2017-2018 Catalog

MAC 260 Topics in Digital Culture

This intermediate topical course addresses new and evolving issues around digital technologies and networked publics, examining their social, cultural, political, and global ramifications both on- and off-line. Coursework will engage digital media theory and scholarship.

Exploring Virtual Reality. This theory/practice course takes a historical, critical, and experiential approach to the questions around virtual reality and the hopes and fears generated by technologically-simulated experiences. Through readings, screenings, field trips, and hands-on workshops, students will study the discourse around virtual reality, telepresence, hyperreality, and cyberspace; experience first-hand examples of the current state of the art; examine how authors and film-makers have depicted the relationship of the "virtual" to the "real" and one's avatar to one's self; and participate in small-scale collaborative projects that attempt to map and conjoin the virtual and real spaces of Occidental College. Screenings will include: The Matrix, Existenz, Sleep Dealer, and Avatar.

Who owns the Internet? This course takes a historical, critical, and experiential approach to the competing sets of interests that have struggled over control of the internet since its inception. These players - military, academic, corporate, activist, regulatory, user, etc. - will be explored through sets of readings, screenings, field trips, and hands-on workshops. Central to our inquiry will be questions of infrastructure, surveillance, and resistance, as they mark out the terrain, on which digital culture thrives, and, through which, major actors exert their influence. Students will have the opportunity to both learn about digital cultures and work in digital modes in this course, with hands on components emphasizing geo-spatial analysis, multimedia presentation, social media engagement, and webmaking.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Fine Arts