MSTU4016-09

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The History of Communication - Fall 2009
Teachers College • Columbia University
Wednesdays, 5:10 to 6:50 p.m.
433 Horace Mann  •  Teachers College

  • Robbie McClintock, Instructor
    • Office hours @ 334G Horace Mann
      Tuesdays 5:30-6:30pm and by appointment
  • Frank Moretti, Instructor
    • Office hours @ 603 Lewisohn Hall by appointment (Contact Teresa Gonzalez at teresa@columbia.edu or 212.854.1692)
  • Ruthie Palmer, Teaching Assistant
    • Office hours @ 2nd Floor, TC library, Monday 5-6 and by appointment
  • For technical assistance with any of the online tools used in this course, please contact Nitin Gumaste at ng2228@columbia.edu.

MSTU4016 Course Resources
Description and Requirements
Course Blogs
Suggestions and Feedback
Class Bibliography
Ongoing Discussion Questions


   Schedule: Fall 2009 & Spring 2010
  •  1 — September 2
Introduction and Logistics

  • Reading actively to form, share, and inform your views.
Discussion leaders: Robbie McClintock and Ruthie Palmer

Required Readings:

  • Ernest Hemingway, Indian Camp. This is a very short text that we will distribute and spend a portion of the class reading and interpreting together, time permitting.

Assignment: Create your bloghere and put a link on the Course Blogs page. Do your first by Sept. 9th, responding to the assigned readings for that day.


     •  2 — September 9
Theoretical Background

  • Technological determinism and the central problems of exploring the history of technologies and their relationship to social change
Discussion
Discussion leaders: Robbie McClintock and Ruthie Palmer
Required Readings:

Assignment: Starting this week (Sept 10-16), in addition to writing your own weekly blog entry, you should comment on the blog entries of the other people in your assigned group.



     •  3 — September 16
Interrogating the Present: Globalization and Digitization

  • What are some of the most pressing communications issues facing us today?
Discussion
Discussion leaders: Robbie McClintock and Ruthie Palmer

Required Readings:

  • Manfred B. Steger, Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), **Buy this book, available at Book Culture**. Read carefully Chapters 1 & 2, 7 & 8, pp. 1-36, 98-135, but skim the rest for familiarity with his "dimensions of globalization". Electronic Reserve.
  • John Gray, "The World is Round," The New York Review of Books, Vol. 52, No. 13, August 11, 2005 Read
  • Jaron Lanier, "Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism"; Read



     •  4 — September 23
Interrogating the Past I: Oral Epic Identities

  • How did Homer think deliberation about a course of action takes place? How can his understanding of deliberation inform your own?
Discussion
Discussion leaders: Robbie McClintock and Ruthie Palmer

Required Readings:

  • Homer, The Iliad, Richard Lattimore, trans. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), Book 1, pp. 59-75. Read
  • Eric Havelock, Preface to Plato (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963), Chapters 2-4, pp. 20-86 Read



     •  5 — September 30
Interrogating the Past II: From Formula to Concept

  • How have techniques for defining abstract concepts developed in human experience and what made them possible? Were they historical creations or part of the inborn cognitive endowment of human beings? Did they come naturally, given some minimum of intelligence? Or did they depend on some necessary cultural inventions and if so what ones?
Discussion
Discussion leaders: Robbie McClintock and Ruthie Palmer

Required Readings

  • Heraclitus, Fragments, Robin Waterfield, trans., The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) pp. 32-48. Read
  • Protagoras, Fragments, Robin Waterfield, trans., The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) pp. 205-21. Read



     •  6 — October 7
Interrogating the Past III: Plato and Reasoned Identity

  • Is preparing a person to lead an examined life a feasible educational objective? What claim on educational practice should it have?
Discussion
Discussion leaders: Robbie and Ruthie

Required Readings

  • Plato, Republic, Reeve, trans., Synopsis & Book VII. Read
  • Eric Havelock, Preface to Plato (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963), Chapters 1 & 11, pp. 3-19, 197-214. Read



     •  7 — October 14

Interrogating the Present II: The Cave and Modern Thought

Discussion
Discussion leaders: Hannah Park, Sophie Lam, Dan O'Keefe

Required Readings

  • Latour, Bruno. The Politics of Nature (pp. 9-32), Read



     •  8 — October 21
Interrogating the Past IV: Virgil and Roman Civic Pedagogy

Discussion
Discussion leaders: Ashley Ewing , Sina Lee, John Redmond
Required Readings
  • Virgil, The Aeneid, Allen Mandelbaum, trans. (New York: Bantam Dell, 2004) Books VI & VIII, pp. 131-160, 188-211. Read



     •  9 — October 28
Interrogating the Past V: The Art and Architecture of Iconographic Literacy

Discussion

     Discussion leaders: Christine Gardella, Pazit Levitan, Joohee Son

Required Readings
  • Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, anon. trans., (New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004), Book V, pp. 159-182 Read
  • Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1966), Chapters 1 and 4, pp. 1-26, 82-104. Read



     •  10 — November 4
Interrogating the Past VI: Print and Its Cognitive Effects

Discussion
Discussion leaders: Urmimala Ghosh, Xiejia (Christina) Li, Kate Rosenbloom
Required Readings
  • Elizabeth Eisenstein, "Some Conjectures about the Impact of Printing on Western Society and Thought: A Preliminary Report" in The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Mar., 1968), pp. 1-56 Read



     •  11 — November 11
Interrogating the Past VII: The Construction of Civic Imaginaries

Discussion
Discussion leaders: Acacia Graddy-Gamel, Philip Martin, Ji Yae (Esther) Kim
Required Readings
  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism (New York: Verso, 1991) pp. 1-46. Read.



     •  12 — November 18
Interrogating the Media I: The Telegraph

Discussion
Discussion leaders: Makila Meyers, Yuan (Elle) Wang

Required Readings

  • James W. Carey, "Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph," Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society (New York: Routledge, 1989), pp. 201-230. Read
  • Carey Clip 1: What interested you in the telegraph? Watch
  • Carey Clip 2: The telegraph reconfigures culture Watch
  • Carey Clip 3: Time and the telegraph Watch



     •  13 — December 2
Interrogating the Media II: Communication and Systemic Change

Discussion
Discussion leaders: Nitin Gumaste, Caitlin Nagle, Julie Warner
Required Readings:
  • James R. Beniger, The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), Introduction, pp. 1-27 Read



     •  14 — December 9
Interrogating the Media III: Communication and Systemic Change, circa 1965

Discussion
Discussion leaders: Ji Han Huo, Phyllis Woods, Dan Rabinowitz
Required Readings:
  • Marshall McLuhan, Understanding media: the extensions of man (Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press, [1964], 2003), Sections 1-3, pp. 17-60. Read
  • Marshall McLuhan, Understanding media: the extensions of man, Section 31, Television, pp. 411-446. Read



     •  15 — December 16
Interrogating the Media IV: The Place of the Real in a World of the Virtual

  • Where are we now? How might our examinations of prior moments in history provide clues for some of the issues raised by Birkerts and Sennet?
Discussion

      Discussion leaders: Robbie and Ruthie

Required Readings:
  • Birkerts, Sven, Gutenberg Elegies Ch.3,5; Read
  • Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1998), pp. 15-31, 76-97. Read
  • Final Essay Due





Fall Quick-look
Session Date Texts
--1-- 9/2 Hemingway
--2-- 9/9 Deibert
--3-- 9/16 Steger, Gray, Moglen, Lanier
--4-- 9/23 Homer, Havelock
--5-- 9/30 Heraclitus, Protagoras, Snell
--6-- 10/7 Plato, Havelock
--7-- 10/14 Latour
--8-- 10/21 Virgil
--9-- 10/28 Hugo, Yates
--10-- 11/4 Eisenstein
--11-- 11/11 Anderson
--12-- 11/18 Carey (1890)
--13-- 12/2 Beniger
--14-- 12/9 McLuhan (1965)
--15-- 12/16 Birkerts, Sennet

Intersession
Reflect for Pleasure and Profit




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