Derek Stanovsky

Requirements
Class Schedule

Readings
Writing

Student Papers

 
 

Watauga College
Interdisciplinary Studies

College of Arts & Sciences
Appalachian State University

Future Histories:
Reading, Writing, and Remembering After the Internet

Watauga College, Tools of Human Understanding
Fall 2000, M T TH 1:00-1:50 / 2:00-2:50

Course Description:
Watauga College "Tools" is a course designed to hone your reading and writing skills, with each section providing students a different variety of interdisciplinary reading and writing assignments aimed at this goal. In this section we will be reading, writing, and discussing texts dealing with the intersections of technology, memory, writing, and culture collected under the title of "Future Histories." Over the course of the semester, you will be asked to read, think, speak, and write about these issues as they have influenced both your own life and the lives of the authors we will be reading. Since it is no longer true that only books are "read" and papers "written," we will also be reading films, videos, and the world wide web and our writing will include on-line writing assignments as well as more traditional ink and paper. About a third of the class is also enrolled in the Watauga College area course, "Exploring the Wired World." These students will be asked to share their technical knowledge with the rest us and by the end of the semester you will produce, as teams, on-line projects based on your semester's writings.

Textbooks:
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Fifth Edition. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1999.
Lynch, Patrick J., and Sarah Horton. Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.
Piercy, Marge.  Woman on the Edge of Time. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1976.
Additional readings are available on Reserve and Electronic Reserve at Belk Library.

Course Requirements:
The most important requirements for this course are regular class attendance, participation, and preparation. You should come prepared to ask and answer questions and to discuss the readings each day. The formal grading requirements are as follows:

Class Participation 25%
Writing 50%
Final Group Project 25%
The class participation portion of your grade will be based on regular class attendance and participation as well as on periodic homeworks, in-class writing assignments, and group work. Two absences are allowed during the semester, each additional absence will lower your class participation grade by one letter grade. More than six absences and/or failure to complete any of the written assignments discussed below are grounds for failing the course.

There will be six formal writing assignments during the semester. Late papers will be docked one-third of a letter grade for each day late. You will be required to substantially revise, rewrite, and resubmit two of these papers, and each of these revised papers will count 25% of your grade. Specifics on these assignments will be handed out at a later date.

There will be a final group project where teams will publish their semester's work on-line and present their web projects to the class at a final symposium during our regularly scheduled final exam time. More information on this assignment will be handed out at a later date.

With regard to papers and all other assignments for this course, you are expected to know and follow the current ASU code of academic integrity.



Tentative Class Schedule:
Week
Date Assignment
1
TH 8/17 Introductions. Browse these writing resources.
2
M 8/21 Friedrich Nietzsche, "On the Use and Abuse of History For Life," Forward and Part I.
Also browse these internet resources on Nietzsche.
T 8/22           Parts II and III.
TH 8/24           Parts VI and VII.
3
M 8/28 MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, pp. 1-36. Meet at Belk Library. Go to the Electronic Library Lab on the main floor where we will meet with Allan Scherlen.
T 8/29 Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library" (On Reserve and Electronic Reserve at Belk Library). Also browse these internet resources on Benjamin.
TH 8/31 Scavenger Hunt.
4
LABOR DAY
T 9/5 First writing assignment due at the beginning of class. Bring three copies of your finished paper to class. Also browse these resources on peer editing.
CONVOCATION / ASSESSMENT DAY
5
M 9/11 Sigmund Freud, "Screen Memories" (On Reserve and Electronic Reserve at Belk Library). Also browse these internet resources on Freud.
T 9/12 Michel Foucault, "The Discourse on Language" (On Reserve and Electronic Reserve at Belk Library). Also browse these internet resources on Foucault.
TH 9/14
6
M 9/18 Jorge Luis Borges, "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote." Also browse these internet resources on Borges.
T 9/19
TH 9/21 Second writing assignment due in my box. No class.
7
M 9/25 Web Style Guide, Chapter 2. Browse the companion web site along with these other internet resources.
T 9/26           Chapters 3 and 4. Browse pages on site and page design.
TH 9/28           Chapters 5 and 6. Browse pages on typography and editorial style. Also browse Why the Web Sucks, II; How to read a Page; What to Look for in a Site.
8
M 10/2 Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think." Also browse these internet resources on Bush and this brief History of Hypertext.
T 10/3
TH 10/5 Mark Poster, "Postmodern Virtualities."  Also browse these internet resources on Poster and this Brief History of the Internet.
9
M 10/9
T 10/10 Third writing assignment: revised paper due.
FALL BREAK
10
M 10/16 Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Fire Worship." Also browse these internet resources on Hawthorne.
T 10/17
TH 10/19
11
M 10/23 Henry Adams, "The Dynamo and the Virgin." Also browse these internet resources on Adams.
T 10/24
TH 10/26
12
M 10/30 Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times. To be shown at 6:00 p.m. in I.G. Greer auditorium. Also browse these internet resources on Chaplin.
T 10/31
TH 11/2 Fourth writing assignment due.
13
M 11/6 Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas." Also browse these internet resources on Le Guin.
T 11/7
TH 11/9
14
M 11/13 Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time. Also browse these internet resources on Piercy. Read at least through page 191.
T 11/14           Read at least through page 301.
TH 11/16           Finish reading Piercy.
15
M 11/20
T 11/21 Fifth writing assignment due.
THANKSGIVING
16
M 11/27 Godfrey Reggio, Koyaanisqatsi. To be shown at 5:00 p.m. in I.G. Greer auditorium. Also browse these internet resources on Reggio.
T 11/28
TH 11/30 Sixth writing assignment: revised paper due.
17
M 12/4 Group work.
T 12/5 Group work.
Final Symposium on Monday, December 11 from 12:00-2:00 in Whitener 46, Computer Lab #2.



Assignments:
There will be six formal writing assignments during the semester plus a final group project. Late papers will be docked one-third of a letter grade for each day late. Feel free to make use of the Writing Center in Sanford Hall. All papers should be typed, double-spaced in a 12 point font with standard margins. There should be a cover page including an original and informative title for your paper, your name, the course and time, my name, and the date. There should be a bibliography with complete references using correct MLA style for any works cited in the paper. Papers should be stapled in the upper left-hand corner. No binders or folders please. Pages should be numbered. Be sure to keep a copy of your paper.

First Writing Assignment (500-750 words): Describe an event from history that you find to be important, significant, and meaningful and explain why it is important. Be specific, clear, precise, thoughtful, creative, and eloquent both in your description of the event and in your explanation of its importance. You may refer to Nietzsche's "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life" in your essay, or not, as you see fit. However, you should strive to do something of what Nietzsche does by way of justifying the importance of the event you choose and explaining the reasons why, and in what way, it remains significant. Be as focused and specific as possible in your choice of events (e.g. not "The Civil War," but "John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry;" not "Rock and Roll" but "Muddy Waters moves to Chicago"). Research your event as needed to provide a concrete and vivid description. Please confine yourself to events and not inventions or technologies -- you will be writing more on those later in the semester. The aim here is not to produce an exhaustive historical account, but instead to reflect on the meaning and value of one particular bit of history.

Second Writing Assignment (500-750 words): What do we as a culture remember and what do we forget? Why? Of all the triumphs, disasters, wars, plagues, injustices, persecutions, accomplishments, people, and events of all sorts which make up our history, why do we remember the ones we do and why do we forget so many others? Starting from our readings from Freud and Foucault, write a thoughtful, creative, and eloquent essay speculating on the state of our historical memory. Be specific about what your position is and clear, precise, and concrete in the examples and reasons you give in support of your view. You must make use of at least some of the ideas found in either Freud or Foucault, however, you may use both.

Third Writing Assignment (750-1000 words): Substantially revise, rewrite, edit, correct, expand, and otherwise improve either of your first two writing assignments. Be sure to turn in your original paper with my comments along with your newly revised and transformed paper. This paper will be graded, and will count 25% of your final course grade.

Fourth Writing Assignment (750-1000 words): Compare and contrast the internet to either Hawthorne's stove or Adams' dynamo. Does the internet pose the kind of social challenges Hawthorne sees in the airtight woodstove, or possess the force of Adams' dynamo? Explain and defend your view with reference to one of these authors. Be clear in your explanation and use of either Hawthorne or Adams; creative in your discussion of the internet; and specific about the connection between the two.

Fifth Writing Assignment (750-1000 words): Write a future history of the internet. How will the future remember the invention of the internet and why? What will the internet mean to our future? Will it bring about a utopian age of global communication and democratic interaction, or a dystopian future of increasing surveillance and control, or do you foresee something entirely different? Be creative, specific, and bold. You may write your vision of the future as an essay, a short story, a history, or any other format that would best suit your vision of the role the internet will play in our future. You may write about the relatively near future, or some far distant time. However you structure your account, you should be focused, specific, and concrete both about the impact of the internet on society in the future as well as the reasons for that impact. Try to explore one small aspect of that future in depth and detail rather than attempting to discuss every possible implication.

Sixth Writing Assignment (1000-1250 words): Substantially revise, rewrite, edit, correct, expand, and otherwise improve either one of the papers you wrote for the fourth or fifth writing assignments. Be sure to turn in your original paper with my comments along with a copy of your newly revised and transformed paper. This paper will be graded, and will count 25% of your final course grade. NOTE: You are to post a copy of your revised paper on-line using your VMS account and password, and email the address of your web page to me at stanovskydj@appstate.edu. I will then post these addresses as links, and you are to read each other's papers. A printout of your web page should also be handed in to me at the beginning of class, Thursday 11/30.

Final Group Projects: For your final project of the semester you are to publish, as a group, a web site containing a substantial portion of your semester's writing. Each group's web site should contain: 

  • A clear thesis connected with the theme of the course -- "Future Histories: Reading, Writing, and Remembering After the Internet." Taken as a whole, your web site, through its writings, organization, graphics, links, etc., should convey a clearly identifiable point. It should be clear exactly what are you saying about the Internet and why.
  • You must include at least 2500 words written by each group member. These can be taken from any combination of writings you have done for this class over the semester, or have written specifically for this assignment. You are expected to revise, edit, expand, change, correct, and otherwise improve and adapt your writing to fit smoothly into the theme of your web site. The writings can be broken up and organized in any way you see fit. They can be interspersed and connected with the writings of others, but the author of any selection should always be clearly identifiable.
  • Appropriate graphics, layout, and design that make your ideas clear, easy to read, and easy to find.
  • Links to the course syllabus, and to other information, readings, graphics, sites, etc. that are relevant to your thesis.
  • Amaze and delight us! Good luck!

  • Readings:
    Friedrich Nietzsche, "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life."
  • The Nietzsche Page at USC, from Douglas Thomas.
  • Biographical note by Garth Kemerling.
  • Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library."
    • Other works by Walter Benjamin available on-line.
    • Walter Benjamin, from The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism.
    Sigmund Freud, "Screen Memories."
    Michel Foucault, "The Discourse on Language."
    Jorge Luis Borges, "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote."
    Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think."
    Mark Poster, "Postmodern Virtualities."
    Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Fire Worship."
    Henry Adams, "The Dynamo and the Virgin."
    Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times.
    Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas."
    Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time.
    Godfrey Reggio, Koyaanisqatsi.

    Writing:
    Elements of Style, the 1918 classic by William Strunk.
    MLA guide for documenting electronic sources.
    Online Writing Lab at Purdue University, with helpful information on:
    Peer Editing Guide from the University of Richmond.

    Internet:
    Brief History of the Internet, from Sputnik to Napster by Robert H. Zakon.
    History of Hypertext, from papyrus to Netscape by Jorn Barger.
    Interdisciplinary Studies Reading Room, maintained by your instructor, this page provides links to search engines, academic resources, and other helpful pages at Appalachian State and elsewhere.
    A Kinder, Gentler Glossary for Net Neophytes -- and Others, a glossary of internet terminology by Cathy Young, published in Women and Performance.
    Publishing your own ASU web page, from Academic Computing.
    Realm Graphics Web Images, a very helpful assortment of buttons and backgrounds for web pages from Ender Design.
    Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies with links to articles, book reviews, and other information on cyberspace and cyberculture.
    Web Design Links from the Web Design Group at Carnegie Mellon University.
    Web Style Guide, the companion web site to our textbook.
    100 Do's and Don'ts of web page design from Spider Pro.


    Student Papers (Sixth Writing Assignment):
    1:00 Class: Erin Banks, Sam Brownfield, Mike Bean, Bobbie Dayalani, Cole Hamilton, Laura Hinson, Ehrin Irvin, Mecca Jackson, Rachel Robertson, Cat Ryan, Lauren Sykes.

    2:00 Class: Elizabeth Benton, Dan Dickey, Kimberlee Hall, Jeff Huntley, Jef Johnson, Tiffany King, Jeremy Lapicki, Katie Riordan, Sara Tiner, Elisha Webster.



    Student Projects:
    1:00 Class:

    Group I: Erin Banks, Cole Hamilton, Mecca Jackson

    Group II: Sam Brownfield, Rachel Robertson, Cat Ryan

    Group III: Mike Bean, Bobbie Dayalani, Laura Franklin

    Group IV: Laura Hinson, Ehrin Irvin, Lauren Sykes
     

    2:00 Class:

    Group I: Kimberlee Hall, Katie Riordan, Elisha Webster

    Group II: Dan Dickey, Jeff Huntley, Jeremy Lapicki

    Group III: Elizabeth Benton, Jef Johnson, Tiffany King, Sara Tiner