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Media Ecologies, Systems & Networks
ENGL 236 - Fall 2010,  Rita Raley

This course will provide a general overview of certain trends in contemporary media theory, with a specific focus on the question of relationality and its material manifestations as ecology, system, and network. So, in addition to thinking about the significance and critical stakes of ‘media ecology’ and ‘network politics,’ we will be thinking about issues of connectivity, which we will ground in discussions of assemblage theory, actor-network theory, swarms, cybernetics, multitudes, and affective networks. (Our discussion of social forms will either formally or informally touch upon social networks and fan and gaming communities.) We will connect our overview of the field at present with the question of network forms through a consideration of responsive environments and participatory media art works, as we trace a course from Myron Krueger and Marshall McLuhan to contemporary works such as Judd Morrissey’s The Last Performance, which he describes as “a constraint-based collaborative writing, archiving and text-visualization project responding to the theme of lastness in relation to architectural forms, acts of building, a final performance, and the interruption (that becomes the promise) of community.” We will move, then, from Roy Ascott’s articulation of a telematic politic as something like a cybernetic system to communitas itself. Course material will include data visualization projects, installations, and works of electronic literature.


Rita Raley

Office and Office Hours
SH 2703
On leave 2012-2013


SH 2617
T, 3:30 PM6:20 PM

Required Texts

Alexander Galloway & Eugene Thacker, The Exploit
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory
N. Katherine Hayles, Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage
Tiziana Terranova, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age
Matthew Fuller, Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture

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