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Politics of the Internet

A Spring 2017 OOPS Course

The Internet is indeed a reflection of our times. Yet, a product of its social and political context, the Internet was invented in 1970s for the purpose of constructing an intelligence network that would resist a possible nuclear attack. Although initiated by the Military-Academic-Industrial complex of the era, the Internet we know required not only several other innovations, material and technical, but also processes of technological and bureaucratic standardization and internationalization carried by extra-legal international institutions such as IEFT and ICANN as well as US-based National Science Foundation.

Today 42% of world population are Internet users. And the Internet, no doubt, changed the way most of us relate to the outer world and to one another. The governance of the global Net therefore contains critical issues in several spheres of our lives. In this undergraduate seminar we work on the pressing political debates surrounding the governance, regulation and resistance of the Internet. We critically examine theoretical debates about technology, cyber-democracy, historical infrastructures, geo-politics and state surveillance and dataveillance.

*This seminar is taught by Teaching Fellow Zeyno Ustun at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts.

PART I: Invention of the Internet

Week 1 | Introduction

Mon – Introduction

Wed – Watch – History Channel – The Invention of the Internet

Week 2 

Mon – Abbate, Janet (1999) Inventing the Internet | Read – Introduction

WedAbbate, Janet (1999) Inventing the Internet | Read – CH1: White Heat and Cold War

Week 3

Mon Galloway, Alexander (2004) Protocol – How Control Exists after Decentralization | Read – Introduction

Wed Galloway, Alexander (2004) Protocol – How Control Exists after Decentralization | Read – CH1:Physical Media

Week 4

Mon Medina, Eden (2011) Cybernetic Revolutionaries Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile | Read – Introduction: Political and Technological Visions & Conclusion: Technology, Politics, History

Wed  Watch – Eyewar (2013)

PART II: Social and Political Context of Early Networks

Week 5

Mon – NO CLASS – President’s day

Wed – Turner, Fred (2016) – From Counterculture to Cyberculture | Read – Introduction & CH1:The Shifting Politics of the Computational MetaphorWeek 4

Week 6

Mon – Turner, Fred (2016) – From Counterculture to Cyberculture | Read – CH8:The Triumph of the Network Mode

Wed – Watch – We Live in Public

PART III: Politics of the Cloud

Week 7

Mon – Durham, John Peters (2015) The Marvellous Clouds Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media |Read – Introduction: In Medias Res & CH 7:God and Google

Wed – International Women Strike – No Class

Week 8

Mon – Deleuze, Gilles (1992) Postscript on the Societies of Control | Read – 1-6pg

Wed – Terranova, Tiziana (2004) Network Culture | Read – Introduction and CH1: Three Propositions on Informational Cultures

Week 9

Mon – NO CLASS – Spring Break

Wed – NO CLASS – Spring Break

Week 10

Mon – Bratton, Benjamin (2016) The Black Stack | Read –

Wed – Pasquale, Frank (2015) The Black Box Society:The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information | Read – CH1:The Need to Know

PART IV: Political Action on the Internet

Week 11

Mon – Critical Art Ensemble Digital Resistance (2000) Explorations in Tactical Media | Read: Introduction & Electronic Civil Disobedience, Simulation, and the Public Sphere

Wed – Wolfson, Todd (2014) Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left | Read: Introduction and CH1

Week 12

Mon – Castells, Manuel (2012) Networks of Outrage and Hope Social Movements in the Internet Age | Read: Introduction and Conclusion

Wed – Gerbaudo, Paolo (2013) Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism | Read: Introduction and CH1

Week 13

Mon – Philip N. Howard (2010) The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy Information Technology and Political Islam | Read: Intorduction & Conclusion

Wed – Watch – Killswitch (2014)

Week 14

Mon – Nick Dyer Witheford – Cyberproletariat: Global Labour in the Digital Vortex | Read: Introduction and CH1

Wed – Bifo Berardi – After the Future – Read – Introduction- CH 1

Week 15

Mon – Guest Lecturer Burak Arikan – Data Assymetry | Read:

Wed –  –The End of Semester


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