Studies in Digital Media and Culture
MA 362

W 10-13:45 W 417
Spring 2001

Katrien Jacobs
Visual and Media Arts
180 Tremont, room 1106
Office hours: Tuesdays 10am-1pm


*printer friendly version*

description & goals


student projects

texts & movies

week by week


This course will give an overview of major theories of digital culture and media and introduce diverse social, artistic, theoretical and cultural practices which constitute today's digital domains and virtual environments. A major part of the course will make us critically analyze the development of digital technologies from a set of activist and artistic practices and ideologies such as feminism, cross-culturalism, net activism, interface design, and media philosophy. We will also explore the (re) construction of human identity and the body through a vibrant network of ideas and actions by studying cyborg theory, cyberfeminism, webcams, chatrooms, Internet mailing lists and new media art. The course will enable students to explore and respond to theories and digital productions and investigate basic ethical issues such as surveillance-privacy, censorship, gender and ethnicity, and the commercialization of the public sphere. Students are also asked to actively explore the Internet by closely investigating and participating in emerging web communities, or by making a miniature design for a digital educational and social environment.

Class attendance and participation is 100% mandatory.

Two page response papers to readings, movies, fieldtrips and websites. These papers will be critical and creative responses to specific questions about weekly topics. Due dates are indicated on week-to-week outline below. Response papers have to be brought into class on the due date, without any exceptions!

One major research paper about ethical/political issues surrounding Internet culture. Due Week Nine March

Final project and in-class presentation about one of the two topics:


WEB COMMUNITIES. Students critically investigate identity formations within a set of web communities e.g. cyberzines, news groups, music collectives, chatrooms. Students are asked to relate the research to course readings and to make an active contribution to one of the communities, showing evidence of the learning process in theory and practice.

CYBER LOUNGE. Is an imaginative student space which allow students to go online and explore the various aspects of digital culture. Students in the course will be asked to make a design for this space (using old-fashioned models or multimedia design) and indicate which type of computers, screen designs, software, social interactions and furniture which will best suit their needs and imagination.

Spring 2000 MA Cyberspaces

Spring 2000 362C Cyber Spaces

Spring 2001 MA 362 Projects

Spring 2001 MA 663 Projects

Spring 2002 MA 362 Projects

Spring 2002 MA 663 Projects

Spring 2003 MA 362 Project

Spring 2003 MA 663 Projects

You can work individually, in pairs, or in groups of three. In-class presentations required in Week Thirteen or Fourteen.

Attendance and Participation 10%
Response Papers 30%
Longer Paper 30%
Final Project 30%

Course Reader MA 663 Reader

The Cybercultures Reader, David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy eds. (Routledge, 2000)

Ghost in the Shell, Mamory Oshii, Distributed by Manga Entertainment, 1996.
Existenz, David Cronenberg, Alliance Atlantis Communications, 1999.
The Matrix,
Andy and Larry Wachowski, Warner Bros, 1999.
Synthetic Pleasures, 1996.

Martin Luther King Holiday (No Classes)

Cyberculture and (Loss of) Aura

Introducing the syllabus

Look at student project websites from previous courses

In-Class Screening Synthetic Pleasures

Discussion Walter Benjamin,"The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." (Course Reader)



Michael Benedikt, "Cyberspace: First Steps" (Cybercultures Reader, p. 29.)

First Response Paper Due: Response to Synthetic Pleasures and Benedikt.


Digital Animation and Cyborgs

Joseph C. Schaub: "Kusanagi's Body: The Confusion of Boundaries in Ghost in the Shell" (Course Reader)

Anne Balsamo,"The Virtual Body in Cyberspace" (Cybercultures Reader, p.489)

Ghost in the Shell, Mamory Oshii, Distributed by Manga Entertainment, 1996 (In class Screening)


Cyborg Theory

Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century," Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York: Routledge, 1991, pp, 149-182. 9 (Cybercultures Reader, p.291.)

Hyperlinks to Donna Haraway

Second Response Paper Due: Reponse to Ghost in the Shell and Balsamo.


The Matrix in Cinema

Allucquere Rosanne Stone: "Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?" (Cybercultures Reader, p. 504)

Dr. Future "The Matrix Rules" (Course Reader)

Existenz, David Cronenberg, Alliance Atlantis Communications, 1999 (In class Screening)

The Matrix, Andy and Larry Wachowski, Warner Bros, 1999 (Home Viewing)

Third Response Paper Due: Response to Stone


Digital Art/The Cybernetic Body


Stelarc,"From Psycho-Body to Cybersystems: Images as Post-human Entities." (Cybercultures Reader,p. 561.)

Mark Dery, "Ritual Mechanics. Cybernetic Body Art" (Cybercultures Reader, p. 577)

Look at the homepage of Stelarc

Channel Four Video on Cybernetic Art (In class Screening)

Fourth Response Paper Due: Response to Stelarc and Derygf


Internet Politics/Music and Copyright

Joel Schalit and Joel Stern,"Sample My Privates: the Politics of New Media and Copyright Law" (Course Reader)

Midterm Paper Due!


Internet Politics/Censorship

John Perry Barlow, "Censorship 2000" (Course Reader)

Garet Branwyn,"Compu-Sex: Erotica for Cybernauts" (Cybercultures Reader, p. 396)


Gender on the Net/Cyberfeminism

Sophie Treadwell, Machinal (Course Reader)

Nina Wakeford "Networking Women and Grrrls" (Cybercultures Reader, p.350)

Cyberfeminism and Artists: VNS Matrix Shu Lea Cheang

Fourth Response Paper Due: Machinal


Ethnicity and Globalization on the Net

Lisa Nakamura, "Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet" (Cybercultures Reader, p. 712)

Ananda Mitra, "Virtual Commonality: Looking for India on the Internet." (Cybercultures Reader, p. 676)


Net Communities and Activism



In-Class presentations

4/10 Web communities (Beta)

4/12 Le Cyber@Emerson (Beta)


In-Class Presentations

4/17 Web Communities (Final)

4/19 Le Cyber@Emerson (Final)


main / cv / articles / teaching / peep@porn