D printers, learning the basics of photogrammetry and 3D modeling are infinitely more interesting and meaningful than a solely theoretical approach.

The Applied Internet Aesthetics assignments are activities in which the student has to engage with creating Internet or digital media content and how it actually works either diverging from or in congruence with theory. This activity is meant to show various embodiments of media. Here, through practice, we learn about a number of digital media skills as well as what happens to our body when we enter into a confederacy with media apparatuses. This is a more meditative approach to learning about digital media in which we think about the ways media, both physically and cognitively, extends our bodies. (See Mcluhan, The Medium is the Massage, pg. 26).

Theory and Practice Paper - The purpose of this assignment is to make a connection between the theories of media and technology that we have read and a practice in your everyday life or discipline. What do any of these theories have to do with the way we live and move through the world? The successful Theory and Practice paper will have three parts: 1. summarize a theory, 2. analyze its content and 3. explain how this is of practical use or how this should change the way we think about media especially in regards to the practice of Christian life. This assignment is the final for the course and should be between 3500-4000 words.

5. Required Readings

Total Pages: 473

Sourced by Participants

McLuhan, Marshall, and Quentin Fiore. The Medium is the Massage: an Inventory of Effects. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press, 2001. [UofT: St. Michael’s College Library: P90 .M258 2001]

Total Pages Read: 85

Galloway, Alexander R. Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004. [Trinity College Library: TK5105.59 .G35 2004 ; UofT e-resources: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/5871126]

Total Pages Read: 110

Flusser, Vilem. Toward a Philosophy of Photography. London: Reaktion Books, 1983.

Total Pages Read: 86 [http://monoskop.org/images/c/c4/Flusser_Vilem_Towards_a_Philosophy_of_Photography.pdf]

Sconce, Jeffrey. Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003. [UofT: Robarts Library: P96 .T42 S37 2000X]

Total Pages Read: 111

Sourced By Instructor

Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in Illuminations, Essays and Reflections. London: Random House, 2002, pages 217-251.  [ICS Library: HM101 .B46 1985a]

Total Pages Read: 20

Latour, Bruno. “What Does it Mean to Be Modern”, “Humanism Redistributed” and “The Parliament of Things” in We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002, pages 1-22, 130-142. [Gerstein Library: Q175.5 .L3513 1993]

Total Pages Read: 34

Parikka, Jussi. “Mutating Media Ecologies” Continent, no. 4.2. Accessed March 7, 2015.


Total Pages Read: 16

Zielinski, Siegfried. “Introduction” In Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006, pages 1-13.  [Robarts Library: P91 .Z53813 2005X]

Total Pages Read: 11

6. Some Recommended Readings

Rheingold, Howard. Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2014. [UofT: Online 2012 ed.: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8844026]

McLuhan, Marshall, and W. Terrence Gordon. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Critical ed. Corte Maderia, CA: Gingko Press, 2003. [St. Michael’s College Library: P90 .M26 2003 SMC ; UofT e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7233825]

Parikka, Jussi. Insect Media an Archaeology of Animals and Technology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. [Gerstein Library: Q337.3 .P365 2010X ; UofT e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8842068]

Schultze, Quentin J. Communicating for Life: Christian Stewardship in Community and Media. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000. [Robarts Library: BV4319 .S39 2000X]

Romanowski, William D. Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. [Robarts Library: BR517 .R56 2012X ; UofT e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8614122]

Romanowski, William D. Pop culture Wars: Religion & the Role of Entertainment in American Life. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2008. [Robarts Library (1996 ed.): BR526 .R65 1996X ; ICS Library: BR526 .R65]

Olthuis, James. “Be(com)ing: Humankind as Gift and Call.” Philosophia Reformata 58, no. Issue 2 (1993): 153-72, [UofT e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/10084356]

Other Resources

Annotation Studio (http://www.annotationstudio.org) Google Classroom, Google Hangout

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.

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