This schedule is likely to change – always check the week before readings are due.

Follow the links and read or watch assigned material before class unless otherwise stated.

Introduction: Cultural Operating Systems
Week 1: 28 January

Reading (handout to be read and discussed in class): Excerpts from Tara McPherson “U.S. Operating Systems at Midcentury”

Introductory blog post: due Friday January 30.

Unit 1: Play, Power, and Privilege

Project assignment: Make a critical game.
Use Twine to make a playable text game that responds to the “operating systems of a different order” we have been discussing. Your subject matter can be anything (games and gaming, life at UMD, high school, internet culture, a fictional world) so long as it connects to our class readings and discussions. Explain your game in an accompanying blog post.  This is an individual project. Read detailed requirements and expectations here.

Session 1: 4 February 2015
Anna Anthropy, from Rise of the Videogame Zinesters (pdf)

• Anita Sarkeesian, “Tropes Vs Women in Video Games”

Lisa Nakamura, “Queer Female Gamer of Color: The Highest Difficulty Setting There Is”

Play: Impostor Syndrome, Depression Quest, any other games you find links to.

Before or shortly after class (we will explore the software together in class then you will use it to make your own game): Install Twine on your computer.

Session 2: 11 February 2015

Student-led discussion 1

• Todd VanderWerff, “#GamerGate: Here’s Why Everyone in the Videogame World is Fighting”

• Anita Sarkeesian at TEDxWomen

Arthur Chu, “I’m Not That Creepy Guy From the Internet”

• Laura Hudson,  “Twine, the Videogame Technology For All”

Session 3: 18 February 2015

Project workshop.
Post a complete version of your project online before class.

Final version of project: due on blog Friday February 20.

Unit 2: Social Media and Social Justice

Project: Hack your digital social sphere
Find a creative way to feel out the limits of your own social networks. What structures your experience in ways you don’t usually see? Create an experiment for yourself, carry it out, and report the results. Your report must include text and screenshots; if you like, you can use video or audio recording (include a transcript) as well. This might mean experimenting with what happens to the algorithms that control your feeds when you change your behavior; it might mean tracing the history and origin of a meme; it might mean spending time on a site that you don’t typically use; it might mean researching the way your devices, software, or social networks are constructed. This may be a good project to do in pairs or small groups – discuss this among yourselves and let me know by Friday February 27 if you are planning to collaborate.

Session 1: February 25

• Eli Pariser, “Beware Online Filter Bubbles” (video).
More detail (reading not required but recommended): Pariser, from The Filter Bubble (pdf)

• danah boyd, “Inequality: Can social media resolve social divisions?” (pdf)

• Christopher Ingraham, “Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends”

• Matt Honan, “I liked everything I saw on Facebook for two days. Here’s what it did to me.”

Session 2: March 4

Student-led discussion 2

• Aditya Chakrabortty, “The Woman Who Nearly Died Making Your iPad” (Includes discussion of suicide.)

Deconstructing FoxConn (short film about labor conditions at the Chinese factory where Apple and many other electronic products are made. (Includes discussion of suicide.)

Adrian Chen, “The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed”

• Lisa Nakamura, excerpts from “‘I WILL DO EVERYthing That Am Asked’: Scambaiting, Digital Show-Space, and the Racial Violence of Social Media” (text with a line through it is non-required, recommended reading) (Includes discussion and images of racial degradation.)

Session 3: March 11

Project workshop.
Share a complete version of your project with the class.

Final version of project: due on blog Friday March 13.

March 16-20

Unit 3: #hashtagsmatter: Digital Activism

Project assignment: curate the data from an activist hashtag.
You can use the #Ferguson data that UMD has been archiving, or find your own data to engage a different hashtag. The simplest version of this would be to use Storify to select tweets, images, and videos. However I strongly encourage you to use the resources you will learn about at MITH to develop a more extensive project. This is an individual project.

Session 1: March 25
Guest lecture and discussion with Avery Dame

• Nora Daly, “Can Hashtag Activism Have Real Impact?”

• Zeyneb Tufecki, “What Happens to #Ferguson Affects Ferguson”

• Malkia A. Cyril, “Turn Up: 21st-Century Black Millennials are Bringing Direct Action Back”

• Alicia Garza, “A Herstory of the #blacklivesmatter Movement”

April 1: Special Workshop Day
Meet at MITH to learn about #Ferguson Twitter data archive

• Before session: spend at least an hour exploring #ferguson, #blacklivesmatter and related hashtags, and following links.

Session 2: April 8

Student-led discussion 3
Hashtag debates and discussions: activism and intentionality

• Susana Losa, “Hashtag Feminism, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and the Other #FemFuture”

• Julia Carrie Wong, “Who’s Afraid of Suey Park?”

• Suey Park and David Leonard, “In Defense of Twitter Feminism”

Special guest in class via Skype: Suey Park!

Session 3: April 15

Project workshop.
Post a complete version of your project online before class.

Final version of project: due on blog Friday April 17.

Unit 4: Imagining Transformations

Project assignment: Speculate a technology.
Imagine a piece of technology that doesn’t yet exist. What will its social impact be? How will it participate in the structures of race, gender, and labor? Will it encourage structural change, retrench inequality, do something different? You can use text, images, video, and/or audio to describe your technology. Your discussion of its social impact may focus on the design of the technology itself or on the different ways it will be taken up by people.This may be a good project to do in pairs or groups – discuss and let me know by Friday April 25 if you are planning to collaborate.

Session 1: April 22

• Sleep Dealer (available on ELMS from 4/20; watch on Hulu with ads; rent ad-free from Amazon for 2.99)

• Dale Hudson, “Race and Labor, Unplugged: Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer”

Nisi Shawl, Deep End

Session 2: April 29

Student led discussion 4

• Feminist Phone Intervention, “The Voice on the Line: A Reflection on Creating the Feminist Phone Intervention

• Leonie Tanczer, “Hacking the Label: Hacktivism, Race, and Gender”

• KB Boyce and Celeste Chan, “Welcome to the Queer Rebellion”

Session 3: May 6

Project workshop.
Bring the non-written component of your project to class.
Also in class: evaluations; option to present overall reflections; explanation of participation questionnaire.

Final version of project: due on blog Friday May 8.

FINAL REFLECTIONS: Post on blog by May 13.


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