Graduate Topics in Film: Technologies of Identification
240-003 | CCN: 31548
*This course will be taught via Remote-Synchronous instruction
This course investigates how computational media have come to shape the form and function of identity in contemporary society, working from the premise that digital technologies have conscripted users into systems of compulsory identification with or as a set of discrete categories for the purpose of value extraction largely divorced from or in direct contradiction with a radical politics of difference. Given this transformation, it seems crucial that those disciplines which have, for decades, worked and struggled both with and against identity as the basis for a radical politics find new ways to address and critique this re-articulation of identity in the service of new forms of power. To this end we will explore contemporary work in queer, feminist, disability, and critical race theory as it engages – or fails to engage – the transformative effect of digital media today. Alongside these readings we will explore several contemporary technologies of identification, including computer vision, database design, targeted advertising, surveillance, and biometrics. Ultimately we will ask what function identity serves in our contemporary society, and how we might begin to reimagine the ways we critique and engage technical systems.