Professor: Jim Brown
Class Time: Monday, 6:00-8:50pm
Meeting Place: BSB 108

Professor Brown's Office: Digital Commons, Room 104
Office Hours: Monday, 4:30-6:00pm
Email: jim[dot]brown[at]rutgers[dot]edu

Course Website:

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this class, students will be able to:

  • Interpret and create arguments about the cultural and environmental impacts of digital technologies
  • Effectively summarize and analyze academic arguments
  • Apply critical concepts to a range of texts and technologies
  • Design, plan, and execute research and creative projects

Required Books
You should plan to purchase the following texts or secure them through the Library during the weeks we are reading them. I am currently working with the Robeson Library to make these texts available in the Course Reserves:

  • Race After Technology, Ruha Benjamin
  • Soft Science, Franny Choi
  • Finite Media, Sean Cubitt
  • Beyond Hashtags, Sarah Florini

In addition to these texts, a number of others will be made available for download (articles and excerpts of books). Please see our shared folder for details (link distributed via email).

  • Distributed Blackness, André Brock
  • The Internet of Garbage, Sarah Jeong
  • "The Lifecycle of Software Objects," Ted Chiang
  • The Spam Book, Jussi Parikka and Tony Sampson, eds.
  • The Glitch Moment(um), Rosa Menkman
  • Spam, Finn Brunton
  • "#Gamergate and The Fappening: How Reddit’s algorithm, governance, and culture support toxic technocultures," Adrienne Massanari
  • Updating to Remain the Same, Wendy Chun
  • Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino
  • Not all Dead White Men, Donna Zuckerberg
  • "Tumblr was a Trans Technology," Haimson et. al.
  • Network Propaganda, Benkler et. al.
  • Digital Rubbish, Jennifer Gabrys
  • Signal Traffic, Lisa Parks and Nicole Starosielski, eds.
  • "Digital Refuse," Sarah T. Roberts
  • Culture Machine, Vol 18. "The Nature of Data Center," Mél Hogan and Asta Vonderau, eds.
  • "The Gathering Cloud," JR Carpenter
  • Behind the Screen, Sarah T. Roberts
  • "Rethinking Repair," Stephen Jackson
  • "The Timeliness of Repair," Lara Houston
  • Ephemera, 19(2), special issue on "Repair Matters," Valeria Graziano and Kim Trogal, eds.
  • "Zombie Media," Jussi Parikka and Garnet Hertz
  • "On trans-, glitch, and gender as machinery of failure," Jenny Sundén
  • Depletion Design, Carolin Wiedemann & Soenke Zehle, eds.
  • Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, Anna Tsing et. al., eds.

Course Work and Grades
In this class, the following work will be evaluated:

  • Attendance (15%)
  • Collaborative Annotations (15%)
  • Book/Article Review (20%)
  • Final Project (50%)

Grades will be assigned on the following scale:

A 90-100
B+ 87-89
B 80-86
C+ 77-79
C 70-76
D 60-69
F 59 and below

Success in this class will require regular attendance, and I will take attendance at each class meeting. You are required to attend class daily, arrive on time, do assigned reading and writing, and participate in all in-class work. Please save absences for when you are sick or have a personal emergency. If you find that an unavoidable problem prevents you from attending class or from arriving on time, please discuss the problem with me.

If you are more than 10 minutes late for class, you will be considered absent. If there is something keeping you from getting to class on time or that requires that you leave class a few minutes early (i.e., bus or train schedules), please let me know during the first week of class.

Computers, Smartphones, etc.
Please feel free to use your computer or any other device during class, provided that your use of it is related to what we are working on in class. Please silence cell phones during class.

Intellectual Property
Using the work of others without attribution, having another student complete an assignment for you, or any other violations of the university's Academic Integrity Policy will result in a failing grade. If you have questions about the that policy, please see the Dean of Student Affairs website.

The Office of Disability Services
From the The Office of Disability Services (ODS):

"The ODS provides students with confidential advising and accommodation services in order to allow students with documented physical, mental, and learning disabilities to successfully complete their course of study at Rutgers University – Camden. The ODS provides for the confidential documentation and verification of student accommodations, and communicates with faculty regarding disabilities and accommodations. The ODS provides accommodation services, which can include readers, interpreters, alternate text, special equipment, and note takers. The ODS acts as a signatory for special waivers. The ODS also works with students, faculty, staff and administrators to enforce the American with Disabilities Act of 1990."

If you believe you might require an accommodation, please contact the ODS early in the semester.

Shared Files, Course Website, and Email
You should check your email daily. Class announcements about readings and assignments will be distributed through email. The course website will also have important information about assignments and policies. Pay close attention to the course calendar as we move through the semester. I reserve the right to move things around if necessary.