DIGITAL 357 - Digital Studies and the Humanities
Fall 2023, Section 002 - From Prisms to Pantone: Color, Race, and Technology
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Digital Studies (DIGITAL)
Department: LSA Digital Studies Institute
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Waitlist Notes:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


In this class, we will take a deep dive into the rich, fascinating, and sometimes overwhelming topic of color as it is mediated by technology, culture, and politics. By doing so, we’ll open up a larger conversation about how technology shapes our perception of the world and ourselves. A major conceptual thread running throughout the course will be around the complex relationship between so-called "abstract" color in the arts and sciences and color as a tool of racial classification and oppression. Throughout the semester, we’ll look critically at the ways in which color technologies from photography to biometrics have historically been calibrated in a way that perpetuates racial bias.

With readings from media studies, critical race studies, anthropology, the history of science and technology, and architecture and design studies, some questions we will grapple with include: Is color an objective or subjective phenomenon (or both)? How does the way we perceive and understand color change with the emergence of new technologies? Is digital color really all that distinct from analog color? How does one go about mediating color on screen, and what kinds of technological and social compromises are involved? Who benefits from these compromises, and who is left out? Film screenings, as well as video artworks, paint charts, and memes, will help us flesh out ideas using concrete examples. Students will have the option to propose a creative or hybrid theory/ practice final project in lieu of a traditional written paper.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended for third- and fourth-year students: it is reading, writing, and viewing intensive. It is open to all interested undergraduates across all departments and programs, including LSA, the Honors Program, the Residential College, as well as students in music, theater, dance, art and design, architecture, engineering, etc. No familiarity with the subject material required!

Class Format:

Fully in-person, with the possibility of some remote meetings. We may also have guest speakers who will join us virtually.


DIGITAL 357 - Digital Studies and the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
002 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for DIGITAL 357.002

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for DIGITAL 357 (UM login required)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)