Network Culture Course

The purpose of this seminar is to come to an advanced historical understanding of our networked age. We will explore how the network is not merely a technology with social ramifications but rather serves as a cultural dominant connecting changes in society, economy, aesthetics, urbanism, and ideology. As a history of the contemporary, the seminar is organized around a series of topics tracing a genealogy of present-day culture.

Participation: 20%
Each class will consist of a presentation by the instructor on selected themes, followed by an in-depth discussion in seminar. Students are expected to prepare all readings in order to facilitate a discussion in which all students participate. Active participation by all students in each session is required. 
Tumblr: 20%
Each student is expected to maintain a tumblelog on and to post at least twice a week. Beyond mere reblogging of information pertinent to the course, the tumblelog will form a record and commentary upon their research during the semester.
Curatorial Project: 60%
The term project will be a curatorial project, exploring a cultural topic related to the subject matter with a written and visual component.  
Both design and scholarship are integral to the term project. A carefully curated and designed work will be accompanied a 3,500 word essay on the curated material. 
There is one textbook. Kazys Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008).
Other readings will be available separately on-line.


Mizuko Ito, “Introduction,” and Kazys Varnelis, “Conclusion: The Meaning of Network Culture,” Networked Publics, 1-13 and 145-163.
Network Theory
Manuel Castells, “Informationalism, Networks, and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint. In Castells, ed. The Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2004), 3-45.
Albert-László Barabási, “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Small Worlds,” and “Hubs and Connectors,” Linked: The New Science of Networks (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2002), 25-63.
Nicholas Carr, “From the Many to the Few” The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008), 127-149.
Mark S. Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” American Journal of Sociology 78 (May 1973), 1360-1380.
Duncan J. Watts, “The Connected Age,” Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003), 19-42.
Freedom and Control
Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control ,” October 59 (Winter 1992), 73-77.
Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,”
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, “Capitalist Sovereignty, Or Administering the Global Society of Control,” Empire (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 325-350.
Alexander R. Galloway, “Physical Media,”Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 29-53.
Postmodernism and History after the End of History
Jean Baudrillard, “The End of the Millennium or the Countdown,” Economy & Society 26 (1997): 447-55.
Jean François Lyotard, “Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?” Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1984), xxiii-xxv.
Postfordism and Postmodernism
David Harvey, “Fordism” and “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation,” in The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1989), 125-172.
Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review 146 (July/August 1984): 53-92.
Hal Foster, “Postmodernism: A Preface,” in Hal Foster, ed., The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983), ix-xvi.
Place, I. Non-Place to Networked Place
Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, "Place: The Networking of Public Space," Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008), 15-42.
Marc Augé, “Prologue” and “From Places to Non-Places,” in Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, (London; New York: Verso, 1995), 1-6, 75-115.
Hans Ibelings, “Supermodernism,” Supermodernism (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1998), 55-102.
Kazys Varnelis, interview with Hans Ibelings, to be posted online.
Ignasi de Sola-Morales Rubió, “Terrain Vague,” Cynthia Davison, ed. Anyplace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 119-123.
Place, II. Maps and Things

Kazys Varnelis and Marc Tuters, “Beyond Locative Media: Giving Shape to the Internet of Things,” Leonardo 39, No. 4 (2006): 357–363.
Jordan Crandall, “Operational Media,” Ctheory,
Bruno Latour, “On Actor Network Theory: A Few Clarifications,” Soziale Welt 47 (1998): 360-81, translated version,
Culture, I. Networked Publics and Cultural Work
Adrienne Russell, Mizuko Ito, Todd Richmond, and Marc Tuters, “Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Participation,” Networked Publics, 43-76.
Yochai Benkler, “Chapter 1. Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge” and “Chapter 4. The Economics of Social Production,” The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 1-28 and 91-127.

Geert Lovink, “Blogging: The Nihilist Impulse,” Eurozine (2007),
Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), excerpts.
Culture, II. Power Laws and Influence
Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail,” Wired, October 2004,
Clay Shirky, “Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality,” Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet.
Bill Wausik, “My Crowd. Or Phase 5: A Report from the Inventor of the Flash Mob,” Harper’s Magazine (March 2006), 56-66.
Selections from Michael J. Weiss, The Clustered World: How We Live, What We Buy, and What it All Means About Who We Are (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 1999).
Malcolm Gladwell, “The Coolhunt,” New Yorker (March 17, 1997), 78-88,
Grant McCracken, “Who Killed the Coolhunter?”
Duncan J. Watts and Peter Sheridan Dodd, “Influentials, Networks, and Public Formation,” Journal of Consumer Research (December 2007), 441-458.
François Bar, Walter Baer, Shahram Ghandeharizadeh, and Fernando Ordonez "Infrastructure: Network Neutrality and Network Futures," in Networked Publics, 109-144.
Joseph A .Tainter, “Introduction to Collapse,” The Collapse of Complex Societies, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 1-21.
Tom Vanderbilt, “Data Center Overload,” The New York Times (June 8, 2009),

Nicholas Carr, “World Wide Computer” The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008), 107-127.
Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008, 56-63.
Kenneth J. Gergen,“Social Saturation and the Populated Self,” The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 48-80.
Brian Holmes, “The Flexible Personality. For a New Cultural Critique, Transversal,
Warren Neidich, “Resistance is Futile,” Artbrain. Journal of Neuroasthetic Theory 4,
Politics, Urbanism, and Globalization
Saskia Sassen, “On Concentration and Centrality in the Global City,” Paul L. Knox and Peter J. Taylor, eds., World Cities in a World-System (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 63-78.
Saskia Sassen, “Electronic space and power,” Journal of Urban Technology 4 (1997): 1-17.
Stephen Graham, “Communication Grids: Cities and Infrastructure,” in Saskia Sassen, Global Networks. Linked Cities (London: Routledge, 2002), 71-92.