English CDM 40B - Spring, 2022

Class Information

Instructor: Boluk, Stephanie
Time: TBA


Snap a picture, send a text, surf a website, play a game. The everyday acts of computing that we take for granted are as deeply embedded in 21st century life as they are obfuscated by it. From the smartphones in our pockets, ATM machines in storefronts, automated cars on streets, and drone warfare abroad, the history, materiality, and technicity of contemporary computing is often intentionally obscured or accidentally forgotten. What infrastructures and material histories does our technology rely on, and how can we learn more about the types of computing we engage day to day?

From the military machines during the Cold War to women?s work on commercial mainframes to the countercultural revolution around personal computers and the birth of the Internet as we know it, in this class we will explore histories of computing alongside technical artifacts and creative works from the past 70 years.

*To learn about the history of computers and computational media after 1945
*To think critically about networked and computational media and the way digital technology interface with culture in the 20th and 21st century
*To practice reading carefully and critically using both primary and secondary sources
*To get comfortable contributing to class discussions and speaking in groups
*To research and produce a long-form argument that you iterate on through the quarter.

All readings uploaded to Canvas as pdfs (or available online)


I) Weekly Reading Sheets
II) Weekly Slack close reading posts
III) Weekly Discussion Leader + Participation
IV) Midterm Research Project
II) Final Research Project