Courses

Current Courses

School of Media Studies, The New School:

FALL 2017

DIGITAL WAR
This course focuses on exploring how digital technologies and media are transforming warfare, international conflicts, and popular uprisings and their suppression. We will explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these new technologies and strategies. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. It also examines how new forms of digital and social media are being enlisted in the service of international conflicts. Topics discussed include the military's use of video games for recruitment and training; the role of digital media in war journalism, state propaganda and information warfare, and hackivist sites such as Wikileaks; the use of social media in both organizing and suppressing popular uprisings such as the Arab Spring; mass surveillance in the name of state security; developments in cyberwarfare; and the increasing use of military robotics, including armed Predator and Reaper drones, as well as the development of fully autonomous weapons.

DESIGNING METHODOLOGIES FOR STUDYING MEDIA
This course explores the design of research methodologies for the systematic study of media--how and why media are made, distributed, used, and understood. Because media systems can be very complex, and studied from various perspectives, it is important for media researchers to be able to deploy a range of techniques, and especially to combine techniques, in ways that allow for meaningful, clear, and critical research. The course emphasizes the framing of questions, as well as the choice of best methods for research, and how the choice of methods influences the significance, meaning, and impact of the results. This includes ethical considerations of research, such as protecting subjects' privacy and anonymity. The class will give a survey of various types of empirical methods, including qualitative ones, such as ethnography, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, auto-ethnography, and rhetorical analysis; and quantitative ones, such as sampling, surveys, content analysis, audience analysis, and visual techniques. We look at different examples of how these methods can be effectively combined, and at various resources for studying media, especially on-line information and data. Assignments will consist of several small research projects involving different methods, and a larger research project employing an original methodology.

Past Courses

School of Media Studies, The New School:

SPRING 2017

CO-LAB: ROBOT MEDIA STUDIO (with GRADUATE & UNDERGRADUATE sections)
This course explores the potential of robotic media platforms and computer vision for cinematic expression. As a Co-Lab, students will work in collaborative groups that will utilize the latest robotic and computer vision technologies to make short films. The first half of the semester will consist of an introduction to these technologies and in-class group exercises that will familiarize you with advanced digital camera techniques, and robotic camera control. These camera techniques and platforms will include advanced computer vision techniques such as Time-lapse, High Dynamic Range Imagery, Motion Magnification, Facial Recognition, Object Tracking, Optic Flow, and others, as well as 3D active-vision systems such as the Xbox Kinect. Robotic camera control will be explored through the use of remote-operated and computer-controlled servo-driven cameras, including RC vehicles, mobile robot dollys, robotic arms, and quadrotors (drones). We will explore a variety of control methods from remote control to pre-programmed and 3D model-driven control, as well as how these can be combined with vision techniques for the interactive control of cameras with gestures. We will also explore how these cinematographic techniques relate to visual storytelling and expression. In the second half of the course, students will pursue projects of their own design in groups, with the goal of producing a short experimental or narrative video utilizing these techniques. Previous programming experience is not required, but students will be expected to learn and apply basic programming skills in this course, and will be introduced to programming languages such as Processing, Python and Java, and programming platforms and libraries such as Arduino, ROS and OpenCV.

FALL 2016

DIGITAL WAR: RHETORIC, RISKS & REALITIES
This course focuses on exploring how digital technologies and media are transforming warfare, international conflicts, and popular uprisings and their suppression. We will explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these new technologies and strategies. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. It also examines how new forms of digital and social media are being enlisted in the service of international conflicts. Topics discussed include the military's use of video games for recruitment and training; the role of digital media in war journalism, state propaganda and information warfare, and hackivist sites such as Wikileaks; the use of social media in both organizing and suppressing popular uprisings such as the Arab Spring; mass surveillance in the name of state security; developments in cyberwarfare; and the increasing use of military robotics, including armed Predator and Reaper drones, as well as the development of fully autonomous weapons.

MEDIA THEORY (Wednesday 4:00-5:50pm)
MEDIA THEORY (Thursday 6:00-7:50pm)
This course is required of all first-year Media Studies students; students may be advised to take the course either concurrently with or in the semester after Understanding Media Studies. Media Theory provides an overview of the major schools of academic thought that have influenced the field of Media Studies, as they pertain to three central themes: Media and Power, Media and Technology, and Media and Aesthetics. The historical and philosophical roots of the discipline are emphasized through a wide variety of readings, discussions, and academic writing assignments.

SPRING 2016

DESIGNING METHODOLOGIES FOR STUDYING MEDIA
This course explores the design of research methodologies for the systematic study of media--how and why media are made, distributed, used, and understood. Because media systems can be very complex, and studied from various perspectives, it is important for media researchers to be able to deploy a range of techniques, and especially to combine techniques, in ways that allow for meaningful, clear, and critical research. The course emphasizes the framing of questions, as well as the choice of best methods for research, and how the choice of methods influences the significance, meaning, and impact of the results. This includes ethical considerations of research, such as protecting subjects' privacy and anonymity. The class will give a survey of various types of empirical methods, including qualitative ones, such as ethnography, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, auto-ethnography, and rhetorical analysis; and quantitative ones, such as sampling, surveys, content analysis, audience analysis, and visual techniques. We look at different examples of how these methods can be effectively combined, and at various resources for studying media, especially on-line information and data. Assignments will consist of several small research projects involving different methods, and a larger research project employing an original methodology.

ROBOTS AS MEDIA
As robots begin to move outside of factories and into a variety of new roles--from vacuuming floors to performing surgeries, disarming bombs, and driving cars--it is clear that they represent a radical new form of mediated information and agency. predator drone robots have become the primary tool of the U.S. government in its war on terror, and, at the same time, journalists continue to refer to military robots as "Terminators." These observations raise the question of how our ongoing development and use of robotic media is being shaped by media representations of robotics. This course examines the complex relationship between robots and the media, from both the perspective of representations of robots in the media--including film, television, and news media--and the development of robots as a new form of media. In the first part of the course we consider the types of narrative roles that robots have occupied, as well as how the concepts of robotics and automation are reflected in the social and cultural contexts in which those media are produced. The second part of the course explores recent developments in robotics as forms of digital media, both continuous with and distinct from other types of digital media. We assess how contemporary debates about the potential uses and social impacts of robotic media intersect with popular narratives about robotics, both pessimistic and optimistic. The class also considers what makes contemporary discourses on robotic unique, and what that might tell us about contemporary society and culture. Course materials include readings from a variety of popular, academic, and literary sources--among them texts by Katherine Hayles, Ken Goldberg, Rodney Brooks and Philip K. Dick--and video clips from TV and films including Blade Runner, Robo-Cop, Battlestar Galactica, Surrogates, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Students are expected to produce a short mid-term, and longer final assignment--either a research paper, film or digital media project.

FALL 2014

DIGITAL WAR: RHETORIC, RISKS & REALITIES
This course examines the complex relationship between digital technologies and warfare, from both the perspective of how wars are conducted, and how conflict is represented in and through media. In the late 1990s the US military committed itself to pursuing Network-Centric Warfare and Full-Spectrum Dominance, which eventually led to the largest military R&D contract in history--the Future Combat Systems program. Several years, two wars, and many billions of dollars later, those digital technologies are finding their way onto the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror. This course focuses on exploring the technologies and media that are having the greatest impact on the way war will be fought in the near future, as well as the cultural meanings of warfare, and the use of digital technologies to organize resistance and bring down political regimes. We explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these technologies, and how news media both discusses these technologies and is itself increasingly shaped by them. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. We also examine how blogs and other digital tools are transforming war journalism, and how social media are being used in popular uprisings. Topics discussed include: the military's use of video game technology for recruitment, training, and remote interfaces; the use of database systems to manage vast quantities of information in warfare, as well as for data-mining and surveillance; the increasing use of military robotics including armed Predator and Reaper drones, and the development of fully autonomous lethal robots; and the use digital media by independent journalists and of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as cell-phone cameras in the Arab Spring and other popular uprisings and demonstrations.

SPRING 2014

CO-LAB: ROBOT MEDIA STUDIO
This course explores the potential of robotic media platforms and computer vision for cinematic expression. As a Co-Lab, students will work in collaborative groups that will utilize the latest robotic and computer vision technologies to make short films. The first half of the semester will consist of an introduction to these technologies and in-class group exercises that will familiarize you with advanced digital camera techniques, and robotic camera control. These camera techniques and platforms will include advanced computer vision techniques such as Time-lapse, High Dynamic Range Imagery, Motion Magnification, Facial Recognition, Object Tracking, Optic Flow, and others, as well as 3D active-vision systems such as the Xbox Kinect. Robotic camera control will be explored through the use of remote-operated and computer-controlled servo-driven cameras, including RC vehicles, mobile robot dollys, robotic arms, and quadrotors (drones). We will explore a variety of control methods from remote control to pre-programmed and 3D model-driven control, as well as how these can be combined with vision techniques for the interactive control of cameras. We will also explore how these cinematographic techniques relate to visual storytelling and expression. In the second half of the course, students will pursue projects of their own design in groups, with the goal of producing a short experimental or narrative video utilizing these techniques. Previous programming experience is not required, but students will be expected to learn and apply basic programming skills in this course, and will be introduced to programming languages such as Python and Java, and programming platforms and libraries such as Arduino, ROS and OpenCV.

FALL 2013

DIGITAL WAR: RHETORIC, RISKS & REALITIES
This course examines the complex relationship between digital technologies and warfare, from both the perspective of how wars are conducted, and how conflict is represented in and through media. In the late 1990s the US military committed itself to pursuing Network-Centric Warfare and Full-Spectrum Dominance, which eventually led to the largest military R&D contract in history--the Future Combat Systems program. Several years, two wars, and many billions of dollars later, those digital technologies are finding their way onto the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror. This course focuses on exploring the technologies and media that are having the greatest impact on the way war will be fought in the near future, as well as the cultural meanings of warfare, and the use of digital technologies to organize resistance and bring down political regimes. We explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these technologies, and how news media both discusses these technologies and is itself increasingly shaped by them. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. We also examine how blogs and other digital tools are transforming war journalism, and how social media are being used in popular uprisings. Topics discussed include: the military's use of video game technology for recruitment, training, and remote interfaces; the use of database systems to manage vast quantities of information in warfare, as well as for data-mining and surveillance; the increasing use of military robotics including armed Predator and Reaper drones, and the development of fully autonomous lethal robots; and the use digital media by independent journalists and of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as cell-phone cameras in the Arab Spring and other popular uprisings and demonstrations.

SPRING 2013

DESIGNING METHODOLOGIES FOR STUDYING MEDIA
This course explores the design of research methodologies for the systematic study of media--how and why media are made, distributed, used, and understood. Because media systems can be very complex, and studied from various perspectives, it is important for media researchers to be able to deploy a range of techniques, and especially to combine techniques, in ways that allow for meaningful, clear, and critical research. The course emphasizes the framing of questions, as well as the choice of best methods for research, and how the choice of methods influences the significance, meaning, and impact of the results. This includes ethical considerations of research, such as protecting subjects' privacy and anonymity. The class will give a survey of various types of empirical methods, including qualitative ones, such as ethnography, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, auto-ethnography, and rhetorical analysis; and quantitative ones, such as sampling, surveys, content analysis, audience analysis, and visual techniques. We look at different examples of how these methods can be effectively combined, and at various resources for studying media, especially on-line information and data. Assignments will consist of several small research projects involving different methods, and a larger research project employing an original methodology.

FALL 2012

DIGITAL WAR: RHETORIC, RISKS & REALITIES
In the late 1990s the US military committed itself to pursuing Network-Centric Warfare and Full-Spectrum Dominance, which eventually led to the largest military R&D contract in history--the Future Combat Systems program. Several years, two wars, and many billions of dollars later, those digital technologies are finding their way onto the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror. This course focuses on exploring the technologies and media that are having the greatest impact on the way war will be fought in the near future, as well as the cultural meanings of warfare, and the propensity to war itself. We explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these technologies. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. Topics discussed include the military's use of video games for recruitment and training, the use of video game interfaces for real-world technologies, the use of database systems to manage vast quantities of information in warfare, and the increasing use of military robotics including armed Predator and Reaper drones. Readings will include Peter Singer's Wired for War, Paul Edwards' The Closed World, James Der Derian's Virtuous War, and texts by Tim Lenoir, Paul Virilio, and Slavoj Zizek, as well as various public military documents.

SPRING 2012

ROBOTS AS MEDIA
As robots begin to move outside of factories and into a variety of new roles--from vacuuming floors to performing surgeries, disarming bombs, and driving cars--it is clear that they represent a radical new form of mediated information and agency. predator drone robots have become the primary tool of the U.S. government in its war on terror, and, at the same time, journalists continue to refer to military robots as "Terminators." These observations raise the question of how our ongoing development and use of robotic media is being shaped by media representations of robotics. This course examines the complex relationship between robots and the media, from both the perspective of representations of robots in the media--including film, television, and news media--and the development of robots as a new form of media. In the first part of the course we consider the types of narrative roles that robots have occupied, as well as how the concepts of robotics and automation are reflected in the social and cultural contexts in which those media are produced. The second part of the course explores recent developments in robotics as forms of digital media, both continuous with and distinct from other types of digital media. We assess how contemporary debates about the potential uses and social impacts of robotic media intersect with popular narratives about robotics, both pessimistic and optimistic. The class also considers what makes contemporary discourses on robotic unique, and what that might tell us about contemporary society and culture. Course materials include readings from a variety of popular, academic, and literary sources--among them texts by Katherine Hayles, Ken Goldberg, Rodney Brooks and Philip K. Dick--and video clips from TV and films including Blade Runner, Robo-Cop, Battlestar Galactica, Surrogates, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Students are expected to produce a short mid-term, and longer final assignment--either a research paper, film or digital media project.

DESIGNING METHODOLOGIES FOR STUDYING MEDIA
This course explores the design of research methodologies for the systematic study of media--how and why media are made, distributed, used, and understood. Because media systems can be very complex, and studied from various perspectives, it is important for media researchers to be able to deploy a range of techniques, and especially to combine techniques, in ways that allow for meaningful, clear, and critical research. The course emphasizes the framing of questions, as well as the choice of best methods for research, and how the choice of methods influences the significance, meaning, and impact of the results. This includes ethical considerations of research, such as protecting subjects' privacy and anonymity. The class will give a survey of various types of empirical methods, including qualitative ones, such as ethnography, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, auto-ethnography, and rhetorical analysis; and quantitative ones, such as sampling, surveys, content analysis, audience analysis, "follow the money" techniques. We look at different examples of how these methods can be effectively combined, and at various resources for studying media, especially on-line information and data. Assignments will consist of several small research projects involving different methods, and a larger research project employing an original methodology.

FALL 2011

DIGITAL WAR: RHETORIC, RISKS & REALITIES
In the late 1990s the US military committed itself to pursuing Network-Centric Warfare and Full-Spectrum Dominance, which eventually led to the largest military R&D contract in history--the Future Combat Systems program. Several years, two wars, and many billions of dollars later, those digital technologies are finding their way onto the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror. This course focuses on exploring the technologies and media that are having the greatest impact on the way war will be fought in the near future, as well as the cultural meanings of warfare, and the propensity to war itself. We explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these technologies. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. Topics discussed include the military's use of video games for recruitment and training, the use of video game interfaces for real-world technologies, the use of database systems to manage vast quantities of information in warfare, and the increasing use of military robotics including armed Predator and Reaper drones. Readings will include Peter Singer's Wired for War, Paul Edwards' The Closed World, James Der Derian's Virtuous War, and texts by Tim Lenoir, Paul Virilio, and Slavoj Zizek, as well as various public military documents.

MEDIA STUDIES: IDEAS
This course is required of all first-year Media Studies students; students may be advised to take the course either concurrently with or in the semester after Understanding Media Studies. Media Studies: Ideas overviews the major schools of academic thought that have had an influence on the field of Media Studies, as they pertain to three central themes: Media and Power, Media and Technology, and Media and Aesthetics. The historical and philosophical roots of the discipline are emphasized through a wide variety of readings, discussions, and academic writing assignments. This course replaces Foundations of Media Theory.

DESIGNING METHODOLOGIES FOR STUDYING MEDIA
This course explores the design of research methodologies for the systematic study of media--how and why media are made, distributed, used, and understood. Because media systems can be very complex, and studied from various perspectives, it is important for media researchers to be able to deploy a range of techniques, and especially to combine techniques, in ways that allow for meaningful, clear, and critical research. The course emphasizes the framing of questions, as well as the choice of best methods for research, and how the choice of methods influences the significance, meaning, and impact of the results. This includes ethical considerations of research, such as protecting subjects' privacy and anonymity. The class will give a survey of various types of empirical methods, including qualitative ones, such as ethnography, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, auto-ethnography, and rhetorical analysis; and quantitative ones, such as sampling, surveys, content analysis, audience analysis, "follow the money" techniques. We look at different examples of how these methods can be effectively combined, and at various resources for studying media, especially on-line information and data. Assignments will consist of several small research projects involving different methods, and a larger research project employing an original methodology.

SPRING 2011

ROBOTS AS MEDIA
As robots begin to move outside of factories and into a variety of new roles--from vacuuming floors to performing surgeries, disarming bombs, and driving cars--it is clear that they represent a radical new form of mediated information and agency. predator drone robots have become the primary tool of the U.S. government in its war on terror, and, at the same time, journalists continue to refer to military robots as "Terminators." These observations raise the question of how our ongoing development and use of robotic media is being shaped by media representations of robotics. This course examines the complex relationship between robots and the media, from both the perspective of representations of robots in the media--including film, television, and news media--and the development of robots as a new form of media. In the first part of the course we consider the types of narrative roles that robots have occupied, as well as how the concepts of robotics and automation are reflected in the social and cultural contexts in which those media are produced. The second part of the course explores recent developments in robotics as forms of digital media, both continuous with and distinct from other types of digital media. We assess how contemporary debates about the potential uses and social impacts of robotic media intersect with popular narratives about robotics, both pessimistic and optimistic. The class also considers what makes contemporary discourses on robotic unique, and what that might tell us about contemporary society and culture. Course materials include readings from a variety of popular, academic, and literary sources--among them texts by Katherine Hayles, Ken Goldberg, Rodney Brooks and Philip K. Dick--and video clips from TV and films including Blade Runner, Robo-Cop, Battlestar Galactica, Surrogates, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Students are expected to produce a short mid-term, and longer final assignment--either a research paper, film or digital media project.

DESIGNING METHODOLOGIES FOR STUDYING MEDIA
This course explores the design of research methodologies for the systematic study of media--how and why media are made, distributed, used, and understood. Because media systems can be very complex, and studied from various perspectives, it is important for media researchers to be able to deploy a range of techniques, and especially to combine techniques, in ways that allow for meaningful, clear, and critical research. The course emphasizes the framing of questions, as well as the choice of best methods for research, and how the choice of methods influences the significance, meaning, and impact of the results. This includes ethical considerations of research, such as protecting subjects' privacy and anonymity. The class will give a survey of various types of empirical methods, including qualitative ones, such as ethnography, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, auto-ethnography, and rhetorical analysis; and quantitative ones, such as sampling, surveys, content analysis, audience analysis, "follow the money" techniques. We look at different examples of how these methods can be effectively combined, and at various resources for studying media, especially on-line information and data. Assignments will consist of several small research projects involving different methods, and a larger research project employing an original methodology.

FALL 2010

MEDIA STUDIES: IDEAS (Monday 4:00-5:50pm)
MEDIA STUDIES: IDEAS (Wednesday 8:00-9:50pm)
This course is required of all first-year Media Studies students; students may be advised to take the course either concurrently with or in the semester after Understanding Media Studies. Media Studies: Ideas overviews the major schools of academic thought that have had an influence on the field of Media Studies, as they pertain to three central themes: Media and Power, Media and Technology, and Media and Aesthetics. The historical and philosophical roots of the discipline are emphasized through a wide variety of readings, discussions, and academic writing assignments. This course replaces Foundations of Media Theory.

FALL 2008

MEDIA STUDIES: IDEAS
This course is required of all first-year Media Studies students; students may be advised to take the course either concurrently with or in the semester after Understanding Media Studies. Media Studies: Ideas overviews the major schools of academic thought that have had an influence on the field of Media Studies, as they pertain to three central themes: Media and Power, Media and Technology, and Media and Aesthetics. The historical and philosophical roots of the discipline are emphasized through a wide variety of readings, discussions, and academic writing assignments. This course replaces Foundations of Media Theory.

Department of Philosophy, Rutgers University:

SPRING 2008

MINDS, MACHINES, AND PERSONS
Prerequisite: One course in philosophy.
Comparison of the nature of the human mind and that of complex machines. Consequences for questions about the personhood of robots.
 

Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois:

Film Series: