Network Culture at Penn

As always, I am teaching and running the Netlab at Columbia this spring but I’m honored to also be teaching at a course at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Architecture.
 
My research goal with this course is to make a major advance on the draft of the network culture book. There is more explanation below, but the course is meant to look at network culture from all angles, not merely as a phenomenon of new media. Throughout, I have kept to my role as a historian, working to ensure that the course is neither enthusiast nor luddite, but rather a sober assessment of the contemporary condition. 
   

 
 
University of Pennsylvania
School of Design
Department of Architecture
 
Architecture 712 006: Network Culture. The History of the Contemporary
 
Spring 2009
 
Professor: Kazys Varnelis
Lectures/Seminars: Mondays 9-12, Furness 306
 
Description
 
The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to a historical understanding of the changed conditions that characterize our networked age. We will explore how the network is not merely a technology with social ramifications but rather is a cultural dominant that connects changes in society, economy, aesthetics, urbanism, and ideology. As a history of the contemporary, the seminar is organized around a series of topics tracing a genealogy of present-day culture.
 
Requirements
 
Participation: 20%
 
Each class will consist of a presentation by the instructor on selected themes, followed by an in-depth discussion in seminar. Students are expected to prepare all readings in order to facilitate a discussion in which all students participate. Active participation by all students in each session is required. 
 
Students will also be asked to keep a social bookmark diary of their research at http://delicious.com
 
Presentation: 30%
 
Students will present original research on architecture and network culture in week 11 of the course. Students will present either individually or in teams, depending on enrollment. Non-architecture students may make arrangements with the instructor.
 
Book: 50%
 
The term project will be a research book, exploring a topic related to the subject matter. The book will be an original study on a topic selected with the agreement of the instructor and should constitute a contribution to knowledge. Students should envision this as a potentially publishable work. Material should not be formulated as a traditional research paper, but rather students should tell a story through the designed and composed sequence of images and texts lead by an original narrative. The book will be designed as a printed, bound object and published through a print on demand service. Design is integral to the term project. Plagiarism of any sort will result in immediate failure.
 
Reading
 
There is one textbook. Kazys Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008).
Other readings will be available separately.

 

01
01.26
Introduction
 
Mizuko Ito, “Introduction,” and Kazys Varnelis, “Conclusion: The Meaning of Network Culture,” Networked Publics, 1-13 and 145-163.
 
02
02.02
Network Theory
 
Manuel Castells, “Informationalism, Networks, and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint. In Castells, ed. The Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2004), 3-45.
 
Albert-László Barabási, “Small Worlds” and “Hubs and Connectors,” Linked: The New Science of Networks (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2002), 41-63.
 
Nicholas Carr, “From the Many to the Few” and “A Spider’s Web,” The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008), 127-149 and 185-210.
 
03
02.09
Freedom and Control
 
Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control ,” October 59 (Winter 1992), 73-77.
 
Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.
 
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,” http://www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk/theory-californianideology-main.html.
 
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, “Capitalist Sovereignty, Or Administering the Global Society of Control,” Empire (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 325-350.
 
04
02.16
Fordism and Postfordism
 
David Harvey, “Fordism” and “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation,” in The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1989), 125-172.
 
Ash Amin, “Post-Fordism: Models, Fantasies, and Phantoms of Transition,” Ash Amin, ed., Post-Fordism: A Reader, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), 1-39.
 
Antonio Gramsci, “Taylorism and the Mechanisation of the Worker,” in “Americanism and Fordism,” Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, (New York: International Publishers, 1980), 306-307.
 
Mary McLeod, “’Architecture or Revolution’: Taylorism, Technocracy, and Social Change,” Art Journal 43, no. 2 (Summer 1983), 133-147.
 
05
02.23
Postmodernism
 
Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review 146  (July/August 1984): 53-92.
 
Hal Foster, “Postmodernism: A Preface,” in Hal Foster, ed., The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983), ix-xvi;
 
Jean François Lyotard, “Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?” Postmodern Conditon: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1984), 71-84.
 
06
03.02
Place, I. Nostalgia for Non-Places?
 
Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, "Place: The Networking of Public Space," Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008), 15-42.
 
Marc Augé, “Prologue” and “From Places to Non-Places,” in Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, (London; New York: Verso, 1995), 1-6. 75-115.
 
Hans Ibelings, “Supermodernism,” Supermodernism (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1998), 55-102.
 
Ignasi de Sola-Morales Rubió, “Terrain Vague,” Cynthia Davison, ed. Anyplace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 119-123.
 
07
03.09
Spring Break
 
08
03.16
Place, II. Maps and Things

Kazys Varnelis and Marc Tuters, “Beyond Locative Media: Giving Shape to the Internet of Things,”Leonardo 39, No. 4 (2006): 357–363.

Jordan Crandall, “Operational Media,” Ctheory, http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=441.
 
Bruno Latour, “On Actor Network Theory: A Few Clarifications,” Soziale Welt 47 (1998): 360-81,translated version, http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9801/msg00019.html.
 
09
03.23
Culture, I. Networked Publics and Production
 
Adrienne Russell, Mizuko Ito, Todd Richmond, and Marc Tuters, “Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Participation,” Networked Publics, 43-76.
 
Yochai Benkler, “Chapter 1. Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge” and “Chapter 4. The Economics of Social Production,” The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 1-28 and 91-127.

Geert Lovink, “Blogging: The Nihilist Impulse,” Eurozine (2007), http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2007-01-02-lovink-en.html

 
10
03.30
Culture, II. Dissemination and Influence
 
Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail,” Wired, October 2004,  http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html.
 
Clay Shirky, “Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality,” Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet. http://www.shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html.
 
Optional
 
Malcolm Gladwell, “The Coolhunt,” New Yorker (March 17, 1997), 78-88, http://www.gladwell.com/1997/1997_03_17_a_cool.htm.
 
Grant McCracken, “Who Killed the Coolhunter?” http://www.cultureby.com/trilogy/2006/06/who_killed_the_.html
 
Duncan J. Watts and Peter Sheridan Dodd, “Influentials, Networks, and Public Formation,” Journal of Consumer Research (December 2007), 441-458.
 
11
04.06
Architecture of Network Culture Festival
 
Student Presentations
 
12
04.13
Subjectivity
 
Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008, 56-63.
 
Kenneth J. Gergen, “Social Saturation and the Populated Self,”The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 48-80.
 
Brian Holmes, “The Flexible Personality. For a New Cultural Critique,” Transversal,
 
Warren Neidich, “Resistance is Futile,” Artbrain. Journal of Neuroasthetic Theory 4, http://www.artbrain.org/neuroaesthetics/neidich.html.
 
13
04.20
Politics, Urbanism, and Globalization
 
Saskia Sassen, “On Concentration and Centrality in the Global City,” Paul L. Knox and Peter J. Taylor, eds., World Cities in a World-System (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 63-78.
 
Saskia Sassen, “Electronic space and power,” Journal of Urban Technology 4 (1997): 1-17.
 
Stephen Graham, “Communication Grids: Cities and Infrastructure,” in Saskia Sassen, Global Networks. Linked Cities (London: Routledge, 2002), 71-92.
 
14
04.27
Conclusion
 

  

As always, I am teaching and running the Netlab at Columbia this spring but I’m honored to also be teaching at a course at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Architecture.
 
My research goal with this course is to make a major advance on the draft of the network culture book. There is more explanation below, but the course is meant to look at network culture from all angles, not merely as a phenomenon of new media. Throughout, I have kept to my role as a historian, working to ensure that the course is neither enthusiast nor luddite, but rather a sober assessment of the contemporary condition. 
   

 
 
University of Pennsylvania
School of Design
Department of Architecture
 
Architecture 712 006: Network Culture. The History of the Contemporary
 
Spring 2009
 
Professor: Kazys Varnelis
Lectures/Seminars: Mondays 9-12, Furness 306
 
Description
 
The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to a historical understanding of the changed conditions that characterize our networked age. We will explore how the network is not merely a technology with social ramifications but rather is a cultural dominant that connects changes in society, economy, aesthetics, urbanism, and ideology. As a history of the contemporary, the seminar is organized around a series of topics tracing a genealogy of present-day culture.
 
Requirements
 
Participation: 20%
 
Each class will consist of a presentation by the instructor on selected themes, followed by an in-depth discussion in seminar. Students are expected to prepare all readings in order to facilitate a discussion in which all students participate. Active participation by all students in each session is required. 
 
Students will also be asked to keep a social bookmark diary of their research at http://delicious.com
 
Presentation: 30%
 
Students will present original research on architecture and network culture in week 11 of the course. Students will present either individually or in teams, depending on enrollment. Non-architecture students may make arrangements with the instructor.
 
Book: 50%
 
The term project will be a research book, exploring a topic related to the subject matter. The book will be an original study on a topic selected with the agreement of the instructor and should constitute a contribution to knowledge. Students should envision this as a potentially publishable work. Material should not be formulated as a traditional research paper, but rather students should tell a story through the designed and composed sequence of images and texts lead by an original narrative. The book will be designed as a printed, bound object and published through a print on demand service. Design is integral to the term project. Plagiarism of any sort will result in immediate failure.
 
Reading
 
There is one textbook. Kazys Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008).
Other readings will be available separately.

 

01
01.26
Introduction
 
Mizuko Ito, “Introduction,” and Kazys Varnelis, “Conclusion: The Meaning of Network Culture,” Networked Publics, 1-13 and 145-163.
 
02
02.02
Network Theory
 
Manuel Castells, “Informationalism, Networks, and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint. In Castells, ed. The Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2004), 3-45.
 
Albert-László Barabási, “Small Worlds” and “Hubs and Connectors,” Linked: The New Science of Networks (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2002), 41-63.
 
Nicholas Carr, “From the Many to the Few” and “A Spider’s Web,” The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008), 127-149 and 185-210.
 
03
02.09
Freedom and Control
 
Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control ,” October 59 (Winter 1992), 73-77.
 
Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 135-156.
 
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, “The Californian Ideology,” http://www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk/theory-californianideology-main.html.
 
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, “Capitalist Sovereignty, Or Administering the Global Society of Control,” Empire (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 325-350.
 
04
02.16
Fordism and Postfordism
 
David Harvey, “Fordism” and “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation,” in The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1989), 125-172.
 
Ash Amin, “Post-Fordism: Models, Fantasies, and Phantoms of Transition,” Ash Amin, ed., Post-Fordism: A Reader, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), 1-39.
 
Antonio Gramsci, “Taylorism and the Mechanisation of the Worker,” in “Americanism and Fordism,” Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, (New York: International Publishers, 1980), 306-307.
 
Mary McLeod, “’Architecture or Revolution’: Taylorism, Technocracy, and Social Change,” Art Journal 43, no. 2 (Summer 1983), 133-147.
 
05
02.23
Postmodernism
 
Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review 146  (July/August 1984): 53-92.
 
Hal Foster, “Postmodernism: A Preface,” in Hal Foster, ed., The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (Townsend, Washington: Bay Press, 1983), ix-xvi;
 
Jean François Lyotard, “Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?” Postmodern Conditon: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1984), 71-84.
 
06
03.02
Place, I. Nostalgia for Non-Places?
 
Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, "Place: The Networking of Public Space," Varnelis, ed. Networked Publics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008), 15-42.
 
Marc Augé, “Prologue” and “From Places to Non-Places,” in Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, (London; New York: Verso, 1995), 1-6. 75-115.
 
Hans Ibelings, “Supermodernism,” Supermodernism (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1998), 55-102.
 
Ignasi de Sola-Morales Rubió, “Terrain Vague,” Cynthia Davison, ed. Anyplace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 119-123.
 
07
03.09
Spring Break
 
08
03.16
Place, II. Maps and Things

Kazys Varnelis and Marc Tuters, “Beyond Locative Media: Giving Shape to the Internet of Things,”Leonardo 39, No. 4 (2006): 357–363.

Jordan Crandall, “Operational Media,” Ctheory, http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=441.
 
Bruno Latour, “On Actor Network Theory: A Few Clarifications,” Soziale Welt 47 (1998): 360-81,translated version, http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9801/msg00019.html.
 
09
03.23
Culture, I. Networked Publics and Production
 
Adrienne Russell, Mizuko Ito, Todd Richmond, and Marc Tuters, “Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Participation,” Networked Publics, 43-76.
 
Yochai Benkler, “Chapter 1. Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge” and “Chapter 4. The Economics of Social Production,” The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 1-28 and 91-127.

Geert Lovink, “Blogging: The Nihilist Impulse,” Eurozine (2007), http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2007-01-02-lovink-en.html

 
10
03.30
Culture, II. Dissemination and Influence
 
Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail,” Wired, October 2004,  http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html.
 
Clay Shirky, “Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality,” Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet. http://www.shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html.
 
Optional
 
Malcolm Gladwell, “The Coolhunt,” New Yorker (March 17, 1997), 78-88, http://www.gladwell.com/1997/1997_03_17_a_cool.htm.
 
Grant McCracken, “Who Killed the Coolhunter?” http://www.cultureby.com/trilogy/2006/06/who_killed_the_.html
 
Duncan J. Watts and Peter Sheridan Dodd, “Influentials, Networks, and Public Formation,” Journal of Consumer Research (December 2007), 441-458.
 
11
04.06
Architecture of Network Culture Festival
 
Student Presentations
 
12
04.13
Subjectivity
 
Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2008, 56-63.
 
Kenneth J. Gergen, “Social Saturation and the Populated Self,”The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 48-80.
 
Brian Holmes, “The Flexible Personality. For a New Cultural Critique,” Transversal,
 
Warren Neidich, “Resistance is Futile,” Artbrain. Journal of Neuroasthetic Theory 4, http://www.artbrain.org/neuroaesthetics/neidich.html.
 
13
04.20
Politics, Urbanism, and Globalization
 
Saskia Sassen, “On Concentration and Centrality in the Global City,” Paul L. Knox and Peter J. Taylor, eds., World Cities in a World-System (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 63-78.
 
Saskia Sassen, “Electronic space and power,” Journal of Urban Technology 4 (1997): 1-17.
 
Stephen Graham, “Communication Grids: Cities and Infrastructure,” in Saskia Sassen, Global Networks. Linked Cities (London: Routledge, 2002), 71-92.
 
14
04.27
Conclusion
 

  

One thought on “Network Culture at Penn

  1. reading list
    oh to be a student again! the reading list is fascinating. if you pick up any more links to material available on the net, be great if you could update the list some time and tell us in a new posting. 😉

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