Overview This course introduces students to the conceptual, institutional, and practical foundations of the social analysis of the internet and information technology. A good deal of our time will be spent exploring the histories, paradigms, processes, and actors shaping the ongoing development of the information field. Topically, the course provides a grounding in intellectual property policy; network economies and externalities; peer production and user innovation; information privacy; and digital governance. The course also emphasizes the development of core skills, introducing students to relevant analytic contributions from the fields of economics, communication, law, the social sciences and public policy.
Learning Outcomes Analyze and discuss various information technologies, their impacts on society, and the societal norms under which these technologies are designed. Write concise and well-reasoned briefs on a variety of topics. Organize and Annotate scholarly works in the social sciences, particularly those which deal with technology. Analyze and Criticize the underlying social values of the technologies that you use daily.
Office hours and Assignments Office Hours Office hours will be by appointment, or with Steve on Wednesdays between 2-4pm. Requirements Assignment 1: Observation/Analysis -- 20 pts Assignment 2: Governmentality -- 20 pts Assignment 3: Does Information Want to be Free? -- 20 pts Remix Wiki Participation -- 20 pts Reading Responses -- 20 pts
Assignment 1 Assignment 1: Observation/Analysis DUE WEEKS 2, 3, and 4 (based on assignment group) With some means of taking notes, go to an area where information technology use is common, such as a coffee shop or library. Over the course of a half hour, observe the interactions and relationships individuals have with their information technology. Take copious notes. The formatting of your notes is not important, but you do have to turn them in along with your analysis. Following your observation, analyze the notes you took and, in about 500 words, describe the results of your observations.
Week 1: Introduction to the Course O CTOBER 3 RD No readings for this week. In class: Discussion of syllabus; IT in the news; Critical reading; Citation and writing style
Week 2: Governmentality and Networks O CTOBER 10 TH Link Foucault, M. On Governmentality. in Burchell, Gordon, and Miller eds. The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (University of Chicago Press: Chicago 1991): pp 87-104. Link LinkGleick The Information History, Theory, Flood Chapter 5: A nervous system for the earth Link In class: Film Discussion of TEDTalks from Hasan Elahi and Jonathan harris READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP A (Week 2) ASSIGNMENT 1 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP C
Week 3: Technologies of Information O CTOBER 17 TH Simon, H. 1996. Sciences of the Artificial (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 1996) Intro, CH.1 Link Blair, A. and Stallybrass, P. Mediating Information. in Siskin and Warner, eds. This is Enlightenment (University Of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL 2010) Link Part 1 of REMIX In class: REMIX wiki writing READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP B (Weeks 2-3) ASSIGNMENT 1 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP A
Week 4: Classification of Information O CTOBER 24 TH LinkBowker and Star. 1999. Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences. Chapters 6 and 9. Link LinkClay Shirkey. Ontology is Overrated. Link LinkLinkSamford Berman, Inside Censorship and Classism in the Stacks: Libraries and Poor People. Link In class: Classification of photographs READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP C (Weeks2-4) ASSIGNMENT 1 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP B
Week 5: Wikileaks and Privacy O CTOBER 31 ST LinkYochai Benkler, A Free and Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle for the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate, DRAFT Link In class: Film discussion of Wikileaks documentary TBA READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP A (Weeks 3-5) ASSIGNEMTN 2 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP C
Week 6: Intellectual Property and the DMCA N OVEMBER 7 TH LinkGillespie, Tarleton. Copyright and Commerce: The DMCA, Trusted Systems, and the Stabilization of Distribution. The Information Society. (v20n4, Sept. 2004): 239-54. Link READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP B (Weeks 4-6) ASSIGNMENT 2 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP A
Week 7: Social Networks and Communication N OVEMBER 14 TH Manuel Castells. Chapter 2: Communication in the Digital Age, Communication Power (Oxford University Press) LinkDominique Boullier, Preserving diversity in social network architectures. In F. Massit-Follea, C. Meadel, L. Monnoyer-Smith (eds.) Normative Experience in Internet Politics (Presses des Mines, 2012) Link REMIX Part 2 In class: REMIX wiki writing READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP C (Weeks 5-7) ASSIGNMENT 2 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP B
Week 8: Cyber Infrastructures and Distributed Labor N OVEMBER 21 ST LinkIrani, L. 2011. Infrastructuring Human Computation: Examining Amazon Mechanical Turk. Working paper, UC Irvine. Link LinkSteven J. Jackson, Paul N. Edwards, Geoffrey C. Bowker, and Cory P. Knobel. Understanding Infrastructure: History, Heuristics, and Cyberinfrastructure Policy. First Monday, Volume 12, Number 6.4 June 2007 Link In class: Mechanical Turk Exploration and Analysis READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP A (Weeks 6-8) ASSIGNMENT 3 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP C
Week 9: Identity and Gender N OVEMBER 28 TH LinkNicholas A. Palomares and Eun-Ju Leen. Virtual Gender Identity: The Linguistic Assimilation to Gendered Avatars in Computer-Mediated Communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology March 2010 vol. 29 no. 1 5-23 Link In class: Futures of the Past Film discussion READING RESPONSES DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP B (Weeks 7-9) ASSIGNMENT 3 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP A
Week 10: History and the Future D ECEMBER 5 TH Link Wells, H.G. (1938). World Brain. London: Methuen Link Bush, Vannevar (1945). As We May Think. The Atlantic Magazine (July, 1945) No in-class activity READING RESPONSES DUE: ALL ASSIGNMENT GROUPS, ALL REMAINING WEEKS ASSIGNMENT 3 DUE: ASSIGNMENT GROUP B
Logical fallacies Post hoc ergo propter hoc For example, a person who has her computer crash after she installs a new piece of software would probably suspect that the software was to blame. If she simply concluded that the software caused the crash because it was installed before the crash she would be committing the Post Hoc fallacy.
Is the Evidence Valid? Cold fusion is a proposed  type of nuclear reaction that would occur at, or near, room temperature, compared with temperatures in the millions of degrees that is required for "hot" fusion. As a new type of nuclear reaction, it was proposed to explain reports by experimenters of anomalously high energy generation under certain specific laboratory conditions. It has been rejected by the mainstream scientific community because the original experimental results could not be replicated consistently and reliably, and because there is no generally accepted theoretical model of cold fusion. nuclear reactiontemperature"hot" fusionenergyreplicated
Is the Evidence Enough? Have scientists really discovered proof of ESP? A respected scientific journal is publishing a paper by a Cornell professor who claims he's proven the existence of extra-sensory perception. Should we take it seriously?
Cui Bono? Testing and thorough clinical trials are fundamental to good medical drugs, but there are numerous accusations of shortcuts, including pressuring for favorable results, testing on people without their proper approval, using drugs for unapproved uses and much more.
What are they not thinking of? The problem of IQ tests …
Freedom - digital citizens have a right to a free, uncensored internet Openness - digital citizens have a right to an open, unobstructed internet Equality - all digital citizens are created equal on the internet Participation - digital citizens have a right to peaceably participate where and how they choose on the internet Creativity - digital citizens have a right to create, grow and collaborate on the internet, and be held accountable for what they create Sharing - digital citizens have a right to freely share their ideas, lawful discoveries and opinions on the internet Accessibility - digital citizens have a right to access the internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they areaccess the internet Association - digital citizens have a right to freely associate on the internet Privacy - digital citizens have a right to privacy on the internet Property - digital citizens have a right to benefit from what they create, and be secure in their intellectual property on the internet