English R1B

Reading and Composition: Reading and Writing the Digital

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Spring 2020 Zeavin, Hannah
MWF 1-2 39 Evans


In this course, we will survey the production, consumption, and study of literary texts in the digital age. Starting with a unit on writers' relations to their writing technologies, we will explore the moral panics and forms of resistance prompted by digital literature from the 1960s through to the present. Across time, cultures, and technologies we will trace anxieties surrounding labor, freedom, control, information, attention, industry, and surveillance.

We will explore digital culture in social and networked practices of writing and reading, new theories of reading in the digital moment (distance reading, surface reading), popular moral and media panics (such as the notion that Microsoft Word is ruining writing), and debates within the digital humanities, media and literary studies. Moving from Internet 1.0 to Internet 2.0, we will engage many "born-digital" and online texts, such as Michael Joyce's afternoon, William Gibson's Aggripa, and Claudio Pinhanez's "Open Diary," as well as digital literary platforms and websites. In order to better understand these texts and technologies, and their social and historical contexts, we will also look at documentary films, critiques, and histories. We will conclude the semester by looking at digital writing and its reception now, including viral literature, the instagram poetry of Rupi Kaur, and Warsan Shire's poetry in Beyoncé's Lemonade.

The semester will feaure a reoccurring peer-to-peer writing workshop as well as individual meetings with the instructor to work on writing and research skills, including digital research. Across the whole of the semester, students will write and revise essays in three dominant Internet genres: the personal essay, "the hot take," and the long form critique.

All readings will be hosted on bCourses.

(Please note the changes in the instructor and course content of this section of English R1B [as of October 21].)

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