Below is the list of topics that we will be working from for this class. We do not have time to get through them all. So, below this list, you will find a form for you to fill out and indicate your top three choices as well as your scheduling preference. Based on the results of this form, I will be scheduling the semester’s calendar:
- Gender Matters: One fundamental “marker” of our identity is our gender. While it’s convenient to think of gender (and sexual identity) as a static and straightforward concept, the digital revolution is forcing us to rethink these assumptions.
- The Digital Divide: Since the dawn of the Web, people have been talking about whether or not there is a digital divide that grows out of our socio-economic differences. We’ll be talking about these issues and exploring whether this divide exists now.
- Race and Ethnicity: When our identity is formed through a virtual presentation built by ourselves and others, markers of race and ethnicity can become muddled and complicated. We’ll be exploring these topics within the context of online communities and our increasingly globalized society.
- Living and Lying Online: The Web enables a myriad of positive and powerful human connections, but it also makes it easier than ever to misrepresent ourselves to others. How have digital spaces complicated our understanding of truth?
- The Politics of Participation: Beyond chat roulette and cat blogging, “serious” stuff is happening online, too. This week we’ll be looking at the Web through the lens of politics and activism.
- The Wisdom of the Crowd: Within the last 5-6 years, the Web has increasingly developed as a place where people can easily collaborate and connect within communities. Is what results from these collaborations greater than its individual parts? Are we truly witnessing crowd-sourced knowledge or are we diluting the notion of expertise?
- Subcultures: The theory of the “long-tail” posits that the Web makes it easier than ever to connect around ideas that are not mainstream or popular. This phenomenon makes it possible for subcultures of individuals to find each other like never before. Is this good? Bad? or Ugly?
- Virtual Crime: Most of our notions of crime are tied to physical objects, bodies, and spaces. What happens when people start breaking the law without the ties of the physical? From piracy to virtual rape we’ll be exploring this idea.
- Fan Culture: One of the most powerful cultural phenomenon’s to develop on the Web is the rise of participatory, fan culture. We’ll look at how fans are becoming connected to their objects of obsession and how those objects (and their studios/producers/”owners”) are reacting.