Summer Teaching Dispatch: Nicholaus Gutierrez and New Media Reading and Composition

24 Sep, 2018

Summer Teaching Dispatch: Nicholaus Gutierrez and New Media Reading and Composition

Nicholaus Gutierrez, a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric, was selected to teach “Is Technology Evil” as a NWMEDIA R1B this past summer.

Below, he describes the experience:

This summer’s BCNM R1B asked simple question: is technology evil? For this course, students read a series of texts in the recent tradition of technology criticism, investigating a range of controversies around technology, from representations of race and gender in new media to theoretical concepts like technological determinism, surveillance, and political control. Using these topics in conjunction with a series of representative films, television shows, advertisements and online platforms, students were asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of technology critique, and to think about the impacts of new media on our daily lives.

From the course description:

Digital Technology has profoundly influenced the ways we live, work and play. From the “disruptive innovations” of the sharing economy to workplace automatization, from social media to streaming entertainment, the standard narrative of new media and technologies tends to be aspirational: digital networks democratize access, increase efficiency and make life more convenient — in short, they change the world, usually for the better. But is the reality of this new technological world purely positive or does with it pose some problems as well?

In this course, we will practice the skills of college level writing and research by carefully questioning popular narratives of digital technology. Do the mass media make us into zombie consumers? Do social media cause isolation? Do search engine algorithms create filter bubbles that polarize culture? We will think about the role of mass media in the production of consuming subjects, of the representations of race, gender and sexuality in new media, of the nature and role of aesthetics and design in contemporary life.