Cyberculture Studies

Schedule of Upcoming Research Presentations:

Posted by kscott on April 4, 2007

I switched two folks (pushed them back), because I didn’t want anyone to have to present on the day the final paper was due, so please check the schedule to see when you are presenting:

April 10th: Alex

April 17th: Gwen, Andrew A.

April 24th: Tifani, Nedda, Salvatore, and Andrew R.

May 1st: Abby, Rebecca, Emeric, and Michelle

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Response Assignment #6 – Due April 6th

Posted by kscott on April 3, 2007

cybersex.jpgIn response to the following readings:

    • Garet Branwyn, “Compu-Sex: Erotica for Cybernauts” (CR p. 396).
    • Randall Woodland, “Queer Spaces, Modem Boys and Pagan Statues: Gay Lesbian Identity and the Construction of Cyberspace,” (CR 416)
  • Susan Stryker, “Transsexuality: The Postmodern Body And/As Technology,” (CR 588).
  • Bonnie Ruberg, “Cyberporn Sells in Virtual World,” Wired, 12.19.05

Consider some of the following questions (though feel to discuss any issue that draws your attention that I do not mention below):

  1. How is sexuality embodied and performed in cyberspace?
  2. Thinking back to discussions of the body and the cyber/cyborg body, in what ways does the performance of sexuality online either inform or reflect our perceptions around the body?
  3. In what ways do people construct and deconstruct identities through the performance of sexuality?
  4. In what ways might identities be challenged by performances of online sexuality?
  5. What, if any, impact do computer-mediated relationships have on real-life relationships (or one’s ability to have such relationships)? Or is our contemporary culture and the way we interact with one another intimately informing cyberspace?

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Sunday, April Fools Day . . .

Posted by kscott on April 1, 2007

hiding-something.jpgHi folks – since you’ve got more than enough on your plate this week with continuing to work on revisions of your essay and three readings, I’m not going to require posting this week. HOWEVER, if you are behind in any way (have missed some postings, for example), I will accept comments to this blog with regards to any one of the readings this week and will count as EXTRA CREDIT.

So this is your opportunity to do a little catch-up if you are behind.

No joke . . .

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“The Avatar as Communication” – slide show

Posted by kscott on March 15, 2007

Check out this slide show, “The Avatar as Communication,” by Angela A Thomas (aka: “Anya Ixchel” in SL), a lecturer from the University of Sydney. It speaks to a number of issues that we’ve been talking about in class.

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More about virtual communities:

Posted by kscott on March 13, 2007

FYI: Howard Reingold’s book, The Virtual Community, has been made accessible online.

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To watch . . .

Posted by kscott on March 13, 2007

These videos are by an IAM professor, Patrick Lichty:

Patrick writes: “In early 2000, I purchased a Casio WQV-1 WristCam watch on a whim, and it has become one fo my favorite tools. It is simultaneously the embodiment of technological determinism and its antithesis, as it was once the ‘next big thing’, and also a device that challenges the idea that digital art is about resolution and verisimilitude (as the WQV-1 is black and white at 100×100 pixels resolution), thus resembling older technologies such as 1980′s style personal computers.” 

Brief Synopsis of 8 Bits or Less (4:47, Q1 2002): “An artist who has become blind (whether physically or ideologically) has resorted to viewing his world throught the prosthetic devices that constitute his sense, like cell phones, and wristcams. The result is a distored landscape that considers Sitationist theory, surveillance culture, identity, and alien abduction.”

Brief Synopsis of A Wristful of Bits (4:34, Q4 2002, Featuring Holly Hughes): “Our protagonist feels that he has been dependent on prosthetic sight for too long, and any distinction between the real and simulated seem blurred at best. The video contrasts a musing on reality in the digital world with a surreal story about the rise and fall of animatronic animals, and how the world was saved by performance artist Holly Hughes.”

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Questions to ask yourself while revising:

Posted by kscott on March 6, 2007

Utilizing the same example we did in class while in groups, please make sure that you consider the following questions while revising your essay. If you cannot apply each of these questions to your essay, then you will able to identify weak areas within your text.

1) Identify the one-two sentences in your essay that explicitly states your thesis/argument.

2) How do you lead up to this argument/thesis; do you get to your thesis relatively quickly? Is the prose that comes before your thesis absolutely relevant to the understanding of your argument? If not, could you get rid of some or all of it and go directly into your argument?

3) Identify at least three uses of textual evidence within your essay and see if you are very explicitly explaining the relevance of this evidence to your overall argument/thesis.

4) Identify at least three examples that you are using within your essay; how are you using these examples? How does each example support the thesis/argument?

5) Locate your quotes – are you explaining the purpose, relevance and/or ways in which each of those quotes is relevant to your argument or helps support your argument?

6) Do you reiterate your argument/thesis within 1-2 sentences within your conclusion?

7) Does each and every paragraph speak explicitly to your thesis? Does each and every sentence lend support to your thesis?

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Response Assignment #5

Posted by kscott on February 28, 2007

Please consider any one or combination of the following questions, utilizing your readings for this week (as well as any others that we’ve discussed that may also be applicable):

  1. What challenges do these (and other previously read) scholars pose to the postmodern notion that cyberspace enables flight from all of the physical limits and boundaries of the body?
  2. After considering your readings, do you believe that it is possible to leave one’s body behind when entering cyberspace? Why or why not? What effective arguments do the authors make to support your conclusion?
  3. In both readings, the words “identity,” “embodiment,” “subjectivity,” and “gender” are frequently utilized. Discuss your understanding of each of these terms and support your understanding of each term by engaging one or more of our assigned texts.
  4. Looking over the last several readings, describe your understanding of how the theoretical concept of subjectivity has evolved over the past 100 or so years. Are we potentially entering a new era of both the experience and understanding of subjectivity? Why or why not?
  5. In what ways is both online and real life identity described as a cyclical movement? How does each impact and/or inform the other in this described cycle?
  6. According to the authors, how do our genders inform our online identities? How might gender reflect our cyberspace identity role choices?
  7. At one point, one of the authors describes the body as an “absent signifier.” Explain this concept in your own words and provide a (real or fictional) example.
  8. In what ways might online experiences of “other” identities translate into real life experiences, according to the authors?
  9. According to the authors, does the postmodern subject have an essential core (gendered) identity? Why or why not? In what way might the subject (with or without an essential core gendered identity) inform or reflect our internet personae?
  10. In what ways might our real life bodies and/or subjectivities be complicated by our online bodies and/or subjectivities (or lack thereof)?

NOTE: Be sure to reference one or more of the authors, our discussions, and/or other readings to help support your thoughts and conclusions. While personal experience is certainly useful and can serve as an example, do not rely solely on personal experience to support your point/s.

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Resources, sites, books, etc. for Essay #1:

Posted by kscott on February 21, 2007

If you come across any good sites, books, or other resources for your essay, post them here, so you can share with the rest of the class. Also, if you are struggling with any particular issue or way of approaching a certain text, post your thoughts, concerns, and questions here — so we can all help!

No required blog posting for next week, but make sure that you come with your essay in hand. Please email me with any questions.

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Assignment for next week (February 20th)

Posted by kscott on February 14, 2007

Due to the snow storm and canceled class last night, I have moved the first essay paper due date back by one week. Therefore, Essay #1 will now be due on February 27th, instead of next week. I also moved up a reading from the week of the 27th to next week (to make the reading lighter during the week your essay is due). So please make sure that you note the additional reading for next week (Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto”). I also took away the previous Turkle article.
For next week, please read the following:

  • Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late Twenthieth Century,” (CR 291)
  • Diana Gromala, “Pain and Subjectivity in Virtual Reality,” (CR 598).

Instead of blogging about the readings for next week, please start giving some serious thought to your Essay #1 topic, and post an essay proposal here with the following information:

  • What is the question that you want to explore and/or attempt to answer with this essay?
  • What sources from our class assigned reading do you expect to utilize in attempting to further explore and answer your question?
  • Suggest at least two outside/independent resources that you expect to utilize (scholarly writing that we have NOT read for class) and give a very general summary of what those resources talk about/speak to and HOW you anticipate they might help you answer your question.

Once you have sent in this information to the blog, I will read and make suggestions for each of you, if needed, and then approve your essay proposal.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email me.

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