Theodor Frederick Hiebert
Examines a variety of issues involved in understanding different forms of media and their impact on our lives, in contexts spanning from local to global, using a wide range of theoretical, disciplinary, and methodological approaches.
MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY & SOCIETY
This course explores the changing impact of technology and media -- in forms as diverse as television, music, biotechnology, the internet, virtual reality and mobility -- on contemporary politics, culture and society.
Contemporary society, for good or for bad, is increasingly saturated by media and technology. The accelerated pace of technological advance transforms our world from one day to the next, rendering each new computer redundant within a year of purchase, each new cell quickly usurped by its faster, and more featured, next generation model. And, as technology changes, so do ideologies begin to shift as well -- as we wire up new technologies, so too are we entangled by and within these innovations and advancement. For many, land phones are quickly becoming a thing of the past, time spent online has begun to exceed time time watching television, music is more commonly encountered through personalized earbuds than communal stereos or live performance. In fact, we may actually be so wired into technology that a disconnect is no longer even, strictly speaking, possible. We live in a culture of speed, of rapid change, of dynamic innovation and technological advance -- and it is a culture in which no aspect of politics, society or personal understanding is left undisturbed.
This course aims at cultivating a critical framework for thinking the question of media, technology and politics, through the careful study of a diverse range of perspectives – from political theorists, advertisers, programmers, artists and engineers. At the same time, this course will require that we engage in the development and articulation of our own individual relations to, opinions on, and analysis of technological being in the 21st century.
Student learning goals
develop a critical awareness of current questions in media, technology and society;
cultivate a self-reflective perspective with regard to their own places in a technological society;
explore the ideological impact of technological society and change;
engage with questions of media production from a critical perspective.
General method of instruction
This course will involve a combination of lectures, readings, presentations and in-class discussion. Students will be expected to develop their own perspectives and topics of focus, in the context of material discussed in class. There will be a media project assigned and discussed as part of the course requirements.
No advanced preparation is required.
Class assignments and grading
Grades will be based on a combination of writing assignments, a media project and participation in class discussions.