Communication and Culture | New Media (Topic: Internet and Contemporary Society)
C337 | 5067 | Chmielewska, K.

M-F, 10:30 AM-11:20 AM, SY 004

Instructor: Katarzyna Chmielewska
Office: Mottier Hall 263
Phone: 855-6405

How did a small network, linking four computers in four American
universities, become a network with over 1.08 billion users
worldwide? What transformed computers from large, expensive, and
difficult to operate machines to smaller, faster, relatively
inexpensive personal computers? How did military research into
computing and building communications systems enter civilian life?
What is the Internet and why do we use it? What roles does it play
in our lives?

In this course we will examine cultural, social, and political
aspects of the Internet as well as its multiple uses and users.
Drawing from research in media studies, cultural studies,
ethnography, sociology and psychology, we will discuss such issues
as the problem of “nature” of the medium; its impact on the local,
national and global communities; blurring of the boundaries between
the virtual and the real; utopian and dystopian visions of the
Internet; bodies and identities in virtual spaces.

By the end of the semester the students should:
1. Have a general knowledge of the history of the Internet;
2. Understand and be able to apply basic theoretical concepts of the
Internet research;
3. Develop and hone their critical skills to analyze the Internet as
a cultural phenomenon;
4. Be able to relate the role of the Internet to important critical
issues such as gender, sexuality, race, power, ideology;
5. Find and develop their own thoughtful and engaged voice in the
discussions of the Internet.

Assignments will include weekly forum postings, take-home midterm
and final exams, and a research paper.

Since most of the class meetings will be discussion-driven, a
portion of the final grade will reflect the degree to which students
contribute consistently and actively.

Course readings include articles and book chapters from Howard
Rheingold, Sherry Turkle, Sandy Stone, and Susan Stryker. The
readings will be placed on e-reserves.

For more information, contact the instructor.