The Craft of Writing – Film Focus – The Digital Mundane
R1B 002 | CCN: 31131
Annie Golda Felix
Location: Cory 237
Date and Time: TU, TH 12:30pm - 1:59pm
Taking the personal computer user as its starting point, this course considers the ways in which digital technologies have seeped into everyday life. Thinking of this quotidian practice of using and living with computers as performance, we will consider questions such as: How do we (personal computer users) perform with, for, and against our digital devices, and how might the notion of performance shift our thinking about new technological problems and paradigms? The class will examine a wide variety of recent critical and theoretical writings on performance, technology, and new media, as well as sci-fi and other speculative fictions to approach the everyday practice of using digital devices as a performance. Students will also explore their own relationship to technology and performance, and examine the role of technological performance in society. In considering questions of the everyday experience of technology on a personal and societal level, we also will employ analytical, speculative and poetic modes of writing and thinking.
This course fulfills the second half of the required Reading and Composition series, so there will be an emphasis on learning to see and interpret the digital media devices and objects that surround us, and to then translate this interpretive process into writing. This might include our everyday encounters with digital devices (computers, smart phones, video game consoles etc.) and digital media (short-form video, digital images, and so on), as well as science fiction film, television, and literature that come with their own analytic questions for interpretation. We will practice this interpretation, reading, and writing inside and outside the classroom, with many shorter assignments building toward longer writing and research projects. The research skills we will build together throughout the semester will range from observing and analyzing digital phenomena in our everyday lives, to drawing theoretical insights from putting fictional and non-fictional writings on digital technology together. By the end of this course, you should be able to draw connections among our readings and case studies; conduct relevant research; create your own original arguments that address the larger questions of the course; and strengthen your writing by incorporating feedback from your classmates and instructor. This will help prepare you not only for writing across the humanities, but also for critically engaging with the digital devices and objects you encounter every day.