[NetBehaviour] Two early Internet course descriptions:
sondheim at panix.com
Sat Jan 18 06:23:01 CET 2020
Two early Internet course descriptions:
( Early for me; I began teaching in 1994: Internet Access, New
School Computer Instruction Center, 1994-7 Before and After the
Information Superhighway, New School, 1994-5 Cyberspace, Film/Video
Arts, 1994-5. I'm trying to figure out how to rewrite/rethink all
of this for an upcoming online course. One obvious problem: The
sheer amount of material to be covered today is overwhelming! )
(below from 1994)
POSTMODERNISM AND NEW MEDIA: BEFORE AND AFTER THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY
With public attention drawn to the 'information highway,' camcorders,
multimedia, and a host of other information technologies, it is
apparent that a revolution in communications is underawy. We will
examine this transformation, using postmodernism and contemporary
media theory. In so doing, we will focus on both past and future,
from the history of television and radio to the 'transparent' virtual
reality world of the next millennium.
This course is a must for anyone interested in contemporary modes of
entertainment or communication. Everything from a brief non-technical
overview of the technologies involved, to the actual content of these
modes, will be presented, including the new forms of subjectivity and
personal communications (such as computer bulletin boards) that are
emerging. Issues of space and time in virtual reality will also be
Topics include digital vs. analog communications, the internet, the
'new information order,' gender and communications, postmodern
geography and telecommunications, computer bulletin boards, camcorder
aesthetics (including issues of privacy, sexuality, oral history, and
personal expression), multi-media at home and business, the emergence
of new `languages' of expression, and an overview of recent (1895-
the present) communications history.
Because of the fast-changing media landscape, texts will be chosen
several weeks before the course. The following list is tentative:
1. Mark Poster, Mode of Information
2. David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity
3. Thomas Docherty, ed. Postmodernism: A Reader
4. Geoffrey Reeves, Communications and the 'Third World'
5. Avital Ronell, The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia,
6. Alan Sondheim, ed. Future Culture issue, Art Papers, (available
as texts before 1995 publication)
7. Alan Sondheim, Internet Text in Perforations 7
8. Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women
9. Downloaded texts from the Internet, including Jack Frost on
cyberpoetics, and (with permission), material from
Postmodern Culture magazine.
10. Magazines include: Mondo 2000, Wired, Perforations, and
Boardwatch and other computer magazines.
(below from 2001)
Internet Culture and Community (for catalog):
We will take a critical look at the Internet in all its forms and
uses. From the demographics and history of the Internet, to issues
of online art, sex, culture, and politics, we consider the
revolutionary and innovative aspects of this world-wide
communication network. The course is essential for anyone hoping to
understand our situation at the beginning of the twenty-first
Internet Culture and Community Alan Sondheim
This course is designed to give students a broad overview of the
past, present, and future Internet, including its history,
sociology, and anthropology. We will focus on the development of
online communities - their ideologies, software structures, and
demographics. Newsgroups, chats, email lists, MUDs, MOOs, and
text-based, graphic or 3-d meeting spaces will be considered. We
will also look at the construction of the "online subject" or user,
and deal with issues such as "Internet addiction," Net
relationships and sexuality, and Net art/culture in general. We'll
pay attention to the ethos of hacking, the open software source
movement, and the Net from an international standpoint. This course
is useful for understanding the Net in depth; it has practical
application as well for anyone working on on-line sites.
Alan Sondheim email: sondheim at panix.com
CDROM (described in the first session)
Arbyte, Leonardo, and American Book Review issues (on reserve)
Digital Identity (on reserve)
Read Me (on reserve)
Being on Line (on reserve)
Peter Salus, Casting the Net: From ARPANET to INTERNET and
Espen Aarseth, Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature
Brenda Laurel, Computers as Theater
David Porter, editor, Internet Culture
Steven Jones, editor, Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated
Communication and Community
Kiersten Conner-Sax and Ed Krol, The Whole Internet: The Next
David Bell and Barbara Kennedy, editors, The Cybercultures Reader
1 Introduction - The current state of the Internet. Who is using
it, what is it, what are the services and applications associated
with it? What are the current demographics? Introduction to
cdrom, other course materials. Description of the term project.
2 Some Net history - check out RFC directory. Direct-connect and
packet- switching networks. Early Net as text-driven,
non-commercial. Arpanet and NSF-run Net. Early spamming. Net
privatization. Steven Levy's Hackers, Peter Salus' work. Please
see the RFC and HISTORY directories. Early Net ethos, "feel."
Phenomenology of text-based user interfaces. Fidonet, Computer
Bulletin Boards. The Internet and issues of censorship, terror-
ism, and privacy (introduction). The case of anon.penet.fi. AOL's
release of 2m subscribers. See Hobbes timeline - read from
timeline in Sean Geer's Pocket Internet.
3 Modalities of the Internet (MULTI directory): presentation of the
self in everyday virtual life. Phenomenology of analog and
digital. Modernisms and postmodernisms in relation to electronic
communication. The wired and the non-wired: disparate communities
under the aegis of global capitalisms and communalities. Please
check the IRC and KYOKO directories. Kyoko Date, Ananova, Webbie
4 The future state of the Internet. Where is it going in the next
few years? Will it be able to keep pace with the increasing
number of users? How are demographics changing? Entertainment vs.
information visions. The other visions of business and community:
How do applications such as the World Wide Web determine what is
possible on the Net? How is the user "configured" by these
applications? The Cathedral and the Bazaar - open source
communications. Peer-to-peer communications and community. The
Net and bombing of the World Trade Center.
5 Email lists: Please check the ELIST, CYBRMIND and HISTORY
directories. Issues of governance, newbies, old-timers,
moderation, etc. Types of lists, filtering. Various list
software. Earlier modes: mail, coffee- houses, ham and cb radio,
experimental television. IRC and Chat (AOL, ICQ, CUSEEME, and so
forth); please check the IRC directory. Also: history of online
communities including Fidonet; computer bulletin-boards; spread
of computer Networks world-wide.
6 Net art and net.art - see the American Book Review issue on
Codework - content in relation to code. Modernist approaches.
Please check the ART directory. Issues of online collaboration in
Net art and community. Stelarc's work, jodi, antiorp,
eusocial.com, etc. The webartery list, net-art.org, etc.
7 Synchronous and asynchronous applications. What constitutes a
database? What audio and video modalities are becoming available
and how do these affect the user? Many-to-many, one-to-one,
one-to-many, many-to- one applications. What is the future of
"virtual persona" or "avatars" on the Net? Julia, Stelarc's work.
Interfaces: Open software movement, Linux, prompt and GUI
phenomenology. Use Norwegian magazine from 1994.
8 Issues of the body: reading through the text, hysteria, net.sex
and the "ascii unconscious," postmodernism and the fragmented
self. Sex, love, and death in cyberspace. Cyberspace relations
and the nuclear family. Internet marriages and relationships.
Aguirre, Mandeville, and sexualities on the frontier. Issues of
9 Virtual subjectivity. Projections and introjections. "Reality"
and the grain of the voice, death and rape in cyberspace.
Hallucinatory personalities, Net personalities. Various spaces in
Cyberspace: MOOs, Usenet, email lists. Phenomenology of MOOs.
ERGODIC literature - Aarseth's definitions (in Aarseth,
Cybertext). Please check the MOO and KYOKO directories.
10 Privacy, security, community, and confession on the Net. Groups
and counter-groups. Alt.society.neutopia and the monster-truck
neutopians. Alt.angst, Walkers in Darkness, and other support
newsgroups and email lists. Please check the IRC directory.
11 Hacking, cracking, and the anarcho-libertarian aspects of the
Net. Spamming. The changing demographics/cultures as a result of
the World Wide Web. The future of the Web, chat-lines, and so
forth. Please check PHRACK directory. "Hacker ethos."
12 Community Organization: Forms of outreach. Freenets, Community
Access Points, conferencing tools and strategies. Kiosks, from
government to Siggraph. Please check ARTICLES directory. Medical
models and bottom-up organization.
13 Strategies for research and organizing information and
personal/formal databanks. Search engines and Boolean searching.
Web page information structure and philosophy: access for all.
Net business and Net security. Net censorship again: Issues of
14 April 27 Course overview.
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