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CAS 230 week one

threefold history; prewritten culture (cave paintings, etc.)

Christopher Smit

on 3 February 2011

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Transcript of CAS 230 week one

History of North American Media origins, contexts, cultures Syllabus Overview Digital Components Students with disabilities Plagiarism REQUIRED READING
Horowitz, People’s Voice
David Crowley and Paul Heyer (Eds.), Communication in History
Nicolas Carr, The Shallows
Other required readings will be posted on our KV site.

1.Involve yourself with this class (be here on time, do the readings, do the required assignments, participate in class discussions, respect the goals of the group)
2.Involve yourself with your classmates (listen to them, help them when possible, ask them to help you, respect them)
3.Involve yourself with ideas (do some intellectual work, push beyond expectations of assignments, question your authors, question your professor, respect your own thoughts).


1.Please send your paper as an attachment (Microsoft Word only) to my e-mail address (csmit@calvin.edu) by no later than 5:00 PM on the due date.
2.Please save your file with your last name only.
3.As an extra precaution, please also include your paper in the text of your e-mail.
4.If you do not hear from me that I received your paper within 24 hours, please send it again.
5.I will send comments back using the Comment function on Microsoft Word. Your final grade will be noted at the bottom of your paper.
6.All papers given to me electronically are final. Treat them as you would a traditional paper copy.
7.All papers will be graded with the following criteria in mind:
•Was the assignment turned in on time? If not, the final grade drops 3% every day it is late.
•Does the assignment meet all of the requirements as they are explained in the syllabus?
•Was the of the assignment written with good grammar and spelling in mind? Does the of the assignment follow the format requirements as they are explained in the syllabus?
•Does the assignment express lessons learned in class lectures, discussions, and readings?
•Are the conclusions offered by the author sound?—i.e., does the author substantiate her or his conclusions/thesis?

Our class will have a Facebook group where we will maintain conversations about class related topics, local events of interest, share videos and images, share links that illustrate class discussions, ask questions of each other, etc. Please follow the steps below as part of your participation grade.

1.Please become a member of the group The Spring CAS 230 Facebook Group, Smit Class (note, you do not need to be a friend with me to join this group; if you would like to be my friend on Facebook, That’s up to you).
2.Keep track of this group on a daily basis, take note of its wall postings, and discussions.
3.Many of our class sessions will have a Discussion connected to it, posted before we meet together by students presenting on selected readings.I will keep track of your responses to these questions/discussions as part of your participation grade.
4.Post questions about assignments, discussions, or any other class related issues on the wall of the group. Share links to illustrate class issues. I will monitor these closely.
5.Post images, videos, and links that help us illustrate what we are talking about in class. Do not use the group as a personal platform, use it to build the communal ideas we are working on.
6.Keep it clean.
Please use our Knight Vision site to keep track of your grades and to download any handouts or readings from the Course Documents folder.
reading presentations Reading Presentation & Discussion Facilitation 20% of final grade

In hopes of offering all of us a chance to critically respond to the readings publicly, each of you will be asked to give a presentation on, and lead a discussion of, one reading this semester (sign-up sheet will be distributed). These are formal presentations and should be handled appropriately with regards to preparation and execution. This assignment will be evaluated in terms of its written component as well as its presentational component.

a. Written Component (submitted electronically on the day of your presentation)
In a well-written document (300 to 500 words), please respond to the following question(s): how does the author further our understanding of media/cultural history? How does the essay match up with themes from our course? What does the essay “bring to the table” with regards to our understanding of our topic? It is important to that you do not summarize the reading – instead, look at this assignment as a critical reflection of what you have read.

After writing this, please include between 3 and 5 discussion questions, all of which attempt to broaden the scope of the essay—craft questions which will allow us to develop the essay’s ideas into contemporary media and culture conversations. You must post one of these questions on our Facebook page.

b. Presentational Component
Please prepare a 10-15 minute presentation of your written component to present to the class. You will be expected to summarize your critical analysis/reflection of the essay as well as facilitate a discussion with us based on your discussion questions. Do not summarize the reading. Again, this is a formal presentation—prepare, practice, and present a well-crafted and intentional set of ideas. All of the work you present in this class is your work. Plagiarized work, like making up quotes, claiming the work of another person as your own, or using someone else’s words or ideas without acknowledging it, will earn you an [F] for the assignment plagiarized, and may lead to other academic penalties. If you have questions about plagiarism, please see me. I would like to hear from anyone with a disability (physical, mental, or economic) so that I might accommodate your specific needs. Help me help you get the most out of this class. Please feel free to see me after class or during my office hours to discuss these options. Calvin College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students should notify a Coordinator of Services to Students with Disabilities located in Student Academic Services, HH455. Students should notify their instructors within the first two weeks of class regarding accommodation. Our work on Media History will actually consist of three histories: It will ask you to keep track of media history (i.e., to be able to chart the progression of media technologies, their inventors, and their uses)
It will also ask you to keep track of cultural history (i.e., to be able to mark significant points of development in culture)—and, most importantly how media history fits into that development
It will also ask you to keep track of communication history (i.e., to be able to see how communication is altered by developments in media and culture)
Media History Questions (Factual): What technological developments allowed for a media’s evolvement?
Who was responsible for such developments (what were their intentions)?
What industries were invested in the invention?
What were the economic factors involved in the invention and implementation?
Our example… the iPhone personal introductions Cultural History Questions (Critical & Investigative) What cultural context(s) help us understand the media event being studied?
How did the media event help or hinder culture?
How did culture manipulate (i.e., take ownership of) the media event being studied?
What is the “cultural value” of the media event being studied?
Communication History Questions (Critical & Investigative) How does the media event change the ways communication works in culture?
Does the media event help or hinder our ability to represent knowledge and information?
Who has access to the communicative benefits of the media event being studied?
Who owns the communicative effect of the media event being studied, i.e. the industry, consumer, or both?
What is gained by employing a three foci (media, culture, and communication) program in studying Media History? By pointing to the critical and investigative nature of our work, we reject the temptation to believe that history is OBJECTIVE.
We gain an understanding of history as a complex narrative—one which promotes multiple interpretations.
We make room for a Christian response—ie, by seeing Media History as being “open,” we find a place for God in the progression of history more generally.
Some tip's on reading Secondary Texts Structure: How has the author structured her work? How would you briefly outline it? Why might she have employed this structure? What historical argument does the structure employ? After identifying the thesis, ask yourself in what ways the structure of the work enhances or detracts from the thesis. How does the author set about to make her or his case? What about the structure of the work makes it convincing?

Thesis: A thesis is the controlling argument of a work of history. Toqueville argued, for instance, that American society in the first half of the nineteenth century believed itself to be radically oriented towards liberty and freedom while in fact its innate conservatism hid under a homogeneous culture and ideology. Often, the most difficult task when reading a secondary is to identify the author's thesis. In a well-written essay, the thesis is usually clearly stated near the beginning of the piece. In a long article or book, the thesis is usually diffuse. There may in fact be more than one. As you read, constantly ask yourself, "how could I sum up what this author is saying in one or two sentences?" This is a difficult task; even if you never feel you have succeeded, simply constantly trying to answer this question will advance your understanding of the work.

Argument: A thesis is not just a statement of opinion, or a belief, or a thought. It is an argument. Because it is an argument, it is subject to evaluation and analysis. Is it a good argument? How is the big argument (the thesis) structured into little arguments? Are these little arguments constructed well? Is the reasoning valid? Does the evidence support the conclusions? Has the author used invalid or incorrect logic? Is she relying on incorrect premises? What broad, unexamined assumptions seem to underlay the author's argument? Are these correct?
Note here that none of these questions ask if you like the argument or its conclusion. This part of the evaluation process asks you not for your opinion, but to evaluate the logic of the argument. There are two kinds of logic you must consider: Internal logic is the way authors make their cases, given the initial assumptions, concerns, and definitions set forth in the essay or book. In other words, assuming that their concern is a sound one, does the argument make sense? Holistic logic regards the piece as a whole. Are the initial assumptions correct? Is the author asking the proper questions? Has the author framed the problem correctly?

Motives: Why might the author have written this work? This is a difficult question, and often requires outside information, such as information on how other historians were writing about the topic. Don't let the absence of that information keep you from using your historical imagination. Even if you don't have the information you wish you had, you can still ask yourself, "Why would the author argue this?" Many times, arguments in older works of history seem ludicrous or silly to us today. When we learn more about the context in which those arguments were made, however, they start to make more sense. Things like political events and movements, an author's ideological bents or biases, or an author's relationship to existing political and cultural institutions often have an impact on the way history is written. On the other hand, the struggle to achieve complete objectivity also effects the ways people have written history. It is only appropriate, then, that such considerations should inform your reading.

Primaries: Students of history often do not read footnotes. Granted, footnotes are not exactly entertaining, but they are the nuts and bolts of history writing. Glance occasionally at footnotes, especially when you come across a particularly interesting or controversial passage. What primary sources has the historian used to support her argument? Has she used them well? What pitfalls may befall the historians who uses these sources? How does her use of these kinds of sources influence the kinds of arguments she can make? What other sources might she have employed? Pre-Written Culture 30,000 BC (Ice Age)
1500 AD (Inca)

Art, Symbol, Intent, and Purpose
Cave Paintings (purposeful art) How are objects purposeful? A. Used to mark rituals and ceremonies
B. Used to indicate differences in age, sex, and rank (status)
C. Used to signify important processes (social and individual)
D. Used to illustrate myths and stories
Marshack, “The Art and Symbols of Ice Age Man”, pg. 5-13 1.the dichotomy of aesthetic expression (doodling) vs. purposeful symbolization (communication)
2.issues of ritual (ie, repeated social action in order to secure social meaning)
3.issues of intention (ie, media made for a use and purpose)
4.issues of authority (ie, the first evidence of media offering power to its creator)
First issues… Ascher and Ascher, “Civilization without Writing-The Incas and the Quipu”, pg.30-35 The complexities of the Quipa:
Held the concepts of before and after (horizontal)
Held the concepts of above and below (vertical)
Offered systems of hierarchy (i.e., distance and space relationships)
Offered systems of symbolic communication (i.e., colors)
book review Book Review 25% of final grade

Due date: Thursday, March 17, submit electronically before 5 PM
Length: 1000-1500 words
Format: Typed and submitted electronically, single-spaced, 12 characters per inch, Times or Helvetica font

Objective: The aim of this project is to have you read some contemporary literature which covers media history, cultural technologies, and other class related issues and topics. Your review of the book should spend one third of its time summarizing its main argument, one third connecting it to some of the issues we have discussed and read in class, and the last third offering your critical analysis of the ideas within the book. Please turn in a paper that is thesis driven (i.e., “this book allows media historians to…”). There is an approved booklist ; if you would like to propose a different title, please don’t hesitate to ask. Please purchase your books as soon as possible, and start reading. New Media Technology Analysis Paper 25% of final grade

Due date: Thursday, April 28, submit before 5 PM
Length: 1000-1500 words
Format: Typed and submitted electronically, single-spaced, 12 characters per inch, Times or Helvetica font, MLA citations.
Research: please use and cite at least three justifiable research sources (journal articles, books, or reputable online sources).

Objective: This assignment is designed to offer you an opportunity to analyze a particular product, platform, or piece of technology which falls under the large umbrella of “new media.” This can include, but is not limited to, particular models of smart phones, computer technologies, social network platforms, websites, etc. In your analysis please make sure to address the cultural uses of your technology as well as its place in media history. Please provide a thesis driven paper which argues the cultural benefits and/or pitfalls of your topic. etc. new media technology analysis Final exam 25% of final grade
final exam scheduled for Monday, May 16 at 1:30 PM
The final exam for this class will cover information from assigned readings, lectures, and class-discussions. Exam formats will include term/person identification, short answer essays, and long answer essays. The final exam will be cumulative.

Participation 5% of final grade
Your participation in the class will be based on your responsiveness to class lectures, reading discussions, and comments made by your peers. You will also be evaluated on the content and consistency of your participation in our Facebook Group.
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