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Indiana University
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Cultural Studies Program

Courses :: CULS C701 Topic: Publics

How can we understand the different ways that publics are composed? This course takes publics to be a distinctive way for linking selves and social unities which relies on technologies, loosely defined. To ask about publics one must analyze the techniques by which they are constituted. As a result the technological medium becomes central to the question of what is a public.  That is to say, the medium through which the circulation and creation of a public occurs is central to constituting a public.  How are publics constituted using different technologies, and how do these socially constituted
technologies affect the publics and people using them?

This course sets out to answer this question by exploring publics from a variety of theoretical and ethnographic angles. Topics covered include the importance of technological structures in
shaping publics, the ways in which publics transcend the here-and- now, and the complex relationship between publics and persons. We consider the ways in which personhood is evoked by different
publics, as well as exploring how and when publics are culturally specific.  In short, we discuss the benefits and costs of using publics as an analytical lens for understanding historically contingent commonalities and the technologies that enable these commonalities to emerge.