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NM 142
New Media History and Theory

Instructor: Curt Cloninger / curt at lab404 dot com

"New Media" may be understood as media that is dependent upon computers. This course traces the history of new media, from the origins of computing in the first half of the 20th century to contemporary new media art, design, and theory. We will read critical texts by artists, scientists, and theorists; and we will respond in writing, through class discussion, and by making -- interpreting these texts in various social, political, aesthetic, and ethical contexts.

Note: This course fulfills the Arts requirement for topical cluster 15: Mechanical, Electrical and Optical Inventions: Science and Societal Impact.

This course is Writing Intensive, which means writing is an essential component of this course. You will read and be exposed to various multi-disciplinary perspectives. Writing is an integral tool which will allow you to better comprehend and assimilate these perspectives. Through your writing, you will develop and explore original insights regarding new media and its relation to contemporary culture. Research, thinking, and written expression are intrinsically related.

Note: The University Writing Center (UWC), located on the main floor of Ramsey Library (room 136), offers support to writers in 45-minute, one-on-one sessions. UWC consultations are highly recommended but not required. The UWC helps writers: brainstorm; find a topic; incorporate and document sources; organize their drafts; develop revision strategies; and more. If you visit the UWC, take a copy of your assignment, any drafting or notes you may have, as well as any sources you're working with. To find out more about UWC services, visit their web page at unca.edu/uwc. To schedule an appointment, call 251-6596 or stop by in person during open hours.

Student Learning Objectives
In this course you will:

  • Understand how media, technology, and culture affect each other.
  • Gain insight into the historical evolution of new media forms.
  • Develop a foundation for the pursuit of new media research.
  • Develop a more rigorous and purposeful practice of "reading" new media.
  • Develop a theoretical vocabulary with which to describe and analyze new and emergent media.
  • Improve your ability to dialogue in class about topics related to the assigned readings.
  • Distinguish between various tones and genres of writing within new media theory (technical, philosophical, art critical, cultural).
  • Understand the purpose and the process of revision in writing.
  • Articulate a coherent thesis in your writing and support it with appropriate evidence and argumentation.

Required Materials:
Bulldog email account -- check regularly
Student web hosting space (for posting work)
Flash drive, notebook or sketchbook, graph paper, pencils, and pens



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