Schedule of readings and assignments

Last updated: 10/20
Skip to: October | November | December

Unit 1: Predigital explorations & anxieties

Week 1

Tuesday, 9/3
Thursday, 9/5
  • Read: Weinberger (CR pg. 6, skip the prologue) and Carr (CR pg. 15) selections
  • Write: Response 1 (You must have a Disqus account to submit your response on the assignment page. If you are struggling with the sign-up process, you can email the assignment to me at sulliv97 [at] uwm . edu as a one-time solution.
  • In class: Discussion

Week 2

Tuesday, 9/10
  • Read: excerpt from Blair Too Much to Know (CR pg. 30)
  • Watch: Shirky "It's Not Information Overload. It's Filter Failure" (22 min.)
  • Write: In the previous class, I assigned you to one of the following: Pinterest, Flipboard, Bundlr, Recollect, Addictomatic, Storify, Listly, or Diigo. At home, explore your site’s home page and "About" page(s). In your notebook, jot down:
    • The site’s motto or tagline(s)?
    • Does the site have illustrations or photos? What do the images show? What is the tone or feeling of the images? Why are they there?
    • Is it a web application only, or is there also a mobile app?
    • Is there a pricing structure, or is it free?
    In class, we’ll share our findings and talk more about how these sites construct their users and relate to Blair and Shirky.
  • In class: Discussion; share findings
Thursday, 9/12
Back to top

Week 3

Tuesday, 9/17
  • Read: Michael Warner's introduction in Portable Whitman (xi-xxxvi) and "Song of Myself" sections 1-9, 12-15 only
  • Note: If you did not purchase Portable Whitman, please print all the readings for 9/17, 9/19, and 9/24 so that you can participate fully in class.
  • In class: Discussion
Thursday, 9/19: MEET IN LIBRARY
  • Read: excerpt from Gleick’s The Information chapter 5 (CR pgs. 53-74), excerpt from Whitman’s Specimen Days (CR pg. 49) and "Song of Myself" sections 19-20, 23-24, 31, 33, 42-43, 46-52 only (unless you want to read more, of course). From Specimen Days, the specific entries to read are: "An Egotistical Find," "Steam Power, Telegraphs, etc." "America's Backbone," "Birds--and a Caution," and "Samples of My Commonplace Book."
  • Specimen Days is an odd text, so here is a short passage in which Whitman explains the context of these "diary-scraps and memoranda."
  • Note: Today, meet in the Special Collections room on the fourth floor of the library for a viewing of commonplace books and reference tools. To find this room, look for the elevator that is near the Grind. Take the elevator to the 4th floor (or take the stairs). When you arrive, walk to your left and you'll see a hallway lined with glass cases; at the end of the hallway is Special Collections.
Back to top

Week 4

Tuesday, 9/24
Thursday, 9/26
  • Read: excerpt from Gleick The Information chapter 7 (CR pgs. 75-79), Kafka "My Neighbor" (CR pg. 80), and Altschul "The Future’s Not Ours to See" (CR pg. 81)
  • In class: Discussion
Back to top

Week 5

Tuesday, 10/1
  • Read: Forster "The Machine Stops" (CR pg. 86)
  • Write: Response 4
  • In class: Discussion
Thursday, 10/3
  • Read: Benjamin "The Storyteller" (CR pg. 104)
  • In class: Discussion
Back to top

Week 6

Tuesday, 10/8
  • Read: Stein "The Gradual Making of The Making of Americans" and excerpt from The Making of Americans. Please have the text with you in class. Here is a PDF to download if you want to print it or read it on your laptop. The book is also available in Kindle or EPUB form here for free.
  • Write: Choose one passage or group of sentences from The Making of Americans that you think you (maybe?) understand. In your notebook, use The Method [.pdf] step 1.a and jot down what you notice about this passage.
  • In class: Discussion
Thursday, 10/10
  • Read: excerpt from Goldsmith Uncreative Writing chapter 8 (.pdf handout) and re-read a portion of The Making of Americans in light of Goldsmith’s argument
  • Write: Response 5
  • In class: Discussion; review for midterm; take-home midterm questions will be distributed
Back to top

Week 7

Tuesday, 10/15
  • Midterm due
  • Don't forget to bring a stapled hard copy to class and submit a digital file to the dropbox on D2L. See further guidelines on the midterm exam, handed out in class.
  • In class: Midterm reflection in-class writing
Thursday, 10/17
  • Read: Bush "As We May Think" (CR pg. 135)
  • Write: Half the class will play a Wikipedia game, and the other half will try to reach the bottom of Dina Kelberman’s "I’m Google." In your notebook, write about your experience. What were you thinking? Did anything surprise you? How hard were you working to form "associative trails," as Bush calls them?
  • In class: Discussion
Back to top

Unit 2: Signal and noise

Week 8

Tuesday, 10/22
  • Read: Borges "Library of Babel" (CR pg. 117) "Funes the Memorious" (pg. 121) and "The Aleph" (pg. 126)
  • Write: Response 6
  • In class: Discussion
Thursday, 10/24
  • Read: Pynchon "Entropy" (CR pg. 163) and Menkman "A Technological Approach to Noise" (pgs. 12-14 and pg. 28 only). After you are done with that, go back and read Pynchon's introduction to Slow Learner, focusing on pgs. 156-159 in the Course Reader.
  • In class: Discussion
Back to top

Week 9

Tuesday, 10/29
  • Read: DeLillo White Noise Part 1 (chapters 1-11)
  • In class: Discussion
Thursday, 10/31
  • Read: White Noise Part 1 (chapters 12-20)
  • Write: Response 7
  • In class: Discussion
Back to top

Week 10

Tuesday, 11/5
  • Read: White Noise Part 2 (chapter 21)
  • In class: Discussion
Thursday, 11/7
  • Read: White Noise Part 3 (chapters 22-32)
  • In class: Discussion
Back to top

Week 11

Tuesday, 11/12
  • Read: White Noise Part 3 (chapters 33-40)
  • In class: Discussion
Thursday, 11/14
Back to top

Unit 3: The internet is made of cats.

Week 12

Tuesday, 11/19
Thursday, 11/21
Back to top

Week 13

Monday 11/25 and Tuesday 11/26
  • We will not meet as a class on 11/26. In lieu of class, you are required to attend a 15-minute conference with me. Conferences will be scheduled on Monday and Tuesday and they are held in my office, Curtin 284. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the final paper. In preparation for our meeting, work up to step 4 of this handout.
Thursday, 11/28
  • No class
Back to top

Week 14

Tuesday, 12/3
  • NOTE: Meet in the East Wing of the Library today, in room E159. Do not go to the regular classroom. See additional notes on D2L.
  • Read: Barth "Literature of Exhaustion" (CR pg. 192) and Goldsmith introduction, chapter 1 pages 24-33, and chapter 12 from Uncreative Writing (CR pg. 200)
  • Write: Response 10
  • In class: Discuss reading and begin working on internet poetry assignment
Thursday, 12/5
Back to top

Week 15

Tuesday, 12/10
  • In class: Paper draft workshop
  • You must come with a printed paper draft (2 full pages min.) to participate in class today.
Thursday, 12/12

12/17: final papers due via D2L dropbox by 11:59pm

Back to top