This is the blog for the Fall 2013 Intro to Media course at Bard College (full course description below). Here, we’ll discuss our ideas about media technologies, how humans understand themselves in relation to them, and how novelists have imagined that our media trajectories will form us as individuals and societies.
The class is composed of students studying a range of subjects in all divisions of the college: Arts; Interdivisional Programs; Languages and Literature; Science, Mathematics, and Computing; and Social Studies.
All visitors to the blog are invited to get involved in the conversation!
This course offers a foundation in media history and theory, with a focus on how to use aspects of traditional humanistic approaches such as close reading and visual literacy to critically engage with both traditional and new media. The work of theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Jean Baudrillard, Katherine Hayles , Henry Jenkins, Friedrich Kittler, and Marshall McLuhan will guide our discussions as we consider how media frame and shape humanistic texts, from medieval manuscripts to the transmediated narratives of the internet age. Topics to be covered include print culture, the rise of the motion picture and electronic media, algorithms and hypermedia, and what Jenkins has called the “convergence culture” of today. As part of our ongoing examinations of how material conditions shape discourse, we will assess our own positions as users, consumers, and potential producers of media.
Intro to Media is one of two core courses for the Experimental Humanities concentration, which seeks to give students “the historical context, theoretical background, and analytical and technical skills needed to engage productively with new forms of humanistic inquiry in our digital age” (more info at http://eh.bard.edu). This means that we will take on ambitious theoretical readings and embrace the ethos of “practice” and “making” as we consider what constitutes humanistic essays now, how they use and reflect upon “old” media, and what forms they might take in the future.