Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our Syllabus

Critical Theory B: Democracy, Peer to Peer
Thursdays, 9-11.45, S#18
Instructor: Dale Carrico
Grade: Att/Part 10% , Essay 1 10%, Precis 10%, Report 10%, Essay 2 25%, Final 25%
Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One -- September 2

Week Two -- September 9 Laurie Anderson, "The Language of the Future"
Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas, Chapter Three: Commons on the Wires

Week Three -- September 16
Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks, Chapter 12: Conclusion
Michel Bauwens, The Political Economy of Peer Production

Week Four -- September 23
John Perry Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
Eric Hughes, A Cypherpunk's Manifesto
Vernor Vinge, Technological Singularity
Marc Steigler, The Gentle Seduction

Week Five -- September 30
Katherine Hayles, Liberal Subjectivity Imperiled: Norbert Weiner and Cybernetic Anxiety
Jaron Lanier, One Half of a Manifesto
Jaron Lanier, First Church of Robotics

Week Six-- October 7
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, California Ideology
Jedediah Purdy, God of the Digirati
Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology

Week Seven -- October 14
James Boyle, The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain
James Boyle, Enclosing the Genome?
Jessica Litman, Sharing and Stealing
Week Eight -- October 21
Screening the film, "Desk Set"

Week Nine -- October 28
David Bollier, Reclaiming the Commons
Digby (Heather Parton) The Netroots Revolution
Dan Gillmour, We the Media, Chapter One: From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond
Save the Internet, Net Neutrality FAQ

Week Ten -- November 4
Socially Engaged Art, Critics and Discontents, an Interview with Claire Bishop
Clay Shirky, Blogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing
Clay Shirky Why Micropayments Won't Work
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody, Chapter Two: Sharing Anchors Community

Week Eleven -- November 11
David Brin, Three Cheers for the Surveillance Society!
Jamais Cascio, The Participatory Decepticon
Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Material Memories

Week Twelve -- November 18
Charles Mann, Homeland Insecurity
Bruce Schneier, How Science Fiction Wrtiers Can Help, Or Hurt, Homeland Security
Lawrence Lessig, Insanely Destructive Devices

Week Thirteen -- November 25
Thanksgiving Holiday

Week Fourteen -- December 2
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
Slavoj Zizek, Bring Me My Philips Mental Jacket
Steve Mann, The Post-Cyborg Path to Deconism

Week Fifteen -- December 9
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters
Bruno Latour Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam?

Course Objectives:

One -- Introduce students to Science and Technology Studies, Media Studies, and Network Theory, and situate these in respect to broader critical theoretical discourses: Marx on fetishized commodities, Benjamin on auratic media-artifacts, Adorno on the Culture Industry, Barthes on naturalizing myth, Debord on the Spectacle, Chomsky and Herman on propaganda, Klein on the logo.

Two -- Discuss "science" as one among many forms of differently warranted belief (others: moral, legal, familial, utilitarian, religious, ethical, political, subcultural, aesthetic); discuss "technoscience" as a particular and usually at once reductive and imperializing figuration and narrativization of the scientific; discuss "technology" as the collective elaboration of agency, not so much as a constellation of artifacts and techniques but as familiarizing and de-familiarizing, naturalizing and de-naturalizing investments of environmental events with significance in the service of particular ends.

Three -- Discuss access-to-knowledge (a2k), end-to-end (e2e), many-to-many, peer-to-peer (p2p) networks, formations, ethoi as occasions for democratizing and anti-democratizing technodevelopmental social struggle; discuss "democracy" not as an eidos we approach but as ongoing interminable experimental implementations of the idea that people should have a say in the public decisions that affect them; discuss "democratization" as the struggle through which ever more people have ever more of a say in the public decisions that affect them.

Four -- Discuss the connection of a2k/p2p-formations and media/network theories grappling with these to relational, social, participatory aesthetic and curatorial practices and theories.

Five -- This course takes as its point of departure the insight that the novelties and perplexities of our experience of emerging p2p-formations are, on the one hand, clarified when understood in light of the unique formulations of Hannah Arendt's political thinking but also that these novelties and perplexities provide, on the other hand, illustrations through which to better understand Hannah Arendt's political thinking in its own right: Discussions will include her delineation of the political (as a site other than the private, the social, the violent, the cultural), her notion of the peer (as someone other than the citizen, the intimate, the colleague, the subject, the celebrity), and her accounts of civitas, revolution, public happiness, futurological think-tanks and AI, and totalitarianism both as manifested historically in Nazism and potentially in neoliberalism.

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