In this course, you will learn how contemporary political movements bridge the gap between digital engagement and real-world protest; how the Snowden Leaks shaped public perception of ubiquitous tracking and surveillance; how science fiction stories like Black Mirror can influence political debates; and how filter bubbles, attention economies, fake news, and algorithms shape the way we conceive of our communities.
In taking responsibility for our common world as citizens and activists, it is crucial to understand the potentials and limitations of our changing information landscapes. This course will increase your new media literacy by closely examining the ubiquitous ways we are immersed in media environments and the political problems and opportunities this entails.
As part of this course, we will read and discuss recent articles on politics and new media together. This course also has a multi-media focus. It will engage with science fiction movies and novels, computer games, and various kinds of online content like memes, advertising profiles, and Twitter feeds. These examples will introduce students to concepts such as the public sphere, theories of democracy, technological determinism, digital dualism, and their stakes in our digital age.
Together we will ask, for example: How does one become a successful activist online? Has digital media contributed to the growing polarization of society? Are we being manipulated by online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok? We will also explore how control and freedom are enabled or suppressed in digital spaces and what role narrative and imagination might play in our relationships to technology. While drawing from diverse perspectives and examples, this course will show how our changing media landscapes can offer both new channels for resistance and dissent while also allowing for more effective surveillance and censorship.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
• Critically assess contemporary new media trends, like algorithmic governance, digital publics, or surveillance and activism through the lens of political and media theory
• Understand some of the main themes and questions in both new media and political theory, including questions of democracy, media manipulation, and changing political subjectivities
• Grasp the links between media representations and formats, as well as the communities and political ideals they embody or to which they give rise
• Gain valuable writing and communication skills, and receive extensive feedback on your assignments which you can apply to future work on a university level
This course is designed for rising juniors or seniors ready for introductory courses in political and social science, media studies, science and technology studies, or literature.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.