Digital Trash Autobiography (20%)

What kind of digital trash do you produce? In a 1000-word paper, describe your own digital practices and what kind of waste is produced by them. Remember that we are thinking about "digital trash" broadly. We are interested in the devices that end up in landfills, but we are also interested in your social media posts, email, word processor documents, and more. What do you produce digitally, and how much of it could we considered to be trash? How sustainable are your digital practices? What impact do they have on those around you, on the environment, and on the broader technological environment?

These essays will be modeled on those published by the "Speculative Historiographies of Techno-Trash" project. While writing and revising, you should read the essays published there, which should provide inspiration and with a sense for the range of approaches you can take in this project.

In this 1000-word essay, you will reflect on one or more of the following questions:

  • What counts as "trash" in your everyday digital practices?
  • How do your digital practices affect the environment, whether we consider that term to describe the natural environment or the digital spaces in which you interact?
  • Do you approach your digital life in a sustainable way? How or how not? How could you change your practices?
  • What portions of your life are most rife with trash?

This list is not exhaustive, but it should at least indicate the kinds of things you should address in this paper. The paper does not need to address all aspects of your digital life. It may make more sense to narrow things and choose a specific aspect of your interactions with digital technology. In addition, you should plan to research the technology or technologies that you plan to write about.

When grading these papers, I will be asking the following questions:

  • Does your paper coherently and concisely address your own production of or interaction with digital trash?
  • Do you support claims with evidence?
  • Does the paper show evidence that you've conducted careful research?
  • Does the paper provide evidence that you've carefully written and revised?
  • Have you observed the word limits?
  • Is your paper clearly written with few grammatical errors?

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