Cultural Studies | Special Topics in Cultural Studies: Publics
C701 | 15474 | Gershon
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.