Communication and Culture | Topics in Media History ( From Orality to the Internet)
C420 | 13710 | Striphas, T

CMCL-C 420: Topics in Media History
(Topic: From Orality to the Internet)
Class Number: 13710

MW, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, C2 203

Fulfills College S&H Requirement
Carries College Intensive Writing Credit
A portion of this class reserved for majors

Instructor: Ted Striphas
Office: C2 213
Phone: 856-7868
ˇ§New technologies is a historically relative term,ˇ¨ writes media
historian Carolyn Marvin.  By this she means that each and every
technology was once considered to be new at some point in history.
Even those that may seem antiquated by todayˇ¦s standards ˇV objects
like the telegraph, gramophone, typewriter, and others ˇV once
carried with them both the promise and peril that today we see
associated with the internet, iPods, HDTV, smart phones, and more.
The bottom line is that all media, new or old, have a history, one
that intersects with and influences larger trends.  C420
investigates these histories by exploring the conditions leading to
the emergence of particular media forms at specific times and
places.  It is concerned above all with the political, economic,
social, and cultural struggles surrounding ˇ§new media,ˇ¨ or the
relationship between media and practices of social control and

C420 focuses on a number of dominant, residual, and emergent
communication technologies, including the spoken word, writing,
printing, telegraphy, telephony, sound recording, and a range of
digital devices.  In so doing, this class will engage key debates
surrounding the history of specific media, and of media in general.
The goals for this course are threefold.  First, it will explore the
strange and exciting history of media, which moves back and forth
between monks slavishly copying books by hand, prisoners whose
bodies were transformed into sound recording instruments,
practitioners of the occult attempting to communicate with the dead,
and people trying to transcend their bodies by connecting themselves
to computers.  Second, this course will challenge commonsense
assumptions about the role of media in history and everyday life.
And finally, it will encourage you to develop your own research
skills as a critical-historian of media.

„«	Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early
Modern Europe
„«	Carolyn Marvin, When Old Technologies Were New
„«	Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the
„«	Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Googlization of Everything (And Why
We Should Worry)

There will also be some supplementary articles by James W. Carey,
Lawrence Lessig, John Durham Peters, Jonathan Sterne, and Raymond
Williams, among possible others.

Evaluation will be based on: attendance and participation; a group
presentation/facilitation; one shorter paper; and a substantive,
multi-stage research project (which will include an annotated
bibliography, a prospectus, and a final research paper).