In the 90’s pundits and scholars alike asserted that the Internet would create a newly democratic society, leveling barriers to communication and allowing more users to “broadcast themselves.” This course will examine social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogging as well as networked video and virtual world games in order to see how race, class, gender, and difference operate within them. These “new media” will be examined in light of their earlier histories and their technological affordances as signifying systems. What can the Internet accomplish to encourage diversity and difference that analog media can’t? What are the limits to equal participation online and how can we tell when they have been reached?
No prior knowledge of these platforms is required though students will need to engage deeply with a few of them in order to complete the assignments.
Students will write several papers, spend time producing social media or engaging in a virtual world, take an exam, and make an oral presentation to the class.
Enrollment restricted to first-year students