(Post)Digital Writing

University of Virginia, English Department, Jan. 2016 - May 2016

Taught an Expository writing course for lower-level undergrads, Spring 2016 (1 section).

Course Description

In 2008, Roy Ascott provocatively asserted: “the digital moment has passed.” New innovations in the arts are now being labeled “postdigital,” a term that signals the “humanization” of technologies, or the fusion across digital and pre-digital platforms to allow for the integration of the human actor or participant. Indeed, English musician and composer Jem Finer has defined the “postdigital” as “a return to a tactile relationship with ideas and materials informed by over 30 years of working with computers. A practice that seeks to transcend mediation via a screen and locate itself in the physical world, rather than at one stage removed, through digital representation.” In other words, whereas the digital is concerned with hyperreal and virtual scenarios, the postdigital engages digital technologies in the service of concerns facing the real world, including issues related to the environment, social inequity, privacy, and information control. Our critical inquiry will thus engage with concerns central to postdigital media, taking shape around these questions: In what ways has our thinking changed as a result of digital media? How, in turn, have digital technologies altered both our environment and our methods of and abilities to communicate with one another? As user-participants of new media texts, in what ways are we implicated in stories that use new media technologies? Likewise, how should we read and interpret new media, including films, comic books, and “twitter” fiction? What are the specific formal methods that various kinds of technologies employ in order to communicate content, and how do stories change as they are adapted across media platforms? We will explore these questions through the three units around which this course has been structured: Unit 1: Digital Changes: Restructuring Thought Unit 2: New Forms and Modes: Interpreting Media Unit 3: Translations: Storytelling across Media Each of these units will culminate in a substantial writing project.