SAMPLE SYLLABUS may vary. E59.1347

SAMPLE SYLLABUS – This syllabus is provided as a sample. Some course content
may vary.
From the Cinematic to the Handheld: Cultural History of Screens
Course Description
Whether large, small, wide, high-definition, public, personal, shared, or handheld, screens are one of the
most pervasive technologies in everyday life. From spaces of work to spaces of leisure, screens are sites
for collaboration, performance, surveillance, and resistance. This course traces the cultural history of
screens through a range of forms -- from the panorama to the cinema, from the radar system to the
television, and from the terminal to the mobile device -- to provide a way of thinking about the
development of the screen as simultaneously architectural, material, representational and computational.
Required Texts
(1) All required readings are available on Blackboard.
(2) Optional is the purchase of Anne Friedberg. (2006). The virtual window: From Alberti to Microsoft.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Friedberg provides a compelling overview of screen history. It's a great
shelf reference.
(3) Laser pointer. Don't lose an eye.
Expectations and Assessment
Readings are to be completed before class. Class meetings center on in-depth discussion of
concepts from the texts. Weekly meetings are our opportunity to work through texts as a community
and the prerequisite for high-quality discussion is that everyone reads material ahead of time. Come to
class prepared for discussion.
Engaged participation. I will be looking for knowledge-building contributions that show not
only that you are trying to understand the readings but also that help contribute to your
peers’ understandings. A pre-requisite for active and intelligent participation in discussions is
prompt and regular attendance to all classes. Notify me in advance if you are going to miss a class.
Reading Screens: As part of this course students will be asked to conduct a series of analyses of
a screenscape (broadly understood), in which they both perform a close reading of visual form, and
demonstrate how practices within their chosen context are conducted. Analysis 1 will be a brief written
report based on extremely close readings of the texts. Details to follow. Analysis 2 will be a written
report that blends course materials with original analysis of a screenscape from the world. As part of
this exercise you’ll landmark the screenscape under analysis in a shared public map. Finally, students
will complete a larger project during the course of the semester on a particular historical or
contemporary configuration of the screen. This project may be conducted in collaboration with
another student. Final projects may be archived online, as part of our communal assemblage of a
cultural history of screens. We will present these during our final class meetings.
(4) Grading policy:
Participation 25%
Screenscape analysis 1 15%
Screenscape analysis 2 20%
SAMPLE SYLLABUS – This syllabus is provided as a sample. Some course content
may vary.
As members of the Steinhardt community you are expected to uphold the standards of
Academic Integrity . Failure to do so will result in
an automatic failure on the assignment and harsher actions, if warranted.
Students with special needs should be in contact with me at the beginning of the semester so that
we can insure accommodations. Moreover where appropriate students should register with the Moses
Center for Students with Disabilities at 212-998-4980, 240 Greene Street,
Class Schedule
Week 1 – NO CLASS
Week 2 – Introduction & Cartesian Perspectivalism
Monday, September 13: Introduction
Wednesday, September 15: Alberti, Leon Battista, Book One. On painting Crary,
Jonathan. The camera obscura and its subject. Techniques of the Observer.
Week 3 – Control Space: Optics, surveillance, and the digital enclosure.
Monday, September 20: Foucault, Michel. Discipline and punish: The birth of the
prison. pp. 3 – 11, 195 – 223.
Wednesday, September 22: Andrejevic, Mark (2002). The work of being watched:
Interactive media and the exploitation of self-disclosure. Critical Studies in Media
Communication, 19(2), 230 – 248.
Week 4 – Dialectics of Display: Architecture and Vision
Monday, September 27: Friedberg, Anne, (1994). The mobilized and virtual gaze
in modernity: Flâneur and flâneuse. In Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern.
Wednesday, September 29: Colomina, Beatriz. (1996). Window. In Privacy and
Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media.
Week 5 – Let’s All Go To the Movies: Moving Images and Urban Space
Monday, October 4: Friedberg, Anne. (2002). Urban mobility and cinematic
visuality: The screens of Los Angeles – endless cinema or private telematics. Journal of
Visual Culture, 1(2), 183-204 Kirby, L. (1997). Inventors and hysterics: The train in the
prehistory and early history of cinema. In Parallel tracks: the railroad and silent cinema.
Wednesday, October 6: Larkin, Brian (2008). Colonialism and the built space of
the cinema, In Signal and noise: Media, infrastructure, and urban culture in Nigeria.
Barthes, Roland. Upon Leaving the Movie Theater.
Week 6 – Sitcom Suburbia: The Televisual Formation of Domestic Space
Monday, October 11: HOLIDAY no class
Wednesday, October 1: Spigel, L. The people in the theater next door. Make
Room For TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America, 136 – 181. Williams,
R. Television: Technology and Cultural Form, 1 – 34.
Week 7 – Ritual Uses of the Screen
Monday, October 18: Rothenbuhler, E. The living room celebration of the
Olympic Games. Journal of Communication, 1988, 38, 61-81. Dayan & Katz. Ch2:
Scripting media events: Contest, Conquest, Coronation
SAMPLE SYLLABUS – This syllabus is provided as a sample. Some course content
may vary.
Wednesday, October 20: Couldry, N. Media power: Some hidden dimensions, and
Playing with boundaries. The Place of Media Power, 39 – 63; 104 – 121.
Week 8 – Command and control: The military origins of the screen
Monday, October 25: Gere, C.(2006). Genealogy of the computer screen. Visual
Communication 5(2), 141–152 Edwards, Paul. (1997). We defend every place: Building
the Cold War World. The Closed World: Computers and the politics of discourse in Cold
War America, 1 – 43.
Wednesday, October 27: Lenoir, Tim. (2000). "All But War Is Simulation: The
Military Entertainment Complex," Configurations, 8, pp. 238-335.
Week 9 – The birth of the Graphical User Interface
Monday, November 1: Bush, Vannevar (1945). As we may think? The Atlantic
Monthly. Manovich, Lev (2007). Alan Kay’s universal media machine. Northern Lights 5,
39 – 56.
Wednesday, November 3: Laurel, Computers as Theater (excerpt).
Week 10 – The Subject at the Terminal
Monday, November 8: Bukatman, Scott (1993). Jacking in. In Terminal identity:
The virtual subject in post-modern science fiction. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Wednesday, November 10: Turkle, Sherry (1996).Who Am We? Wired Magazine.
Week 11 – Points of departure
Monday November 15: McCarthy, A. Ambient Television pp 117 – 135; 195 –
Wednesday November 17: Lisa Parks, ‘Points of departure: the culture of US
airport screening’, Journal of Visual Culture, vol. 6, no. 2 (2007), pp. 183–200
Week 12– Terminal visions and global capital
Monday November 22: Zaloom, C. (2006). Markets and machines: Work in the
technological sensoryscape of finance. American Quarterly 58(3), 815-837. Martin, R.
Computer architecture. The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and
Corporate Space, 156 – 181.
Wednesday, November 24 --- THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY, NO CLASS
Week 13 – Hand-held: Amateurs,Webcams, Visions Incarnate
Monday, November 29: White, M. (2006). Too close to see, too intimate a screen: Men,
women, and webcams. The body and the screen. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Zimmerman, Patricia. (1988). Hollywood, home movies, and common sense:
Amatuer film as aesthetic dissemination and social control, 1950 – 1962. Cinema Journal
27(4) Wednesday, December 1: Sobchack, Vivian. (2004). What my fingers knew: The
cinesthetic subject, or vision in the flesh. In Carnal thoughts: Embodiment and moving
image culture.
Week 14 – The future of the book, The Disappearance of the Screen
Monday, December 6: Levy, Stephen. (November 26, 2007). The future of
reading. Newsweek, 57 – 64. Sellen, A., & Harper, R. (2001). The myth of the paperless
SAMPLE SYLLABUS – This syllabus is provided as a sample. Some course content
may vary.
office. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (excerpt). Harrison, Steve, Minneman, Scott, &
Balsamo, Anne (2001). The how of XFR: Experiments in the future of reading – genre as
a way of design. Interactions. 31 – 41.
Wednesday, December 8: Monday, December 13: Weiser, Mark. (1991). The
computer for the 21 century. Scientific American.
Week 15 – Final Project Presentations
Monday, December 13: Presentations
Wednesday December 15: Presentations & Concluding Remarks