Communication and Culture | Media Theory
C410 | 1175 | M. Mallapragada


This course will introduce you to the key theories and practices of
the World
Wide Web. Ever since the so-called Web revolution of the early
nineties, the
Web has emerged as a popular medium of communication, commerce,
culture and
community. Media scholars studying the Web have been particularly
concerned
with issues such as its “new media” or “digital” character, virtual
reality,
the cyborg self, cyber community, media convergence, the digital
divide,
the “free” Web, e-commerce and the like. While the Web is certainly
not
the “world wide” phenomenon it was envisaged to be, it is
nevertheless, a
crucial force in the contemporary transnational flows of media and
communication. While it is “new” in some respects, the Web is also
shaped by
the politics and practices of the “old media” or traditional media
such as
television and film. At the same time, the Web bears testimony to some
very
innovative, oftentimes unexpected, uses of media to address issues of
culture
and capital. In this course, we will examine the Web in its diverse
institutional and cultural contexts to address its role and politics
in the
contemporary world. While we will delve into the some of the key
practices
shaping the contemporary Web, we will also attempt to locate some of
these
practices within a historical context that is shaped by the media
technologies
preceding the Web.