56:350:594 The Internet of Garbage (Spring 2020)


[Image Credit: Chris Jordan, "Cell phones #2, Atlanta 2005"]

"The Internet is garbage." This is how Sarah Jeong begins her ebook, The Internet of Garbage. She shows us that so much content on the Internet must be sifted and sorted, moderated and trashed. Spam, harassment, racism, and misogyny. All of this is commonplace on the Internet, which is no longer even a space separate from "offline" life. But the problem goes beyond this, since the Internet also produces other kinds of garbage too, from the mobile devices tossed into landfills to the carbon spewed into the environment by Google's servers. This course addresses these issues by examining theoretical texts, literary artifacts, digital art, and games that take seriously what we normally dismiss as the waste of our digital interactions. This course will cover a broad range of theoretical approaches, including but not limited to critical race theory, intersectional feminism, game studies, and media archaeology. Course assignments will be flexible and will allow students to pursue both critical and creative projects. No digital skills are required.