Digital Cultures

RL 407/507-  DIGITAL CULTURES FALL 2018 – MW 17:00-18:20

The emergence of a reality organized around the Internet is provoking a profound crisis of identity in which the older principles of self-orientation and communitarian identification lose their effectiveness. What concepts, what methods do we need to understand the “knowledge space” in which we live an increasing part of our life? How can we orient our individual and professional identity within it? This course will study the reconfiguration of literary studies in the context of the transformation introduced by the use of Internet and digital technologies in our cultural, personal and social identity. At the same time, it will develop digital literacies in using and creating digital artifacts that will complement in a practical dimension the theoretical insights discussed in the first part of the course. Students will engage in new ways of reading, writing, translating and interpreting literary texts in a hypertextual and digital environment; they will at the same time appreciate the increasing interdisciplinarity of knowledge in Digital Humanities.

Digital Cultures is divided in four modules. In the first one we will study in a speculative perspective the key terms in digital cultures: space and time, cyberspace, collective intelligence, network, hypertext, virtuality and actuality. In the second module we will engage the cognitive dimension of the computer technology focusing on digital research, topic modeling, textual analysis, close and distant reading. In the third module, we will address and perform the remediation of literature in social and new media. The last module will focus on the dark side of internet and address question of ethics, privacy and surveillance.

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Finally, we will also discuss the future of the book and examine a variety of digital projects focused on the literature and culture of Medieval, Early Modern and Modern times, including (but not limited to) the Oregon Petrarch Open Book, the Geospatial Visualisation for the Study of Boccaccio, the Pico Project, the Galileo Library project, the KinoLab project; the Navigli Project, and the ARTFL Encyclopédie project. Students will have the option of choosing specific didactic activities and concentrating their work in one RL language and one specific literary period.

The class is taught in English. Undergraduate students doing their assignments in French, Italian or Spanish may apply the credits of this course toward their specific minor or major. MA students will have the option of focusing their work in one of the four literary periods in which the MA coursework is divided.

Guest lectures by Marya Bottaro (UO), Allison Cooper (Bodwin College), Art Farley (UO), Colin Koopman (UO); Crystall Hall (Bodwin College), Serena Ferrando (Colby College), Michael Papio (University of Massachusetts) Massimo Riva (Brown University), Jeff Staiger (UO).

Critical readings include selected essays by Marshall McLuhan, Gilles Deleuze, Maurizio Ferraris, Pierre Lévy, James D. Bolter, George P. Landow, Daniel J. Solove and Colin Koopman.

Requirements: Participation (30%); Personal Blog (20%); Final Project (30%); Final Presentation: an advanced draft of the final project (20%).

Students may choose ONE of the following options for the final project: a) Report analysis of one of the major literary sites in different languages; b) 2 brief essays (4 pages each for undergraduate; 8 pages for graduate students); c) 1 long essay 6-8 pages (undergraduate); 12-16 pages (graduate); d) Translation in French or Spanish of the Twitter edition of Francesco Petrarca Canzoniere realized by previous students of this course; e) Production of a “remediation” of a literary work in French, Italian or Spanish to be discussed with the teacher; f) A structured expansion of the personal blog; g) Production of one digital artifact (podcast or video) to illustrate one literary work or one of the aspects discussed in the course.

At the beginning of the course students will decide their project and if they want to work on a group project or an individual project. Ideal for group projects in Italian is the production of a tweet dialogue based on the poems of Petrarca and Eighteenth-century Italian woman poet Pellegra Bongiovanni (point d). An analogous project for students of French and Spanish is the translation in French or Spanish of the Twitter edition of Francesco Petrarca Canzoniere, or the creation of new tweets based on the French and Spanish Petrarchist tradition (for example the rewriting of Petrarca’s poem 323 by Francisco Quevedo, Luis de Góngora, Clément Marot and Joachim Du Bellay). Student will have the chance to work on their project in class.