English STS 250 - Spring, 2019

    Topic: Hacker Cultures

Class Information

Instructor: Milburn, Colin
CRN: 92765
Time: W 9:00-11:50 am
Location: 1246 SS/Hum.


    This graduate seminar will examine the history of computer hacking and hacker practices, focusing on the cultural resources that have helped to shape hacker communities and their mythologies. Significant hacker events, documents, technologies, and exploits will be studied alongside a collection of science fiction narratives and video games that have been influential among hackers. The political dimensions of hacking—–from hacktivism (Cult of the Dead Cow, Anonymous, LulzSec) to state-sponsored cyberwarfare––will be considered in relation to technical issues, addressing hacking as a form of technopolitics. The seminar will also introduce methods and techniques in digital ethnography, digital humanities, and critical code studies.


    Seminar attendance and participation (60%); final term paper (40%)


    Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, Gabriella Coleman
    Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, Gabriella Coleman
    Two Bits: The Cultural Signifance of Free Software, Christopher Kelty
    Respawn: Gamers, Hackers, and Technogenic Life, Colin Milburn
    The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier, Bruce Sterling
    Neuromancer, William Gibson
    Little Brother, Cory Doctorow
    Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Steven Levy
    Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science, Alessandro Delfanti
    Jugaad Time: Ecologies of Everyday Hacking in India, Amit Rai