English 25: Literature and the Information, Media, and Communication Revolutions
Quarter: Spring 2021
Class Meeting Time: MWF, 1:00-1:50pm (Pacific time)
Location: Lectures given synchronously at this Zoom URL (passcode required after March 29) (Lectures will also be recorded)
Instructor: Alan Liu | Office Hours: Wed. 2-3 pm (Office hours Zoom)
Highlights of the Course
(see Schedule & Assignments for more information)
Course content units:
- Literature Across Media Ages
- The Communication/Information Age — Information’s impact on what we mean by “meaning”
- The Postindustrial & Neoliberal Age — Information’s impact on work and power
- Processing Literature — Information’s impact on the way we study literature
- Novelists: Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49), William Gibson (Neuromancer)
- Media theorists: Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, N. Katherine, Lev Manovitch, etc.
- Historians and theorists of communication/computing: Claude Shannon, Warren Weaver, Vannevar Bush, etc.
- Business historians & theorists on the information age: Joseph Schumpeter, Shoshana Zuboff, Peter Senge, Manuel Castells, etc.
- Critics, cyberlibertarians, and hackers of the information age: John Perry Barlow, Critical Art Ensemble, Donna Haraway, Jodi, etc.
- Theorists and practitioners of the new “digital humanities”: Franco Moretti, The Stanford Literary lab, Ted Underwood, etc.
- Theorists of digital “deformance” and “glitch”: Lisa Samuels, Jerome McGann, Mark Sample, Rosa Menkman, etc.
- Short essay in which you imagine what computing will be like in the year 2050.
- Short essay on Thomas Pynchon’s novel.
- Short essay on Being Human in the Digital Age
- Optional: Spreadsheet & Short Essay: spreadsheet comparing work life of a student and your imagined life in your desired future career, accompanied by short essay on “Being Human in the Age of Information Knowledge Work”
- Optional: Text-analysis exercise on a work of literature accompanied by short commentary.
Exams: (mostly “factual” in nature)
- Mid-term exam
- Final exam