American Studies | Colloquium in American Studies / Topic: Studies in Contemporary Communication
G620 | 11006 | Ilana Gershon


Monday, 2:30 - 5:00 p.m.
4 credit hours
Instructor: Ilana Gershon
Class meets with CMCL-C626 and CULS-C701

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, 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 commalities and the technologies that enable these
commonalities to emerge.