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ENGL 197 - Fall 2005,  Rita Raley

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. In its analysis of the materiality of texts, this discourse does not necessarily seek to identify a radical difference between the computer as medium and earlier writing machines like the typewriter; rather, it continues to develop analytic and semiotic paradigms particular to the technological substrate of the text. In this vein, our central concern in this seminar will 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 the poetics, aesthetics, and politics of code; electronic English; codework; operational text; text generators; machine translation; and the Free Software and Open Source movements. We will also discuss codeworkers and the virtual class in relation to the "California ideology" of entrepreneurial innovation and individual freedom.


Rita Raley

Office and Office Hours
SH 2703
On leave 2012-2013


SH 2635
MW, 11:00 AM12:15 PM

Required Texts

N. Katherine Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts
Alexander Galloway, Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization
Lawrence Lessig, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
Florian Cramer, Words Made Flesh: Code, Culture, Imagination
Course reserve list in Davidson library

30% Participation & Presentation
20% Short paper (3-4 pages)
50% Final paper/project (10-12 pages)
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