This is an update to this post. While my class on Internet Culture was initially approved, it wasn’t going to be able to count as a Global Studies course. They’ve asked me to instead reteach “Information Technology & Social Movements.” I’m a bit disappointed as I was dreaming of nyan cats – but, the more mainstream info tech and protesty course is also fun. For any potential students–and I have been contacted by several–the class does include coverage of about Anonymous, WikiLeaks, The Pirate Bay/Pirate Party/filesharing, and other internety culture things–just a slightly different focus. I will be modifying the course slightly based on the winter experience.
I will leave the rest of this post up as a landmark of future intent to teach a course on this topic!
This blog post is to provide a bit more information for potential students in my BISGST 397D course this Autumn Quarter at UW, Bothell (UWB).
I taught a really fun course last quarter at UWB about information technology and social movements. During the course several students expressed interest in a course about internet culture. I proposed teaching a class about internet culture to IAS this autumn and they agreed.
I’ve created the following paragraph description for the course and I’ve updated the Time Schedule to have more information. This paragraph is still a bit rough as I’ve not had much time to focus on the course yet. However, it is a good approximation of the direction I envision the course going.
Researchers of English-speaking online communities and online phenomena have noted that there are cultural phenomena, such as “Lolcats,” that have arisen from specific online communities, spread to others, and have emerged into the “real world” as popular culture. For example, the Guy Fawkes mask used in the V for Vendetta movie was adopted by Anonymous as it became politically active and now it has become the face of post-2008 protest. This course attempts to investigate this aspect of “online culture,” in particular, the popular culture emerging from highly populated online communities. As a group we will engage with questions such as: What is “internet culture” and does it even exist as something that is analytically distinct from popular culture? What are the fountain points of internet culture and why? Why do some online communities become “meme-makers” and others do not? If there is an “internet culture” where did it come from? As a class we will begin with early forms of online communities such as bulletin board systems and move to present day culturally influential online spaces such as 4chan, Reddit, online video games, and Facebook. We will also examine other significant movements that are a part of the development of the internet, such as the open source movement and hackers. As part of the course, students will be expected to become embedded within an online community and as a group we will contextualize their experiences and the broader course materials within theoretical texts.
I will be creating this class for the first time, so I still have not worked out many of the major details. If interested students have a particular place online or theme that they would like to see included, I would encourage you to leave a comment here, send me an email, or tweet at me. This could include something that you would like to know more about or something that you are particularly interested in already. The course is still being created and so there is room to tuck new things into the syllabus.
Again, please let me know if you have questions and don’t hesitate to request particular content. Also, spread the word! The more the merrier and I’d love to have a really lively conversational/research group!