Jelena Karanović

Anthropologist of digital technologies and media

Introduction to Digital Media

Schedule of Readings for the Fall 2010 Semester

Dr. Jelena Karanovic
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Media, Culture and Communication
New York University

Week 1: What do we mean by digital media?

  • Lev Manovich. 2001. What is New Media? In The Language of New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Ginsburg, Faye. 2008. Rethinking the Digital Age. In The Media and Social Theory, 127-144. David Hesmondhalgh and Jason Toynbee, eds. New York: Routledge.

Week 2: Novelty and obsolescence of digital media
Session 1

  • Bolter, David, and Richard Grusin. 1999. Introduction and Chapter 1. In Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Recommended: Cohen, Kris. 2005. “What Does the Photoblog Want?” Media, Culture & Society 27 (6): 883 -901.
  • Recommended: Gitelman, Lisa, and Geoffrey Pingree, eds. 2003. New Media, 1740-1915. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Blog kick-off: Discuss one example of how a digital medium remediates an older technology. What features of older technology are being remediated? Is the new technology making a claim of greater immediacy? How so?

Session 2

  • Sterne, Jonathan. 2007. “Out with the Trash: On the Future of New Media.” In Residual Media. Charles Acland, ed. pp. 16-31.
  • Parks, Lisa. 2004. “Kinetic Screens: Epistemologies of Movement at the Interface.” In MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age, ed. Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy. London: Routledge. pp. 37-57.
  • Zhao, Michael. 2009. “eDump.” Available online at
  • Recommended: Puckett, Jim. 1997. “The Basel Ban: A Triumph over Business-As-Usual.”
  • In-class screening: Baichwal, Jennifer. 2006. “Manufactured Landscapes.” Clips.

Week 3: Utopianism and histories of digital media
Make an appointment with me to discuss your interests and ideas for the final project in this course.
Session 1

  • Turner, Fred. 2006. “How Digital Technology Found Utopian Ideology: Lessons from the First Hacker’s Conference.” In Critical Cyberculture Studies. David Silver and Adrienne Massanari, eds. New York: NYU Press. pp. 257-269.
  • Goldsmith, Jack L., and Tim Wu. 2006. Preface and Introduction. In Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of Borderless World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Recommended: Haraway, Donna. 1991. “A Manifesto for Cyborgs.” In Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge. Available online at
  • Recommended: Stallman, Richard. (1984) “The GNU Manifesto.” Available online at
  • Recommended: Barlow, John. 1996. “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace.” Available online at
  • Recommended: Bush, Vannevar. 1945. “As We May Think.” The Atlantic. Available online at

Session 2

  • Edwards, Paul. 1996. “Why Build Computers?: The Military Role in Computer Research.” In The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 43-73.
  • Light, Jennifer. 1999. “When Computers Were Women.” Technology and Culture 40: 455-483.
  • Recommended: Abbate, Janet. 1999. Inventing the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Recommended: Turner, Fred. 2006. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Week 4
Session 1 – Ambiguities of copying

  • Powers, Richard. 2001. The Artist’s Bedlam. In Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art. Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, eds. Boston: MIT Press. pp. 476-477.
  • Meiselas, Susan and Joy Garnet. 2007. On the rights of Molotov Man: Appropriation and the art of context. Harper’s Magazine 53-58.
  • In-class screening: Berger, John. 1972. “Ways of Seeing.” Clips.
  • Recommended: Benjamin, Walter. 1968 (1936). “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In Illuminations. New York: Harcourt Brace.

Session 2 – Digital archives

  • Manovich, Lev. 2001. “Database as a Symbolic Form.”
  • Bowker, Geoffrey, and Susan Leigh Star. 1999. “What a Difference a Name Makes: The Classification of Nursing Work.” In Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 229-254.
  • Christie, Michael. 2008. “Digital Tools and the Management of Australian Aboriginal Desert Knowledge.” In Global Indigenous Media: Cultures, Poetics, and Politics. Pamela Wilson and Michelle Stewart, eds. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. 270-285.

Week 5
Session 1 – Digital archives, continued: the politics of search

Session 2 – Columbus Day, no class.

Week 6
Session 1 – Network
Your first paper assignment is due.

  • Barabási, Albert-László. 2002. Linked: The New Science of Networks, 41-63 and 160-178. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.
  • Zittrain, Jonathan. 2008. Preface, Introduction, and Chapter 2 in The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. ix-x, 1-5, and 19-35.
  • Recommended: van Loon, Joost. 2006. Network. Theory, Culture & Society 23, no. 2-3: 307-314.

Session 2 – Networked peer production and civic engagement

Week 7
Session 1 – Networked peer production, journalism, and democracy

Session 2 – Networked peer production and justice

  • Shirky, Clay. 2008. “It Takes a Village to Find a Phone.” In Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations. New York: Penguin. pp. 1-25.
  • Downey, Tom. 2010. “China’s Cyberposse.” The New York Times.
  • Zittrain, Jonathan. 2008. “Meeting the Risks of Generativity: Privacy 2.0.” In The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 200-234.

Week 8
Session 1 – Redefining ownership: a debate
(1) through technological design

  • Tarleton Gillespie. 2006. “Designed to ‘Effectively Frustrate’: Copyright, Technology, and the Agency of Users.” New Media & Society 8: 651-669.
  • Jonathan Sterne. 2006. “The MP3 as Cultural Artifact.” New Media & Society 8: 825-842.
  • Future of Music Coalition. 2010. “Network Neutrality: Fact Sheet.”

(2) through emerging business models

(3) through reclaiming intellectual and civil rights

  • Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources. 2007. “Chapter 9: Fair Use.” Read especially the sections “What is Fair Use?” and “Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors.”
  • Vaidhyanathan, Siva. 2003. Introduction, in Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity. New York: NYU Press. pp. 1-16.
  • Aufderheide, Patricia, and Peter Jaszi. 2004. Untold Stories: Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture for Documentary Filmmakers. Washington, D.C.: Final Report to Center for Social Media.
  • Paley, Nina. 2009. “Frequently Asked Questions.”
  • Morfoot, Leigh and Jason. 2010. “Citizen 3.0: Copyright, Creativity and Contemporary Culture.”
  • Recommended: Paley, Nina. 2009. “Sita Sings the Blues.”

Session 2 – New media and news professions

  • Klinenberg, Eric. 2005. “Convergence: News Production in a Digital Age.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political & Social Science 597:48-64.
  • Couldry, Nick. 2010. “New Online News Sources and Writers-Gatherers.” In New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age, ed. Natalie Fenton. London: SAGE Publications. pp. 138-152.
  • Recommended: Boczkowski, Pablo. 2004. Digitizing the News: Innovation in Online Newspapers. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Week 9
Session 1 – The blurring of labor and leisure

Session 2 – New media labor and transnational mobility

  • Xiang, Biao. 2005. Gender, Dowry and the Migration System of Indian Information Technology Professionals. Indian Journal of Gender Studies 12: 357-380.
  • Recommended: Freeman, Carla. 2000. High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work, and Pink-Collar Identities in the Caribbean. Durham: Duke University Press.

Week 10
Session 1 – Redefining identities through digital media

  • Hargittai, Eszter. 2008. “The Digital Reproduction of Inequality.” In Social Stratification. Ed. David Grusky. Boulder: Westview Press. pp. 936-944.
  • Kendall, Lori. 2002. “Hanging Out in the Virtual Locker Room: BlueSky as a Masculine Space.” In Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online. University of California Press. pp. 71-108.
  • Lisa Nakamura. 2007. “Measuring Race on the Internet.” In Digitizing Race. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 171-201.

Session 2 – Redefining identities: Activist strategies
A complete draft of your final paper is due for peer review.

  • Ginsburg, Faye. 2007. “Found in Translation.” In Media Res: A Media Commons Project.
  • Gillett, James. 2003. “Media Activism and Internet Use by People with HIV/AIDS.” Sociology of Health & Illness 25 (6): 608-624.
  • Orgad, Shani. 2005. “The Transformative Potential of Online Communication: The Case of Breast Cancer Patients’ Internet Spaces.” Feminist Media Studies 5 (2): 141-161.
  • Recommended: Davidson, Joyce. 2008. “Autistic Culture Online: Virtual Communication and Cultural Expression on the Spectrum.” Social & Cultural Geography 9 (7): 791-806.

Week 11
Session 1 – Youth identities and digital media

Session 2 – Digital intimacy and surveillance
Your peer review is due in class (along with the copy of the paper that you reviewed).

  • Thompson, Clive. 2008. “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy.” The New York Times, September 7, 2008.
  • Gershon, Ilana. 2010. “Breaking Up in a Public.” In The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. pp. 165-196.
  • Recommended: Collins, Lauren. 2008. Friend Game. The New Yorker, January 21, 2008.

Week 12: Technologies of personhood
Session 1

  • Taylor, T. L. 2002. “Living Digitally: Embodiment in Virtual Worlds.” In The Social Life of Avatars: Presence and Interaction in Shared Virtual Environments, ed. Ralph Schroeder. London: Springer-Verlag. pp. 40-62.
  • In-class film screening: Matulick, Shelley. 2006. “Our Brilliant Second Life.”
  • Recommended: Boellstorff, Tom. 2008. Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Session 2

  • Reed, Adam. 2005. “’My Blog Is Me’: Texts and Persons in UK Online Journal Culture (and Anthropology).” Ethnos 70 (2): 220-242.

Weeks 13 and 14 – Student conference
Your blog portfolio is due.
Your research paper is due.

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