students at UC Santa Barbara with an undergraduate
and graduate curriculum focused on the relation
between literature and information culture. Each
course integrates training in new technologies
and media with intellectual inquiry into the present
and past of information culture (the relations
between oral, written, printed, audio-visual,
and digital cultures). (See About
Transcriptions Curriculum in project description.)
Undergraduate courses count for the UCSB English
Department's specialization in Literature
& the Culture of Information (LCI).
Course web sites are usually created shortly
before the relevant academic quarter, though
descriptions of courses are available as early
as a quarter in advance. (UCSB's academic year
starts in late Sept. each year).
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Serial Media , Charlotte Becker (undergraduate).
This course will explore practices of serialization beginning with the innovative phenomenon of 19th-century serial fiction, and will extend to analyses of the ways that various media—including radio, television, and the internet—have subsequently adopted and adapted serial formats. Discussion and reading topics will include the authorial practices, copyright issues, economic concerns, and social/cultural responses related to serial media. Through these discussions we will develop a vocabulary to discuss narrative techniques that make a serial format effective, and to describe the unique features of each series with which we engage. Major coursework will include a piece of online serial fiction (written in collaboration with classmates) and a critical essay on a serial publication. Required Texts:
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
Henry James, Henry James: Selected Stories
Course reader from ASUCSB (available in September)
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study, Mike Frangos (undergraduate).
English 147VP: Media History and Theory, Carol Pasternak (undergraduate).
Printed editions of medieval texts give only the barest suggestions of what these texts might have meant to their contemporaries because they experienced them either in oral performance, possibly with music and even movement, or in manuscript, sometimes highly decorated and with commentary in the margins or between the lines, always unique. In this class, we will examine medieval texts with the goal of figuring out how they were meaningful at the time of their production and/or performances. In addition to edited texts, we will look at manuscript facsimiles (digital and print) and a few actual medieval manuscripts in order to see the traces of oral composition and performance and see how the texts were written and read. And we will consider the impacts of distinctive information technologies on ‘literature’ and ‘information.’ Among the literary texts we will study are Beowulf, psalms, Middle English lyrics, Sir Orfeo, and parts of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Webpage authoring will be part of the work.
English 147A: Media History and Theory: Theorizing Adaptation--Translation and Mutation, Bishnupriya Ghosh (undergraduate).
This course examines adaptation as a mode of translation geared to increase the life span of a text: adaptation is both reinterpretation (recoding, exchange, invention) and evolution (appropriation, updating, excision). Taking film to be our major media practice, we will look at several texts (fiction, non-fiction, feature films, plays) that are “adapted,” in order to consider a series of questions pertinent to adaptation theory: what is translated into film? What kinds of semiotic codes are at work in such translation? What is the common term of exchange? What kinds of value are produced in these acts? What context governs these acts of production? How are they received? These queries are ultimately aimed at a larger inquiry: can there be such a thing as “adaptation theory”? And if so, what are its disciplinary constraints? Students will be expected to watch five or six films outside of class time (time equivalent to the one-two hours you would spend preparing for a class), participate in class discussions, and write a research paper on a topic of their choice.
(This course can be taken for the Literature and Culture of Information specialization. The course will include one and a half weeks on digital translations of television or graphic novels, and will give students the option of doing projects on new media.) Required Texts:
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)
James Naremore ed., Film Adaptation (2000)
Course Reader (Pick up at Associated Students)
English 149: Media and Information Culture--Literary Imagination and Virtual Reality, James Donelan and Alan Liu (undergraduate, 5 units with seminar meetings and a lab).
Because of the recent, shared emphasis in many fields on digital methods, scholars in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences increasingly need to collaborate across disciplines. This course reflects theoretically and practically on the concept of literary study by asking students to choose a literary work and treat it according to one or more of the research paradigms prevalent in other fields. Students, for example, could choose a story or poem to model, simulate, map, visualize, encode, text-analyze, sample, storyboard, blog, or redesign as a game, database, hypertext, or virtual world. What are the strengths and weaknesses of literary interpretation, close reading, or theory by comparison with other research methods?
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study-- , TBA (undergraduate).
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study-- , TBA (undergraduate).
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study-- , Gerald
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study-- , Bret
English 147A: Theorizing
Adaptation: Translation and
This course examines
adaptation as a mode of translation geared to increase the life span of a text:
adaptation is both reinterpretation (recoding, exchange, invention) and evolution
(appropriation, updating, excision). Taking film to be our major media practice,
we will look at several texts (fiction, non-fiction, feature films, plays) that
are “adapted,” in order to consider a series of questions pertinent
to adaptation theory: what is translated into film? What kinds of semiotic codes
are at work in such translation? What is the common term of exchange? What kinds
of value are produced in these acts? What context governs these acts of production?
How are they received? These queries are ultimately aimed at a larger inquiry:
can there be such a thing as “adaptation theory”? And if so, what
are its disciplinary constraints? Students will be expected to watch five or
six films outside of class time (time equivalent to the one-two hours you would
spend preparing for a class), participate in class discussions, and write a research
paper on a topic of their choice.
(This course can be taken for the Literature
and Culture of Information specialization. The course will include one and a
half weeks on digital translations of television or graphic novels, and will
give students the option of doing projects on new media.) Required Texts:
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)
James Naremore ed., Film Adaptation (2000)
Course Reader (Pick up at Associated Students)
English 197: Senior Seminar, The Material Lyric,
Carol Pasternack (undergraduate).
A study of short poems from Anglo-Saxon England to the 21st century for their
materiality of performance and publication as well as their ability to speak
across time and beyond their original material forms and textual conventions.
Texts will include lyrics from the Old English Exeter Book ("Wanderer," "Seafarer," "Wife's
Lament," riddles); Harley lyrics; sonnets; Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience;
English 197: Senior Seminar, Dystopian Fictions,
Rita Raley (undergraduate).
This course cannot be
repeated and is limited to upper-division English majors only.
The ubiquity of dystopian themes in contemporary culture is perhaps entirely
to be expected. As we will see, imagining post-apocalyptic or otherwise catastrophic
futures can be read as one means of cultural critique. We shall thus examine
these dystopic visions of a spectacular future as a critical engagement with
the present. In our reading and film viewing we will encounter varied agents,
institutions, and systems of social change, among them biotechnology (viruses,
genetic engineering, cloning); media technologies; late capitalism; the intensification
of state power; the "war on terror"; and ecological disaster.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Octavia Butler, The Parable of the Sower
Philip K. Dick, Flow
My Tears, The
Essays by Mike Davis, Lieven De Cauter, and others. Graphic fiction
will include Warren Ellis, Transmetropolitan and Anthony Lappé and Dan
Goldman, Shooting War. Films will include Videodrome, Brazil, and Children
English 236: Media and Materiality,
Rita Raley (graduate).
The overarching premise
of this course is that the dematerialization theses of the
network, computer, information and/or post-industrial ages – those
that tell us that money capital has lost its material weight
and become pure image, that information is equally spectral,
and that bodies are mere containers to be transcended – have
less to tell us about actually existing media and socio-cultural
systems than we might otherwise believe. There is a certain
allure to totalizing theses of structural change: to say that
we have entered an era of liquid modernity, for example, is
to suggest a temporal rather than spatial logic of power,
a shift away from the management of material things to the
management of mobility and speed. But any critical paradigm,
however useful, that posits a radical epistemological shift
from materiality to immateriality must necessarily be untenable.
To manage a network, after all, is to regulate both speed
and a material entity. Discussions of computational media
tend primarily to focus on issues of affect – an important
area of research but not one that should preclude investigations
of materiality, as we will see in our discussions of embodiment.
After all, a virtual environment is not simply a product of
conceptual machinery but also a product of machinery with
fundamentally material properties. In our reading and discussions
this term, we will engage overt matters (waste, objects, the
apparatus, framed & unframed media, bodies) and covert
ones as well (optical surveillance).
236: Editing the Archive/Archiving the Edition,
Giles Bergel (graduate).
Literary texts are increasingly sourced from and deposited within electronic
archives. This course will survey the history of editing and archiving in the
humanities, from its beginnings to our digital present. Whilst an "archival
turn" away from the printed critical edition towards the digital
archive has been widely predicted and generally welcomed, the terms through
which the archive might be critically addressed are as yet unclear. The course
will ask how far book history and bibliography, editorial and archival theory
and the emerging disciplines of textual studies and digital humanities might
shape archival practices, and how they might be shaped by them in turn. We
will explore fundamental archival and editorial practices such as collection,
transcription, annotation and commentary through historical, methodological
and theoretical readings, and through selected case studies.
Students will produce a commentary
on a critical edition, digital archive, catalogue or finding aid of their choice.
The commentary will be first presented orally to the class, then submitted
in hard copy.
Introduction to Literary Study--Modern Interpretations
of the Medieval,
Lydia Balian (undergraduate).
This course will provide students with an
introduction to literary analysis by examining interpretations of the medieval
after the medieval period by means of a comparison of medieval texts with interpretations
of the medieval via text, film, and digital media, such as video games. Our critical
examination of these various forms of media will be directed by a few overriding
questions: Has medieval literature been idealized since the medieval period?
Has it been caricatured? How is medieval literature relevant to us today? In
terms of media and technology, additional questions arise, such as: How does
literature and technology intersect? How do they diverge? Do different media
forms affect our perception of the content?
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Modernism
Mike Frangos (undergraduate).
This course will provide an introduction
to techniques in reading and analyzing literary texts from a variety of genres
by means of an overview of key sources in modern and contemporary literature
beginning with the revolution in literary form initiated in the early 20th century.
Attending to “culture” as itself another “text” to be
read alongside literature, we will consider developments unique to the scene
of the modern such as the “New Woman” and feminism, fashion and self-fashioning,
race and sexuality. As we develop skills in traditional approaches to the interpretation
of poetry and fiction, we will remain self-conscious about how our own approaches
to literature have changed as new media technologies have dramatically altered
how we read and view texts. In addition to sharpening skills in critical analysis
through traditional academic papers, students will use “Web 2.0” applications
including blogs, wikis, social networking, video and photo sharing, mashups and
machinima, to document the class’s own evolving relationship with the literary
text. This course functions within the English department’s “Literature
and the Culture of Information” specialization.
English 149: Media and Information Culture -- Literary
Imagination and Virtual Reality, Alan Liu (undergraduate)
(5-unit course with seminar meetings and a lab).
This course reexamines the nature and function
of literature by comparing it to new kinds of imaginative experience available
though today's digital media. How does literary experience work in an imaginative
work of fiction or a poem? How does such imaginative experience compare to the
way a computer simulation, game, or virtual reality environment affects the user?
Students will be create, and write about, projects that reflect on the relation
between literature and virtual reality on the basis of concrete cases (e.g.,
by replotting a novel as a computer game or blog, role-playing literary interpretation
using the Ivanhoe Game, playing an "interactive fiction," building
a simulation of a literary universe in the NetLogo program, building an interactive
animation of a poem using the Scratch program, staging or performing a literary
work in the Second Life virtual world, etc.). The lab component of the course
teaches technological skills and allows students to collaborate on projects.
English 236: Literature Plus: Literary Research and
Competing Paradigms of Contemporary Knowledge,
Alan Liu (graduate).
This course reexamines the
nature and function of literary interpretation by comparing it to dominant paradigms
of research in other disciplines. What is literary "interpretation," "representation," or "theory" by
comparison with the "model," "map," "hypothesis," "visualization,"
"application," "program," or "demonstration" in
other disciplines ?
How are new media technologies, cooperating with new social and institutional
trends toward interdisciplinarity, moving all the disciplines toward convergent
paradigms of "simulation" and "metadata"? What new paradigms
of literary scholarship (e.g., Franco Moretti's "distance reading")
are emergent today? Students will be encouraged to create, or write about, projects
that involve concrete ways of juxtaposing literary interpretation with other
research paradigms (e.g.,
by replotting a novel as a computer game or blog, role-playing literary interpretation
using the Ivanhoe Game, playing an "interactive fiction," building
a simulation of a literary universe in the NetLogo program,
building an interactive animation of a poem using the MIT MEdia Lab's Scratchprogram, staging or performing a literary work in the Second Life virtual world,
creating a statistical representation or visualization of a text, creating a
GIS map related to literature, etc.). Readings include Franco Moretti, Graphs,
N. Katherine Hayles, Writing
Willard McCarty, Humanities Computing; Katie Salens and Eric Zimmerman, Rules
of Play: Game Design Fundamentals; McKenzie Wark, GAM3R
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study-- , Paxton
English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study-- , David
English 146EL: Literature of Technology: Electronic Literature, Rita Raley (undergraduate).
† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† † This course will consider literature for which the computer is both the composition and the delivery medium. What formal, generic, and aesthetic properties can we see in texts written in production environments such as Flash? What are the central issues and questions for the field of electronic literature as a whole? What are its links to print-based experimental writing practices? After some consideration of precursors to hypertext and the first generation of hypertext authors and critics, we will continue to map out a brief history of electronic literature and move to studying some of the most technically and intellectually compelling works on the web. Toward the end of the term, we will expand our study of screen-based literature to think about literature beyond the screen as well (e.g. SMS texts & performances and GPS writing). Texts and themes that we will study include print hypertexts, combinatorial writing, interactive fiction and text adventure games, experimental narrative, visual poetry, new media poetics, codework, and 3D writing. Reading will include John Cayley, mez, Talan Memmott, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, J. Yellowlees Douglas, Jorge Luis Borges, Olia Lialina, Florian Cramer, Ted Warnell, Dan Waber, John Cayley, Judd Morrissey and many others.
Print texts will include N. Katherine Hayles, Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary and Espen Aarseth, Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature.
Students will have the option of composing their own works of electronic literature at the end of the term.
English 147SS: Media History and Theory: From Scroll to
Screen, Carol Pasternack (undergraduate).
This course will explore the differences
in telling a tale orally, in writing, in print, and on the computer screen. We
will begin with oral composition and performance, working with Leslie Marmon
Silko's Storyteller, which represents the interactions between oral tradition
and print, and Euro and Native American ethnicities. We then hurl ourselves back
in time to the 6th century BCE, the era in which the Jews made the transition
from being a people of a geographical location and oral culture to being a people
in exile and a people of the book. We will look both at the special nature of
a holy book and the physical aspects and implications of its material shape as
scroll and have the chance to see the Torah up close with Rabbi Steve Cohen.
Next we will zero in on medieval manuscript culture, looking at the materials
themselves (vellum and pigments) and the uses of the page with gorgeous decorations,
glosses and text, courtesy of special presentations by curators at the Getty.
We'll approach this medium first through Psalms and Books of Hours and
then through Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies. Christine
is remarkable in being one of the first writers to have a sense of herself as
an "author," as well as being a force in the production of texts that
support rather than denigrate women. Then we move on to the era of print and
specifically the more wide-spread circulation of texts in newspapers and pamphlets
and turn to the American colonies and Benjamin Franklin, early printer, newspaper
publisher, and promoter of public libraries. The class will conclude with hypertext
and interactive fiction, looking at how this medium changes the roles of reader
and author as it changes the nature of the text itself, and once again the complex
contributions of economics to these changes. The class will include considerable
use of the Web as a topic of analysis, a means of access to manuscripts and early
print texts, and as a medium for producing the students' own work. Assignments
will involve "doing" as well as analyzing.
English 149: Media History of the American Revolution,
William Warner (undergraduate).
10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Literation:
Lists in Literature, Jeremy Douglass
(undergraduate). How does the literary
technique of listing resist
(and demand) a story? Grounding
our understanding of the
list in ancient literary
forms (commandments, litanies,
books), we will focus on
a survey of lists in contemporary
fiction (in novels and antinovels,
language poems, comic books,
indexes, ephemera, and almanacs
and biographies both fictional
and real). Our eventual consideration
will be lists as they occur
in new media (hypertext fiction,
interactive fiction, video
games) and the aesthetics
of databases, procedural
logic, and computation.
10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Artists,
Creation, Technology, and Structure,
Maggie Sloan (undergraduate).
This course offers an introduction to literature with an emphasis in exploring
the intersection between traditional forms of literature and newer technologies.
We will read across three primary genres--poetry, drama, and prose--and work
closely with the texts to develop critical reading and writing skills. We will
pay particular attention to the importance of media and to the consideration
of digital approaches to literature. Texts include: William Blake's Songs
of Innocence and of Experience, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Shelley
Jackson's Patchwork Girl, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case
of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Jorge Luis Borge's "The Garden of
147VP: The Voice and the Page,
Carol Pasternack (instructor).
What does it mean to tell a story? What does it mean to write a
story? What does it mean to listen to the story or to read it?
The meanings of stories have a direct relationship to their material realities
and the parts they play in social situations. In this class, we will examine
medieval texts with the goal of figuring out how they were meaningful at the
time of their production and/or performances. We will look at edited texts
and also at manuscript facsimiles (digital and print) and a few actual medieval
manuscripts in order to see the traces of oral composition and performance
and see how the texts were written and read. We will consider, “What
do these early texts tell us about the varieties of performances and texts
that we might call ‘literature’ and the varieties that we might
call ‘information’?” And we will consider the impacts of
distinctive information technologies on ‘literature’ and ‘information.’ Webpage
authoring will be part of the work.
592: Early Modern Center/Transcriptions
Colloquium: New Approaches to Media History
and Criticism: Editing the Wandering Jew's
This two-quarter course combines the study of early-modern cheap printed media
with modern digital textual scholarship. The Wandering Jew's Chronicle is a
song-ballad of the monarchy of England, printed forms of which survive in
eleven broadside and other cheap versions dating from 1630 to 1830. Each
version relates the succession of the throne of England, starting in 1066
and cumulative to each time of publication. The versions are often
illustrated with woodcuts and are characteristic of the period's
typographical development. One broadside version has previously been
digitized by the UCSB Pepys Ballad Archive; this course will complement
ongoing, interdisciplinary research into Early-Modern ballads at UCSB and
extend it chronologically and thematically.
The first quarter will survey appropriate readings in book history and print
culture, including oral and visual communication; typography and other aspects
of the material text; the development of the ballad trade; and the history of
ballad collecting, editing and study.
The second quarter will intensively study the ballad itself, preparing it for
textual criticism and digital publication. We will scan images and transcribe
text from all surviving versions, collating their variants. A single, edited
version that documents the text's complete variants will be the theoretical goal
of the project, as will a version or versions suitable for performance or reading.
Specialized digital humanities software will be critically assessed for our purposes.
The project will, for the first time, make available all versions of the ballad,
together with appropriate critical apparatuses and commentaries, through online
publication. We will also study the ballad's place within early-modern historical
and political thought, through readings in nationalism, cultural theory and historiography.
The first quarter provides an historical introduction to the ballad form [English
231: English Broadside Ballads, 1500-1800 Patricia Fumerton, Winter 2007] as
well as an introduction to the project phase. This course will run half-time,
meeting alternate weeks, over Fall 2006 and Winter 2007; students may audit the
Fall quarter only.
593: Technology and Society Ph.D. Emphasis
Gateway Seminar, Alan
English 593, which is cross listed with Computer
Science 595N and Political Science 595N,
is a one-unit course that brings graduate
students and instructors together from the
humanities, social-science, and engineering
disciplines to discuss the implications of
information technology in a once-per-week,
informal workshop. The course also serves
as the gateway for the UCSB
Ph.D. Emphasis in Technology and Society.
Focusing on a different umbrella topic each
quarter, the course takes the form of a sequence
of student presentations (one per student
or team of students). Commonly, faculty from
several departments attend.
This instance of the seminar in Fall 2006 will be led by Alan Liu in collaboration
with Kevin Almeroth. It will focus loosely on the mutation of text and reading
in digital, multimedia, and networked information environments. What is the current
state of research and technological development in adapting the relationship
between print, orality, and graphics commonly called "text" to new media? Issues
of interest might include: hardware innovations (such as "e-ink" or flexible
OLED displays); new text visualization and interface designs; adaptive text aggregation
systems (such as Inform.com); tools for online
reading and annotation; research in digital literacy and reading practices; text-archiving,
-scanning, and -searching initiatives; blogs and social-networking systems; collective
reading practices; wireless text-messaging; text-encoding; and the relation between
the history and future of the book. The seminar will be loosely affiliated with
the UC Transliteracies Project: Research in the Technological, Social, and Cultural
Practices of Online Reading (http://transliteracies.english.ucsb.edu).
10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Artistry
and Media, Kris McAbee (undergraduate). This course addresses
such issues as the role
of the artist in reception
and circulation, the cultural
stakes of the artist figure,
and notions of "oustider" or "fringe" artists.
We will analyze texts from
a wide range of media,
genres, and historical
periods, including but
not limited to selections
of early modern and Modernist
poetry, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,
Gloria Naylor's Mama
Day, George Bernard
selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses,
and selections from the
UCSB Early Modern Center's
Pepys Ballad Archive, among
other "new media."
10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Quotidian
Narratives live in strange and often boring places. In addition to general
introduction to literary form, genre and method, this course seeks to examine
the lives of ledgers, footnotes, indices, chess, weather, playing cards, lunchtimes,
bicycles, magic, buttons, cookies, air conditioners, &tc. This course will
focus on narratives of "mundanity" during the technological culture of the
A-bomb and Apollo era, with attendant attention to its origins and future.
Featuring novels, poems, plays, films, art, theory and music by Barthes, Queneau,
O'Hara, Newman, Pollock, Beckett, Johnson, Coover, Nabokov, Cage, Duchamp,
133 GC: Global California,
Chris Newfield (undergraduate).
This course is an introduction to California literature and culture after
1940. It addresses questions such as: What was the "California Dream"? What
is happening to the California Dream today? How has California culture and
society changed since World War II? Is California a philosophy or just another
state in the union? What does "globalization" mean and how is it changing
California culture and society? Is California still a leading-edge place,
the place where "the future happens first"? What will happen to 21st Century
California? In order to answer these questions, we will consider some major
California themes: crime, money, moguls, tech booms, immigration, fame, sex,
silicon, alienation, racism, multiculturalism, movies, and self-actualization.
English 236: Studies
in Literary Theory and Criticism: Landscape
and the Social Imaginary: Romantic Landscape
and Cyberspace, Alan Liu (graduate).
This course consists of two parts: I.
Romantic Landscape (7 weeks) This
part of the course attends to the specificity
of Romantic landscape during the so-called
British "long 18th century" or (in art history) "great
century"—i.e., to the unique contribution
of Romanticism to an era when in great part
landscape was art and art was landscape. Rivaled
perhaps only by the novel, with which it was
on intimate terms, landscape was the epic of
the times. It was the familiar of that other
great Romantic epic form: autobiography. This
part of the course concentrates on the writings
of the Wordsworth circle and the paintings
and watercolors of John Constable and J.M.W.
Turner. These materials are developed against
a backdrop that includes 18th-century writers
and painters, the aesthetic theories of the
picturesque and sublime, and the history and
theory of "descriptive" genres (including georgic
and locodescription). II. New Forms
of Landscape (3 weeks) Whether developed
in conceptual, metaphorical, or virtual form,
navigable space—and often specifically
landscape—is important to the contemporary
artistic imagination. The
course will conclude by making the transition
through late-nineteenth-century landscape photography
(Carlton Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge) to modern
and contemporary forms of landscape imagination,
including "land art" and new-media art. Materials
include: the work of Robert Smithson, James
Turrell, Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Long, Charlotte
Davies, John Klima, and Sue Thomas as well
as such forms as computer games and satellite
imagery. The wager of the course is that we
can learn something about the use of landscape
as a major form of the social imaginary if
we juxtapose Romantic poets and artists walking
through nature and contemporary poets and artists
browsing or navigating the networks.
The course is supported by an Online
Image Gallery (login required).
10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Global
Yanoula Athanassakis (undergraduate).
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to a variety
of literary genres, including poetry, short stories, drama, and prose. In doing
so we’ll pay particular attention to the way that writers describe immigration
(particularly to the United States), cultural flows and exchanges, and hybrid/split
identity formations via literary and visual representation. Staying primarily
within the borders of the 20th and 21st centuries, we’ll explore how
the global immigrant experience is both explicitly and implicitly represented
in literature, popular culture, and new media. We’ll find and prod the
different types of borders that are crossed when a work goes from print to
video to film to hypertext, and how the inherent "crossings" within
a text's words are challenged and/or reinforced by changes in medium. Our reading
will include excerpts from works by Jhumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Bishop, Jeffrey
Eugenides, Edwidge Danticat, Jean Rhys, Paul Gilroy, and Judith Butler (to
name a few). We’ll also be viewing films and working with the web.
10LC: Introduction to Literary Study--Body,
Text, Technology, Robin Chin (undergraduate).
The primary goal of this course as an “English 10” is to introduce
students to the basic skills of literary analysis through the examination a
wide variety of prose and poetic forms. In addition, as an LCI affiliated course,
students will be required to complete a wide variety of writing assignments
that recognize and interact with the “culture of information,” from
weekly online reading reflections to a final web page project of significant
analytical depth. The secondary goal of this course is to engage students in
a particular discussion about the relationship between two concepts -- the
text and the body -- and how this fascinating relationship is influenced by
recent revolutions in “modern” technology. Beginning with the Industrial
Age and Victorian literature and continuing through the Information age and
literary works of the late 20th century, this course will pay special attention
to the rise of “new media” in literary studies. Readings may include:
Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel Frankenstein; the short stories of
Edgar Allan Poe; the short stories of Franz Kafka; the poetry of Charles Baudelaire;
war poems from various World War I authors; the sci-fi film Forbidden Planet (1956);
William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel Neuromancer; and N. Katherine
Hayles’ Writing Machines. This course will include a reader. No
previous web experience is required to enroll.
25: Introduction to Literature and the
Culture of Information, Alan Liu
(undergraduate) (lecture course).
This course studies contemporary information culture from the viewpoint of
the humanities and arts. What is information, and why is it so important that
it not only affects our economy, politics, and society but also our culture
(the culture of "cool," it has been called) and our arts (the "new media" literatures,
arts, music, and games). The course brings writings about information society
together with works of new-media literature and art to study the following
aspects of information: information as media, communication, and "new media";
information as work and power; and information as identity (see the Schedule
page for details). Required readings are in print (e.g., Thomas Pynchon's The
Crying of Lot 49, William Gibson's novel, Neuromancer), on the Web,
and on CD-ROM (M. D. Coverley's hypertext novel, Califia). Assignments
include some Web-authoring at the beginner's level. No pre-existing technical
skills are needed, but the ability to access the Web is necessary to do the
146 CC: The Culture of the Copy,
Rita Raley (undergraduate).
This course interprets “copy” in the broadest possible terms. Themes
and issues we will consider include cloning, ALife, transgenics, cybernetics,
simulation, masquerade, counterfeit, avatars, drag, la perruque, doppelgängers,
déjà vu, the uncanny, viruses, phishing, virtual pets, recycled
culture (plagiarism, appropriation), creative
cloning, and copybots. Fiction will include Ishiguro, Churchill, and Palahniuk
(texts below), Edgar Allan Poe, and others. Theory and criticism will include
Walter Benjamin, Michel de Certeau, Sigmund Freud, Judith Butler, Baudrillard,
and others. Art projects by Eduardo Kac, Tom Ray, The Yes Men, and others;
discussion of The Sims and "I Want a Famous Face" and ideally one virtual class
session in Second Life. Films will possibly
include Blade Runner, The Boys from Brazil, Vertigo, or Dead
194: Research Seminar in Literature and
Culture of Information, Alan Liu
This is an undergraduate research workshop or practicum (limited to 15 students)
in which participants break into teams to pursue research related to literature
and the culture of information. (The course may be counted for the English
Dept's specialization in Literature
and the Culture of Information.) The theme of this instance of the
course is the relation between literary interpretation and other paradigms
of knowledge, especially those that the new digital media and technologies
are bringing into conjunction with the humanities. Students will create projects
that experiment with literary interpretation by transforming it into such things
as a "game," "simulation," "model," "experiment," "hypertext," "blog," "map," etc.
(For example, students might build a computer simulation using the NetLogo
program, play a "game" of literary interpretation like Jerome McGann's and
Johanna Drucker's Ivanhoe Game, create a statistical representation or visualization
of a text, create a GIS satellite-image-based map related to literature, create
a blog in which the "contributors" are the characters in a novel, etc.). Student
research will be published on a collective, online research Web site produced
through a "wiki"publishing and editing environment that enacts the process
of creative collaboration. Readings will include Franco Moretti's short book, Graphs,
Maps,Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History, parts of Willard McCarty's Humanities
Computing, plus other print and online readings designed to stimulate though
about the issues.
Prerequisites: a prior course in the English 146AA-ZZ,
147AA-Zz, or 148AA-ZZ series. (If you have taken other lower-division courses
in the Literature and Culture of Information specialization, including English
10LCI and English 25, and would like to use those as your prerequisite, please
consult the instructor. Students who have taken a previous instance of English
194 can take this new instance of the course as an independent study.)
English 236: Globalization
in the Contemporary Moment, Rita Raley (graduate)
While not claiming to be comprehensive, this
seminar will address key critical problems
within contemporary studies of globalization:
finance capital, neoliberalism, precarity & precarious
life, biopolitics, migrancy, risk and uncertainty,
terror, and global media. Reading will include
Judith Butler, Fredric Jameson, Gilles Deleuze,
Maurizio Lazzarato, Paolo Virno, Ulrich Beck,
Eugene Thacker, Catherine Waldby and Robert
Mitchell, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri,
10 LC, Elizabeth Freudenthal (undergraduate).
In this version of English 10, students will practice basic methods of literary analysis on a broad range of poetic and prose forms, all concerned with the intersections of literature and digital technologies. We will explore the ways in which the economic, political, military and technical aspects of information and media technologies affect literature and culture. Special units will include information technology and the body; multinational capitalism and business culture; and information technology and war. Required texts include William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, a course reader and various online readings. Students will be required to construct a basic Web page; no prior Web experience is necessary.
This class is being facilitated with Moodle.
197: New Media: Language and Code,
Our object in this seminar will be to consider digital texts
(artistic and literary) that thematize the
relations between language and code. The
critical discourse on new media writing (in
different accounts “cybertext” and “electronic
literature”) asserts an intricate and
necessary connection between the text and
the medium. We are no longer seeking to identify
a radical difference between the computer
as medium and earlier writing machines like
the typewriter, so much as we seek to develop
analytic and semiotic paradigms particular
to the technological substrate of the text.
One of the central concerns of the digital
humanities, then, is the interrelation, exchange,
and encounter between text and code – broadly,
the tower of programming languages (from
machine language up to fourth-generation
programming languages) that produces the
textual interface. Issues and genres that
we will study throughout include electronic
English, codework, operational text, machine
translation, and the Open Source movement.
We will also discuss codeworkers and the
virtual class in relation to the "California
ideology" of entrepreneurial innovation and
individual freedom. Art, experimental writing,
and poetry by John Cayley, mez, Talan Memmott,
Genco Gulan, Komninos Zervos, Noah Wardrip-Fruin,
Ted Warnell, Giselle Beiguelman, Jodi, and
others. Theory and criticism will include
Espen Aarseth, N. Katherine Hayles, Lev Manovich,
Florian Cramer, Alexander Galloway, Lawrence
Lessig and others. New Media exhibitions
include "CODeDOC" (Whitney); "I
Love You" (digitalcraft.org); and Code (year01.com).
10 LC: Short Forms and Media, James Hodge
Short Forms and Media: This course serves as an introduction to the principles of literary analysis, with particular attention to the importance of medium. To gain a broad sense of the ways mediation functions in literature and culture we will take "short forms" as our topic: lyric poetry, short stories, one-act plays, short films, music videos, wall labels, hypertext poems, Quicktime movies, epigrams, epitaphs, miniatures, captions, blurbs, etc. More thematically, we will explore issues of memory and the relation between words and images. Assignments will include analytical essays, visits to the University Art Museum, English Department Transcriptions Studio, library Special Collections, and a final media project of the student's design.
10 LC: Textual Genealogies, Kim Knight
In this version of English 10, we will use the basic principles of literary
analysis to explore the intersections and disjunctions between literature and
We will engage with a variety of content, from gothic fiction to contemporary prose and poetry, to visual texts such as graphic novels, films, or video games. Our movement through the course will progress genre-by-genre and a primary aspect of our work will be to tease out the threads that unite the wide range of texts under consideration.
We will also be reading a selection of critical works and learning some rudimentary web design skills in order to complete a web-based project. In addition, the class will include instruction in research and writing in print and digital environments.
Recommended for students interested in doing a future Literature and Culture of Information specialization. English 10 is required for all English majors and recommended for English minors.
English 146EL: Electronic Literature,
Rita Raley (undergraduate).
course will address literature for which the
computer is both the composition and the delivery
medium. We will consider the differences a
medium makes to a text: what difference does
the machine and machinic processing make? What
new formal and generic properties can we see
within digital texts? On what basis - computational,
formal, institutional, aesthetic, practical,
or otherwise - may we group together digital
texts into a literary field? After some consideration
of precursors to hypertext and the first generation
of hypertext authors and critics, we will continue
to map out a brief history of the field of
electronic literature (or, new media writing),
and we will end by studying some of the most
technically and intellectually compelling
works on the web. Texts and genres that we will study throughout include print hypertexts and artistsís books, combinatorial writing, cybertext, interactive fiction and text adventure games, visual poetry, digital poetics, codework, and the art of computation. Reading will include Espen Aarseth, N. Katherine Hayles, Lev Manovich, John Cayley, mez, Talan Memmott, Young-hae Chang Industries, Komninos Zervos, J. Yellowlees Douglas, Jorge Luis Borges, Claire Dinsmore, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Florian Cramer, Ted Warnell, Dan Waber, Jason Nelson, Giselle Beiguelman and others
English 197: Senior Seminar,
Poetry Lab, Yunte Huang
A study of poetry in a multimedia lab environment, investigating the ways in which poetry can be created (oral, literate, print, and digital) and the ways in which it can be read (improvised, memorized, recited, handwritten, printed, typewritten, recorded, digitized, text-messaged, read aloud, and read silently).
English 197: Senior Seminar,
The Material Lyric, Carol Pasternack
A study of short poems from
Anglo-Saxon England to the 21st century for
their materiality of performance and publication
as well as their ability to speak across
time and beyond their original material forms
and textual conventions. Texts will include
lyrics from the Old English Exeter Book ("Wanderer," "Seafarer," "Wife's Lament," riddles);
Harley lyrics; sonnets; Blake's Songs of
Innocence and Experience; hypertext lyrics.
English 236: Textuality and New Media Ecologies: 1600-2000,
Alan Liu (graduate seminar).
Writers and readers of literature have a special
relation with the written word. How did that
relationship arise and change in the historical
moments—from pre- to postmodernity—when "text" arose, or was redefined, in relation to new technologies that reconfigured the whole ecology of media and communications? This course will study "new media texts" (texts and reading practices responsive to new media ecologies) with attention both to larger cultural/theoretical issues and a succession of specific case studies from the Early Modern to contemporary periods. The framework portion of the course will study the historical transitions and interfaces between orality, writing, print, images, and, most recently, digital new media. ("Images" is important in this list because a special focus of the course will be on the way that complex intermedia relations and their underlying social struggles get mapped over "verbal vs. visual"—or, today, "textual vs. multimedia"—distinctions). The case studies portion of the course will then touch down sequentially on the Renaissance, the eighteenth century, romanticism, modernism, and the contemporary information age. These historical moments will be studied through an "extensible" case study method. That is, the class will focus on a set of common case studies: emblem books and ballads in the Renaissance; personification and visual/verbal narrative in the 18th century; imagery and imagination in romanticism; imagism, advertising, and electronic media in modernism; and the transition from "hypertext" to "new media" paradigms in the information age. But in their presentations and papers, students will be asked to hook their own research interests (and alternative case studies) onto these historical moments. Primary readings/viewings from literature and visual works (including both print works and recent "born-digital" works)
will be complemented by recent historical,
critical, or theoretical writings. (All readings
are from the course reader or are online; there
are no required books at the bookstore.) One
presentation; one final project (paper and/or
digital project). This course is associated
with the UC Transliteracies Project (Research
in the Technological, Social, and Cultural
Practices of Online Reading). Students will
fashion their presentation in the format of
a report like those the Project is creating
for its online research clearinghouse on the
history and future of reading practices and
technologies. (Reports created for this class
directly relevant to the Project may be included
in the clearinghouse.)
236: New Media: Literature, Theory, Culture, Rita Raley
This seminar will address code as an object and medium of contemporary critical inquiry, political engagement, and artistic and literary production. Issues and genres that we will study throughout include the politics, poetics, and aesthetics of code; Saussurean semiotics; codework; operational text; genetic code and biomedia; electronic English and global language politics; machine translation; hacktivism and tactical media; the control society; and the Free Software and Open Source movements. We will also discuss the virtual class (variously, the Netzvolk, the digerati, the cognitariat) and the “California ideology” in relation to neoliberalism. One of the premises of the course will be that it is not simply a technical process of compilation that links the symbolic systems of language and code – that is, natural languages and the tower of programming languages, from machine language up to fourth-generation programming languages. Rather, they are bound up in a feedback loop wherein code not only has a material effect on the world but socio-cultural formations are mapped onto code. Our reading will include both print and electronic texts; in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, for example, we will see how the breakdown of language marks the transition from hypercapitalism into an even more dystopic future. Experimental writing and poetry by John Cayley, mez, Talan Memmott, Genco Gulan, Komninos Zervos, Ted Warnell, Giselle Beiguelman, and others. Theory and criticism will include N. Katherine Hayles, Florian Cramer, Pierre Bourdieu, Paolo Virno, Alexander Galloway, Eugene Thacker, Gilles Deleuze, Lawrence Lessig, McKenzie Wark, and others. Media artists and tacticians include 0100101110101101.org, the Electronic Disturbance Theater, and others. Books include Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts; Galloway, Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization; Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude; Lessig, Code.v.2 wiki; and Cramer, Words Made Flesh: Code, Culture, Imagination.
10 LC: Reading the Pictorial in Image and
Text, Gerald Egan (undergraduate).
Our emphasis will be on the intense close reading, discussion, and written analysis of selected and limited literary texts (poetry, drama, and prose) from the eighteenth century to the present. While our primary emphasis will be with the “words on the page,” we will specifically focus on the intersection of the written word and the image that occurs within and without the book and the new media object. We will interrogate the ways in which poems replicate the pictorial, the ways in which paintings and prints constitute readable “texts,” and the ways in which the two media have interacted from the invention of print to the spread of the digital computer. With its concentration on close reading, this course teaches students to develop an interpretation of the literary text or new media object, to use evidence from the text to support their interpretations, and to shape essays appropriate to upper-division literature classes. The course
also teaches students to shape critical and literary analysis as new media presentations, primarily Web pages in which it will be possible to explore the intersection of the word and the image more dynamically than in print. As an ongoing part of the course, we will study the fundamental vocabulary of literary analysis, the basics of MLA style for print, and the evolving conventions of Web publication.
Required for all English majors and recommended for English minors. English 10LC satisfies course requirements for the English Department’s Literature and Culture of Information specialization.
10 LC: The Lives of Media: Image, Text,
Animation, James Hodge (undergraduate).
This course serves as an introduction to the principles of literary analysis, with particular attention to concepts of media. We will scrutinize the importance of mediation in literary and other cultural forms by surveying the ways in which aesthetic texts and objects come to life. Books write themselves, statues walk, images look back, computers contract viruses. What do we make of such animating encounters? More generally, how do such encounters affect our sense of the real or our sense of life itself? We will likely encounter the following authors, artists and directors: David Cronenberg, Mary Shelley, Shelley Jackson, Chris Ware, Scott McCloud, John Keats, David Ives, Edgar Allen Poe, Jan Svankmajer, Emily Dickinson, Michel Gondry, Virgil Widrich, Jorge Luis Borges, and Laurie Anderson. Assignments include weekly responses, 2 papers, and a final exam.
Frankenstein, Patchwork Girl,
Quimby the Mouse,
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
English 147SS: Media History and Theory: From Scroll to Screen, Carol Pasternack (undergraduate).
This course will explore the differences in telling a tale orally, in writing, in print, and on the computer screen. We will begin with oral composition and performance, working with Leslie Marmon Silko's Storyteller, which represents the interactions between oral tradition and print, and Euro and Native American ethnicities. We then hurl ourselves back in time to the 6th century BCE, the era in which the Jews made the transition from being a people of a geographical location and oral culture to being a people in exile and a people of the book. We will look both at the special nature of a holy book and the physical aspects and implications of its material shape as scroll and have the chance to see the Torah up close with Rabbi Steve Cohen. Next we will zero in on medieval
manuscript culture, looking at the materials themselves—vellum and pigments—and the uses of the page with gorgeous decorations, glosses and text, courtesy of special presentations by curators at the Getty. We'll approach this medium first through Psalms and Books of Hours and then through Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies. Christine is remarkable in being one of the first writers to have a sense of herself as an “author,” as well as being a force in the production of texts that support rather than denigrate women. Then we move on to the era of print and specifically the more wide-spread circulation of texts in newspapers and pamphlets and turn to the American colonies and Benjamin Franklin, early printer, newspaper publisher, and promoter of public libraries. The class will conclude with hypertext and interactive fiction, looking at how this medium changes the roles of reader and author as it
changes the nature of the text itself, and once again the complex contributions of economics to these changes. The class will include considerable use of the Web as a topic of analysis, a means of access to manuscripts and early print texts, and as a medium for producing the students' own work. Assignments will involve “doing” as well as analyzing.
English 194: New Modes of Authorship: Creativity and Collaboration, 1800-2000, Alan Liu (undergraduate).
This is the first instance of the new course for the LCI specialization approved two years ago titled "Research Seminar in Literature and Culture of Information." It is a small seminar that, like English 197, is limited to 15 students. The course functions as a research workshop or practicum in which students break into teams and pursue research related both to literature and the culture of information. (The course may be counted for the English Department's Literature and Culture of Information specialization.) The final "product" of the course will be a collective, online research Web site. This instance of the course will use an online "Wiki" publishing and editing environment to pursue research into two, interwoven paradigms
of intellectual production with long histories and much contemporary value: creativity and collaboration. The Wiki publishing environment will itself be one of the topics of the course. Readings will include primary and secondary or theoretical texts spanning from the eras of Romanticism to recent information-technology and business writings about "authorship," "creativity," "collaboration," "innovation," "peer-to-peer," "intellectual property," "open source," "blogs," etc.
Prerequisites: a prior course in the English 146AA-ZZ, 147AA-Zz, or 148AA-ZZ series. (If you have taken other lower-division courses in the Literature and Culture of Information specialization, including English 10LCI and English 25, and would like to use those as your prerequisite, please consult the instructor.)
English 236: The History and Theory of Media Culture: From Print to the Internet, William
Warner, Lisa Parks (graduate seminar).
In both film and literary studies, there is a strong tendency to study media history and media culture so that it delivers discrete "objects", "texts", and "visual and sound artifacts," for close interpretation and study. One can find this procedure among scholars who favor "great" or "popular" media texts. While the history and discursive procedures of film and literary studies makes this bias quite understandable, this course attempts to take a different path. We want to pay attention to some of the most striking features of modern media forms, practices, and technologies: they facilitate mobility, transfers, adaptation, deformation, reformation, networking, mutations within the media infrastructure, and many species of communication (one to one; one to many; broadband, narrowband, etc.). All these transformations in the form of media are implicated in new spatial
configurations and new (often accelerated) media temporalities. If there is a general logic to these morphologies of media, we hope our course will begin to explore them. This will involve shifting beyond narrative and frame-based approaches and moving toward theories and histories of media that try to account for media forms and cultures that take shape across different platforms, environments and communities. We hope the course will help to generate new ways of conceptualizing media forms and cultures in the digital age.
Summer A 2006
English 192: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, Kim Knight (undergraduate).
In the age of networked culture and spectacular media, the line between science fiction and "real life" becomes increasingly difficult to define. In this version of English 192 we will explore the development of cyberpunk, a genre of science fiction that typically features a hacker-figure in the context of cyberspace and is typically set against larger institutions. Born of the 1980's, this particular strand of science fiction has anticipated the future in uncanny ways. Our goal will be to examine the literature and films of this genre to determine whether, in fact, "the future is now." We will begin with Frankenstein, the earliest example of science fiction and then trace the development of the genre through cyberpunk-precursors such as Philip K. Dick and James Tiptree Jr. We will then work extensively with cyberpunk texts and film, including its many subgenres, to address questions of spirituality, the un/human, and the role of the individual in society. Finally, we will end the course with a look at "real life" iterations of cyberpunk (hypertext literature, hacker art, etc) in order to assess the relevance of this genre to contemporary information culture.
English 10 LCI: Introduction to Literary
Study (Jeremy Douglass).
of English 10 will address interactions
between literature and media (or information
technologies). The primary texts for the
course will include print texts and digital
productions, as well as productions in
other media as the instructor chooses.
Students will learn techniques and vocabulary
of analytic discussion specific to these
media. The class will include instruction
in research and writing in print and digital
Below is an image of a current Transcriptions/LCI
course page, annotated to illustrate functionality.
(Courses earlier than academic year 2001-2002
follow the different layout of the first version
of the Transcriptions site.)
quarter, Transcriptions teaching assistants offer
introductory workshops on Web authoring and other
technical skills required for courses as well
as drop-in technical and project support hours
in the Transcriptions
Studio. In addition, Transcriptions has creatd
the following online guides and tutorials:
Basics (basic outline of the process required
to download, revise, and upload web pages associated
with Transcriptions courses)
Web-Authoring (Web-Authoring Resources;
design and how-to advice for both beginning
and advanced Web authors; includes links to
HTML and design style guides, help with images,
and examples of good and bad design)
(UCSB English Dept. faculty
and graduate students have a password for
the system; follow the instructions on the
login page to acquire a password on first
use of the system)
Programmed by Transcriptions
research assistant Eric
Weitzel, Coursebuilder is a database-driven
system that allows UCSB English Department instructors
(and instructors in affiliated programs) to use
Web forms to build a full-fledged course Web site—including
pages for course overview, schedule of readings,
assignments, sections, class notes, recommended
readings, etc. Instructors can choose to develop
as few or as many aspects of a course Web site
as they wish. They can also choose which "skin"
(display interface) to use in presenting their
course. Available choices of skins include:
Each UCSB English Department faculty member of
graduate student is assigned a Coursebuilder password
that allows them to login to the Coursebuilder
system and start building courses. A normal method
of working is for instructors to create their
content in a word processor program or (for those
desiring more sophisticated Web features, Web-authoring
program) and then cut-and-paste into the appropriate
fields in the Coursebuilder Web forms. The Web
form for creating a schedule of readings, for
example, includes fields for date and title of
class, required readings, recommended readings,
link to online class notes page (if any), etc.
Coursebuilder is also integrated with the database
that drives the main UCSB English Department Web
site. This allows instructors optionally to "publish"
special events in their course on the Department
calendar of events (e.g., a visit by a guest lecturer
or the screening of a film).
This page provides teachers with practical guides
and tools for designing courses that incorporate
information technology (IT). It also includes carefully
chosen sample courses using IT components and critical
essays on specific IT applications.
directed by: Alan Liu
developed by the transcriptions team
code by: Eric Weitzel
pictures by: Bo Kinloch
this page by: Alan Liu