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First-Year Writing Seminar: Thinking and Writing Through New Media

Semester and Year FA 2015
Course Number FIRST-UG404
Section 001
Instructor Paul Fess
Days MW
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


Our society has a complex relationship with technology, one that is persistent and evolving, beneficial and dangerous. Students in this course will work in small learning communities to investigate such technological issues as censorship and surveillance, the paradoxes of the synthetic, social media-driven life, and the affordances and pitfalls of technological developments. In pursuing these lines of inquiry, we will pay attention to how developments in writing technologies affect our writing processes, and by engaging in comparative media studies, we will use our own experience to understand and question historical information revolutions since the invention of the alphabet. As we examine these areas we will discuss the critical theory of Donna Haraway and N. Katherine Hayles along side new media theory critics like Johanna Drucker and Matthew Kirschenbaum. Readings may include:  Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury , Oryx and Crake  by Margaret Atwood ,  and  The Circle  by Dave Eggers .   Together, we will undertake a series of new media experiments, using digital tools to communicate our research to a public audience. On the course blog, students will analyze the digital objects on which they are dependent by applying the insights gained from engaging with the literary texts and theory. Students will express the results of their exploration in well-developed, thesis-driven, analytical essays accompanied by digital representations of their findings. During the semester you will design your own Word Press project, and in crafting your project you will engage various tools such as Zotero, Evernote, Diigo, and digital mapping applications.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)