Reading Schedule

REQUIRED TEXTBOOKS
  1. danah boyd, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2014).
  2. Tom Boellstorff et al., Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
SKIP TO WEEK:
ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN
SKIP TO MILESTONE:
ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX

Week One

Tuesday, January 6

INTRODUCTION

Thursday, January 8

THE INVENTION OF ADOLESCENCE
KEY TERM: ADOLESCENCE

When did the notion of adolescence arise, and why? What notion of human psychological development does it enshrine? What is the racial and gendered context of adolescence? How is the notion of adolescence related to consumption and marketing?

Week Two

Tuesday, January 13

CONCEPTUALIZING TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE
KEY TERMS: TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM, AFFORDANCE
  • Nancy K. Baym, Personal Connections in the Digital Age (Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity, 2010), chapters two and three.

How should we think about the relationship between technology and cultural change? Why has new media consistently been the focus of such anxiety?

Please submit your grading contract (available on CCLE) by classtime on Tuesday.

Please note that your first blog post is due today, and that it should reflect the reading for week two (this week).

Thursday, January 15

INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL ETHNOGRAPHY
  • Tom Boellstorff et al., Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), chapters two, three, and four.

What is digital ethnography? What distinguishes this method from other modes of studying life online?

Assignment for Thursday:
Students should start thinking of an online community they would like to study. They should bring these ideas into class to discuss. Each student should be prepared to describe the community, explain why the community merits investigation, and outline some of the challenges the study might present.

Please note that your two comments on your classmates’ blog posts are due by classtime today.

Week Three

Tuesday, January 20

IT’S COMPLICATED: CONCEPTUALIZING ONLINE YOUTH CULTURES
KEY TERM: NETWORKED PUBLICS
KEY TERM CONTRIBUTORS: DALILA, CAROLINE, MILES, ALEX, SHANNON
  • danah boyd, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2014), chapters one through three.

Why is teen online behavior so often misunderstood? How do young people understand the internet differently from adults, and what are the implications of this difficulty in communication? What does “identity” mean in an online context?

Thursday, January 22

DIGITAL ETHNOGRAPHY: ETHICS AND IDENTITIES
  • Tom Boellstorff et al., Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), chapters five and eight.

And choose one of the following examples of virtual ethnography:

How can we study a community without exploiting it? How do we evince respect for the people we interact with? What is the proper role for an ethnographer in a digital environment?

MILESTONE ONE: IDENTIFY YOUR COMMUNITY
Due by 5pm on Friday, January 23
Approx. 500 words. Describe a community to which you have access, identify the boundaries for the case, and describe the types of evidence you will be able to collect.

Week Four

Tuesday, January 27

SELFIES AND SELF-IDENTITY
KEY TERM: FILTER
KEY TERM CONTRIBUTORS: SALLY, STEPHANIE G., NIKKI, PRIYA, EMILY

By classtime, please use CCLE to provide a URL where I can find your fieldnotes. (The assignment is located under Week Four on CCLE.)

Thursday, January 29

DIGITAL ETHNOGRAPHY: METHODS
Guest: Dr. Wendy Hsu

How do you actually do ethnography? How should we keep notes, synthesize observations, and write them up? What is the role of digital analysis and data-scraping?

MILESTONE TWO: RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Due by 5pm on Friday, January 30
Approx. 300-400 words. Identify the primary research question (or questions) that will motivate your work going forward. Explain why you’ve chosen these questions and how they relate to some of the themes of the class.

Week Five

Tuesday, February 3

SELFIECITY
KEY TERM: SUPER PUBLIC
KEY TERM CONTRIBUTORS: SKYLAR, WILLIAM
  • Lev Manovich et al., selfiecity, 2013.
    • In addition to the introduction and interactive visualizations, please pay particular attention to Liz Losh’s essay, “Beyond Biometrics,” available on the selfiecity site and here.
  • danah boyd, “super publics,” apophenia, March 22, 2006.

CASE STUDIES (BORROWED FROM HERE)

What competing notions of “public” are at play in discussions of selfies? Are young people and mainstream media operating with different understandings of the selfie? If so, what are they? What’s the best way to understand the selfie: close-reading, data analysis, or something else?

Thursday, February 5

DIGITAL ETHNOGRAPHY: HOW DO WE TELL IF IT’S GOOD WORK?
  • Sarah J. Tracy, “Qualitative Quality: Eight ‘Big-Tent’ Criteria for Excellent Qualitative Research,” Qualitative Inquiry 16, no. 10 (December 1, 2010): 837–51.

Using these guidelines, you’ll work with your lab to develop a plan for meeting these requirements in your own work.

Week Six

Tuesday, February 10

RISK AND DANGER ONLINE
KEY TERM: MORAL PANIC
KEY TERM CONTRIBUTORS: JORDAN, CHRISTINE
  • danah boyd, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2014), chapters four and five.
  • Justine Cassell and Meg Cramer, “High Tech or High Risk: Moral Panics about Girls Online,” in Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected, ed. Tara McPherson, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning (Cambridge  Mass.: MIT Press, 2008), 53–76.

When are fears about life online justified, and when are they overblown? Why do so many fears seem to converge online? What’s the role of race and gender in these anxieties?

Thursday, February 12

MIDTERM EVALUATION
MILESTONE THREE: PROJECT UPDATE
Due by 5pm on Friday, February 13
Approx. 500 words. Describe what you’ve found so far, what you still need to know, and where you see the project headed.

Week Seven

Tuesday, February 17

SEEING RACE ONLINE
Guest speaker: Dr. Safiya U. Noble
KEY TERM: COLORBLIND
KEY TERM CONTRIBUTOR: NATALY, FELIPE, VICTORIA
  • Alexander Galloway, “Does the Whatever Speak?,” in Race and New Media, ed. Lisa. Nakamura and Peter. Chow-White (Hoboken: Taylor & Francis, 2011), 111–27.
  • Theresa Senft and Safiya Umoja Noble, “Race and Social Media,” in The Social Media Handbook, ed. Jeremy Hunsinger and Theresa M. Senft (New York: Routledge, 2014), 107–25.

How have communities of color used and adapted social media to organize, socialize, and have fun? How has social media militated against racism, and how has it been complicit with it? How do a particular platform’s affordances collide and collude with popular understandings of race?

Thursday, February 19

LAB CHECK-IN

Review your project updates with your labmates.

Week Eight

Tuesday, February 24

DIGITAL NATIVES? GLOBAL YOUTH, GLOBAL CHANGE
KEY TERM: DIGITAL NATIVE

How do young people in other countries understand online life differently (or similarly) to North American young adults? What role is social media playing in global social change?

Thursday, February 26

LAB CHECK-IN AND CO-WORKING

Also: Decide what to read for Thursday, March 5.

MILESTONE FOUR: HYPOTHESES
Due by 5pm on Friday, February 27
Summarize the tentative answers to your research question.

Week Nine

Tuesday, March 3

SJWs, OWS, HACKTIVISM, AND HASHTAG ACTIVISM: CIVIC LIFE ONLINE

Sasha Costanza-Chock, Out of the Shadows, into the Streets!: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement (Cambridge  Mass.: MIT Press, 2014), chapters one and two.

Zeynep Tufekci, “What Happens to #Ferguson Affects Ferguson,” Medium, August 14, 2015.

What varieties of online activism exist? Are they effective? Are online political organizers really slacktivists? How are different media and platforms affecting our understanding and engagement in political life?

Thursday, March 5

VIRALITY
Guest speaker: James Samir Shamsi

James Samir Shamsi, “How I Made $2,000+ with a 10-second Snapchat”

Maria Konnikova, “The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You”

MILESTONE FIVE: ROUGH DRAFT
Due by 5pm on Friday, March 6

Submit a rough draft of your research paper.

Week Ten

No blog post this week!

Tuesday, March 10

FINAL EXAM

Thursday, March 12

LAB WORK/FEEDBACK SESSION

For this class, your assigned reading is your labmates’ rough drafts. You’ll spend this class giving your classmates feedback.

Monday, March 16, 3pm-6pm

RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
MILESTONE SIX: FINAL PAPER DUE
Due by 5pm on Wednesday, March 18
Submit the final draft of your research paper.
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