Courses Taught by the Scholarship Technology Group
CSP 11: Copyright and Culture Suzanne Scott Fall 2012
Course Website: http://oxycopyrightandculture.wordpress.com/
From the printing press to thepiratebay.org, copyright law and culture have had a contested relationship. This course will survey contemporary clashes over intellectual property, with an emphasis on fair use and free culture debates. Some central questions the course will pose include: Where is the legal and cultural line drawn between sampling and stealing? What makes a fan-produced text transformative rather than derivative? Why do we remain so invested in authorship and authenticity? And, finally, how can we collectively navigate copyright’s culture of fear and doubt and reclaim fair use as cultural consumers and producers? Readings include work by Walter Benjamin, Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, Roland Barthes, Lawrence Lessig, and Henry Jenkins, among others. Screenings will include examples of remix culture and fans’ transformative works, The Star Wars Holiday Special, South Park, and Rip! A Remix Manifesto. In addition to honing their argumentative writing skills, students will create arguments through remix videos and other multimedia forms, asserting their copyrights and embodying the read/write culture championed by Lessig and other scholars.
MUSC 112: Digital Vernacular Music-Cultures Wendy Hsu Spring 2013
Course Website: http://cdlrsandbox.org/wordpress/digitalmusiccultures/
Pop music blogs, online social networks, home recording studios, and mashup/remix communities are emerging musical spaces in the digital era. In this course we will study music-cultures that are enabled and generated by digital media and technology. We ask broadly, how the digital shape the mode of production, transmission, and reception of contemporary popular music. Using principles of ethnomusicology, we will examine how music as a “digital vernacular” creates a sense of place and self in the increasingly globalized world; how social, media, and technological institutions organize 21-century music participation at the grassroots, independent-level. We will approach these questions with a two-prong approach: critical commentary and making. First, we will read critical literature from ethnomusicology, sociology, and media studies that address the relationship between music, technology, and culture. We will also engage in the practice of making digital media, experimenting with technology in ways that go beyond the consumer roles that we are often expected to play. Example course themes include: remix/mashup, 2.0 (new) world music, analog revival, DIY experimental noise/music, video game music, mp3 culture, and mobile music production. Students will apply course concepts to their own experience, researching a digital music-culture of their choice. By the end of the course, students will be able to address debates about the values of digital cultural production with evidence about its process and effects; and gain skills in media analysis, (digital) field research, and basic new media production.
CSP 26: Fandom and Participatory Culture Suzanne Scott Fall 2012
Course Website: http://cdlrsandbox.org/wordpress/csp26fall2011/
Through readings, visual projects, writing exercises, and class presentations this course will explore, examine, and analyze the complex relationship between Composition, Editing, Production Design (Settings and Costumes), and Lighting that creates the images of narrative film. Our framework will be the investigation of the basic principles of visual storytelling and the development of a set of evaluative criteria with which to critique the form, content, and style of various eras and genres -- mystery, Western, epic, and musical. Students will be encouraged to incorporate and synthesize methodology from a variety of sources and disciplines in their work. The goal of the course is for the student to develop a greater understanding of how visual storytelling functions as well as an awareness of the applications and implications of the principles outside the cinema. The focus of the course will be to develop the student's critical eye and writing skills. Open only to first year frosh.
CSP 60: From Cities to Cybercities Daniel Chamberlain Spring 2013
Course Website: http://cdlrsandbox.org/wordpress/cybercities/
This course will consider the role of critical infrastructures in the construction of the urban experience, with a special emphasis on the development of contemporary media and communications systems. In the first part of the course we will briefly explore the historical development of a broad set of urban systems, including roads, shipping, air, water, energy, and waste networks. After developing an appreciation for the classic elements of the urban infrastructure, we will turn our attention to the history and development of information and communication systems, including telegraph and phone systems, broadcast media, cable and satellite systems, mobile phone networks, and the agglomeration of data centers and networks that constitute the internet. As we work through these concepts, students will engage in practices of critical making, using digital tools and services to produce the work of the course. Along with a series of engaging readings, relevant screenings, technology demonstrations, and written work, these critical making projects will help us consider the ways in which cyber-infrastructures enable and limit our digital lifestyles, facilitate social networking, and enable regimes of surveillance. By the end of the course students will have a solid understanding of the theoretical and practical ways in which these infrastructural systems collectively constitute complex networked ecologies, and a final research project will allow each student to more deeply investigate and share findings about a specific aspect of these systems.
CSP 61: Liberal Arts at the Brink? Navigating the "Crisis in Higher Education" Carey Sargent Spring 2013
Course Website: http://makingliberalarts.wordpress.com/
Unemployment, student loan debt, and protest are colliding with rising education costs, endowment building, branding wars, and labor outsourcing. At this tumultuous moment in higher education, this course asks students to reflect on the fate of liberal arts education through a focused analysis of its past and present. Specifically, how do economic pressures and technological innovations impact the sustainability of liberal arts values such as social justice, serving the public good, and cultivating a "life of the mind"? Students will debate and synthesize arguments about the value and sustainability of liberal arts education by viewing higher education from the perspective of private corporations, governments, college administrators, faculty, parents, and students. In so doing, students will learn to situate their personal experiences within broader institutional, historical, economic and political contexts. Through reflective essays that incorporate both primary and secondary sources, students will develop critical thinking skills, authorial voice, and a sense of ownership over their own education. They will also be introduced to interviewing techniques and textual analysis that will serve as a basis for future independent research.
CSP 23: Media Revolutions: The Information Economy from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Adrianne Wadewitz Fall 2012
Course Website: http://cdlrsandbox.org/wordpress/mediarevolutions/
In this course, we'll explore how a variety of media revolutions, from the explosion of mass-produced print, the introduction of photography and the radio, to the rise of the internet, have altered Western Europe and the United States. We will ask how different media have shaped our understanding of what constitutes "news" as a conceptual category, how media have generated a public sphere, how media have altered our notions of intellectual property, how media have constructed our ideas about obscenity and pornography and created celebrity culture. We will think about how all of these discourses proliferated in a variety of forms, from pamphlets to broadsides to radio programs to blogs and tweets. We will also ask what the future of media is and experiment with a variety of technologies for communicating arguments and ideas. Students will investigate a wide variety of texts from 18th-century ballads to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds to Wikipedia articles.
CSP 27: Race & Gender in Popular Music Wendy Hsu Fall 2011
Course Website: http://cdlrsandbox.org/wordpress/racegenderpop/
Can we hear identifiers of gender and race in music? How can musical sound, image, performance, and even performer become gendered and racialized? How does music shape and reflect racial and gender relations and inequalities in the society? In what ways do individuals of particular racial or gender groups use music to express their identity? This course explores the relationship between popular music, gender, and race, with a focus on, but not excluded to, popular music emerged in 20th and 21st century in the United States. We will read ethnographic and historical studies of music performed by groups and individuals of various gender, sexuality, race, and ethnic groups. We will also read criticism of contemporary musical representations while analyzing their music and image. By the end of the course, the students will gain a sense of the role of music in the lives of the focused ethnic and gender groups and how issues of race and gender impact the experience of popular music within and across the U.S. borders over time.
CSP 24: Social Media and Surveillance Daniel Chamberlain Fall 2011
Course Website: http://cdlrsandbox.org/wordpress/csp24fall2011/
This course will consider the practices, gadgets, institutions, and ideologies that support and constrain the production of distinct techno-social identities. As we unpack such high-profile aspects of the digital era as social networks, pervasive computing, timeshifting, cloud computing, and configurable culture, our conceptual approach to understanding these digital lifestyles will be framed by a critical inquiry into the linked rise of social media and surveillance. In addition to developing an understanding of how and why we engage certain tools and networks, we will explore how these systems enable the production of knowledge about ourselves. As we work through these concepts, students will be expected to engage in practices of critical making, using digital tools and services to produce the work of the course. Along with a series of engaging readings, relevant screenings, technology demonstrations, and written work, these critical making projects will help us challenge the consumerist tendencies of digital lifestyles and consider the role of digital media in social reflection and engagement. By the end of the course we will have developed a solid understanding of the theoretical and practical issues engendered by social media and surveillance, and project work will allow each student to more deeply explore particular aspects of this phenomenon.
ARTM 348: Topics in Digital Culture. Games, Play, and ARGs Suzanne Scott Spring 2013
Course Website: http://oxyarg.wordpress.com/
Games are an integral part of our culture, and new technologies are expanding the field of games and game studies. This course focuses specifically on ARGs (Alternate Reality Games), which take the real world as their primary "platform," using mobile technologies to orchestrate and execute interactive experiences for users. Beginning with a historical and formal overview of game design and theories of play, we will analyze ARGS designed for entertainment, environmental, and educational initiatives, critically examining their potentialities and limitations as both an emergent storytelling form and tool for social activism. The course will culminate in an intensive praxis assignment in which students collaboratively design a small-scale ARG to be played within the space of Oxy's campus and surrounding neighborhood.
CSP 70: Two Cultures/Kul'tura Dva: Modern Media Through the Soviet Looking Glass Chris Gilman Spring 2013
We live in an age of permanent media revolution. Our reality culture was foretold by the Russian Avant-garde, who also left us keys for hacking its codes. This course looks at the history and theory of semiotics, the study of visual, verbal and other sign systems, for perspective on today’s digital utopias.
Comp 155: Web Design and Programming Wendy Hsu and Daniel Chamberlain Fall 2012
Course Website: http://cdlrsandbox.org/wordpress/webmaking155/
This course will introduce and critically situate the concepts required to design, build, and program an interactive web site. We will begin the course by reviewing the histories and technical foundations of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and practices of web design. As we work through the fundamentals of of markup, styling, and programming, we will also explore concepts of prototyping, interaction, user experience, and responsive design. During the course of the semester we will explore tools for analyzing code, practice building pages from scratch, and will learn how to hack existing platforms. With a fundamental understanding of the history and practice of web design in place, we will further develop our skills through collaborative project work aimed at producing a set of live web sites. This synthetic approach to webmaking will allow students to develop a critical understanding of this fundamental medium, a facility with the methods and techniques of web design, and an appreciation for the computational and algorithmic systems the underlie modern technological (and social) systems.
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