English R1B

Reading & Composition: What�s So New About New Media?

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2008 Franklin Melendez
MWF 10-11 222 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"David Cronenberg, Videodrome (1983); Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985);

Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira (1988); Matthew Barney, Cremaster 3 (2002); Christian Marclay, Video Quartet (2003); Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaulings (2005) "


"This course will continue to develop and polish the critical thinking and writing skills introduced in English 1A. Through the primary works of the class, we will refine close reading, analysis, argumentation and organization. In addition, we will engage a range of secondary materials, from criticism to theoretical essays. Our final project will integrate individual research. We will pursue these objectives through the course topic, which looks at the problem of New Media.

Our contemporary media landscape has been acutely affected by the digital (and its unique encoding of information). For many, the change from analog to digital marks a profound shift not only in the organization of information, but in the nature of media itself and how we engage with it. This shift amounts to a significant break with what has preceded the digital, and this is what�s touted as �new� in �New Media.� It�s clear that we�re plugged into a multitude of information sources (the internet, virtual reality, video games, ipods, etc.), and questions of simulation, interface and interactivity are increasingly pressing, but the jury is still out on whether this adds up to a new information age, or simply an acceleration of what came before. The course will historicize discourses of New Media, examining the emergence of other �new� technologies such as film, television and video. What do these earlier technologies reveal about the digital landscape? How has our fundamental relation to information changed? What anxieties does do they activate?

The class will engage these questions through a wide variety of objects: examples of previous �new� media, narratives organized around the status of technology, and, of course, a wide range of New Media artworks. The class will also include numerous field trips and screenings at SFMOMA and the PFA."

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