Spring 2023 Graduate Course on Media Archaeology

ENGL 561: Studies in Technology and Culture: Media Archaeology

This course will act as an introduction to the multidisciplinary field of media archaeology, which studies the residual forms and practices of media as a critique of contemporary media culture. Focusing particularly on quirks, accidents, and haphazard inventions, media archaeology imagines alternate histories and futures of technology. Additionally, it combines these cultural histories of technology with a focus on the media operative capabilities of time-critical devices and geological and environmental phenomena to demonstrate how media process our experiences of history and temporality. While the beginning weeks of the course focuses on canonical writings, like Walter Benjamin’s examination of the transformation of artworks when subjected to technological reproduction and Marshall McLuhan’s elucidation of media as extending the human sensorium; the majority of the course applies Benjamin and McLuhan’s focus on media materiality to range of subjects often not explicitly associated with media archaeology, but the course will show how these texts provide crucial interventions into a field that is often too centered on white and European theoretical traditions. These include: racist infrastructure and surveillance, cybernetics and critical theory, environmental humanities and animal phenomenology, and revolutionary politics and guerilla tactics. Course requirements include two presentation and a seminar paper, or digital or pedagogical project. 

Possible Books Include: 
Jussi Parikka, Operative Images
Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan, Code: From Information Theory to French Theory
Melody Jue, Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater
Simone Brown, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness
Melissa Duarte, Network Sovereignty: Building the Internet Across Indian Country
Eden Medina, Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile
Shane Denson, Discorellated Images

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