Tuesdays from 12:30–1:50pm on Zoom (see Canvas for the Zoom link)

Course Description

This course explores the anxiety, exhaustion, and unease brought on by information technologies. We will trace emotional responses to technological change, from the shock of the printing press to the malaise of the present “information economy.” How did new text technologies reshape language and society? Who is permitted access to certain kinds of information and why? We will take a hands-on approach to these questions by pairing literature that addresses the anxieties of technology, like the scifi linguistics of Arrival and the postapocalyptic Shakespeare of Station Eleven, with book history and digital humanities techniques designed to manage information. Students will learn how books are made, how search algorithms work, and how to analyze text with code.

Learning Goals

During this quarter, we will:

  • explore current debates about emotional and intellectual responses to information overload
  • put those debates into context with the long history of information technology
  • learn analog and digital strategies for managing large amounts of information
  • interrogate our own emotional responses to the information overload in our lives as they relate to the larger cultural conversation