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The Culture of Information *
ENGL 25 - Spring 2007,  Alan Liu

Circuitry ImageThis course studies contemporary information culture from the viewpoint of the humanities. 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 online readings.

This course counts toward the English Dept's specialization in Literature and the Culture of Information.

Section Information:

Enrollment code: 47258 There are two sections of English 25, both led by teaching assistant Lydia Balian:

  1. enrollment code: 47266, W 8:00-8:50 pm. South Hall 1415
  2. enrollment code: 47274, W 9:00-9:50 pm. South Hall 1415

Lydia Balian's office and office hours: South Hall 2432 U, W 10:30-12:30


Alan Liu

Office and Office Hours
SH 2521
Please email


PSYCH 1802
MWF, 1:00 PM1:50 PM

Required Texts

David Trend, ed., Reading Digital Culture
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
William Gibson, Neuromancer
Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy
M. D. Coverley, Califia (hypertext novel on CD-ROM)
Course Reader (available at Alternative Copy Shop)

15% 4-page paper
15% Midterm Reading Exam
10% Online, revised 4-page paper
30% 8-page essay
15% Section Participation
15% Final Reading Exam
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