Course Description

ENG 5057: Feeling Networked / Networked Feeling
Fall 2015. Professor Scott Richmond.

It has become common to say that, increasingly, and because of our new networked media, we are all connected. It is equally commonplace to lament an increasing alienation caused by these same media: despite our increasing connectedness, we are ever more isolated in this era of social networks and geo-located networking apps. And amidst all this, Facebook’s recent experiments in the “emotional manipulation” of its users is the object of much (rather overwrought) public outcry.

Against this backdrop, this course asks what it feels like to be networked, how the network feels, and how feelings themselves become network phenomena. Nobody yet knows what to make of the network, our presence in it, its presence in our lives. To ask these questions, we will turn to a number of scenes of analysis, both empirical and aesthetic. Empirical scenes will be scenes of encounter, of confusion, of not-yet-knowing, of anxiety: online dating, digital mourning, hookup apps, “sharing” and oversharing. In addition to these empirical scenes, we will study their aesthetic mediation, not only in digital media art, but also in films (Her, Gamer, and Blackhat), novels (Super Sad True Love Story, Pattern Recognition, The Sluts, Accelerando), and videogames (Journey, Speculation).

To help us think about networks, we will turn to media theory, both old and new, add well as theorists concerned instead with feelings, affect, feminism, and queer theory.

Satisfies the Department of English “Communities and Cultures” requirement.