[NetBehaviour] Internet Culture and Community course looking for a home

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Jun 23 08:25:41 CEST 2020

Internet Culture and Community course looking for a home


Looking for part-time online teaching work, re. below - if you have
any ideas, please back-channel and let me know.

The following is a very rough outline drawn from the initial course
proposal; it wasn't the formal application.

"Just found out today that my online course on 'Internet Culture
and Community' at U. Nebraska, Omaha, has been canceled, due to
budget cuts. If anyone at a school thinks a course like this would
be of interest there, please let me know. It was online, one
semester, open to anyone, especially liberal arts students. Thanks,
Alan" (from Facebook)

The original proposal was presented to the University of Nebraska,
Omaha; it was accepted. It took two years literally to get it
approved. Now I have the materials, and would like to teach the
class somewhere else. It's completely online. I'm not asking for
anything beyond some funding, and hopefully community. Here's part
of the original proposal:

I want to propose a course dealing with the origins, theory, and
practice of Internet art and culture; I know this is broad.
Depending on the level of the students, I could use the writings of
Peter Salus, for example, on early Net culture (I also have some
original xeroxed documents here, going all the way back to
1968-71). I'd want to cover newsgroups, Fidonet, text-based
applications like MOOs, MUDs, IRC, even ytalk, etc., and then move
into early graphic applications like ThePalace and other virtual
worlds at the time. Then everything 'explodes,' in a sense -
covering NASA, Google and Google maps/worlds, Facebook, mobile
apps, etc., and thinking about all of these in terms of media and
corporate ecologies. Topics would include issues of fake news,
online and offline racism, "darknet" organizing, bullying, media
control, and so forth. All of this would be coupled with
consideration of the distinction between the analog and digital,
which I feel in fundamental; it's something I've written about a
great deal. We would even begin with the abacus, to talk about the
distinction, as well as such things as potential wells and noise on
the line. We'd move through issues of bot veracity, addiction, the
commons, and neoliberal control. We'd look at Twitter and other
current social apps. Topics would change as online changes, almost
minute by minute.

Everything necessary for the course is online. Again, depending on
the structure (lecture course or seminar), I would ask for
individual research papers or presentations. At this point, we
would also look at issues of hacking and dissemination of
conspiracies. And we would also look fundamentally at online art,
ranging from Jodi to Stelarc to Second Front and a host of artists
working with community and alternative approaches to being online.

I want to thank everyone who contributed suggestions for the

Again, suggestions more than welcomed.


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