Course Description

Foundations of American Cyber-Culture, ART 23AC

This new course will enable students to think critically about, and engage in practical experiments in, the complex interactions between new media and perceptions and performances of embodiment, agency, citizenship, collective action, individual identity, time and spatiality. We will pay particular attention to the categories of personhood that make up the UC Berkeley American Cultures rubric (race and ethnicity), as well as to gender, nation, and disability. The argument threading through the course will be the ways in which new media both reinforce pre-existing social hierarchies, and yet offer possibilities for the transcendence of those very categories. The new media -- and we will leave the precise definition of the new media as something to be argued about over the course of the semester -- can be yet another means for dividing and disenfranchising, and can be the conduit of violence and transnational dominance.

Key Information

Credit: 6 quarter units / 4 semester units credit
UC Berkeley, Art Practice

Course Credit:

Upon successful completion, all online courses offered through cross-enrollment provide UC unit credit. Some courses are approved for GE, major preparation and/or, major credit or can be used as a substitute for a course at your campus.

If "unit credit" is listed by your campus, consult your department, academic adviser or Student Affairs division to inquire about the petition process for more than unit credit for the course.

UC Berkeley:
General Education: American Cultures (AC) credit for all majors
Major Requirement: lower division elective for Art Practice major, design minor

UC Davis:
Unit Credit

UC Irvine:
Unit Credit

UC Los Angeles:
Unit Credit

UC Merced:
Units toward degree (see your advisor)

UC Riverside:
General Education: Elective units

UC San Diego:
General Education: Revelle Fine Arts;  Warren - May be counted depending on major/PofC/AS; ERC possible Fine Arts; TMC 1 course toward lower division disciplinary breadth if noncontiguous to major

UC San Francisco:
Unit Credit

UC Santa Barbara:
Unit Credit

UC Santa Cruz:
General Education: PE-T

More About The Course

From tax returns and health records to social media and traffic updates, many aspects of our lives depend on information stored in networked databases. Data Cultures is a new online course that teaches ways to research, question, and innovate such databases to better understand how they can affect our human experiences both positively and negatively.

Explore the origins of data, the invention of databases, and many of the liberating and oppressive effects of data on our daily lives. Most importantly, you will learn to be a thoughtful participant in data cultures by questioning data-driven media and by expressing your values, hopes and concerns through innovation and collaboration. Topics covered include: history of data culture, critical analysis of existing data-driven media, basic database queries, surveillance studies, celebrity, networking, digital divides, digital redlining, basic data analysis, interface design, information visualization and rapid prototyping.

The core activity in this art course is to engage with data culture issues through creative reflection. Rather than writing, you will draw, film, animate, photograph and program web content to advance your ideas about data culture, and your peers will have ample chances to view, dialogue and of course rate your creative efforts.

Course Creator

Greg Niemeyer
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