SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 2: Sagas, Ciphers, and Cyborgs: Information Cultures in Scandinavia

TuTh 8-9:30 , Dwinelle 235. Instructor: TBA

Units: 4

In our age of cell phones, drones, Facebook, and apps, we often forget that communications and connectivities have always pervaded the fabric of social interactions across history. From runic inscriptions to Instagram, analog and digital technologies have had a profound role in communicating information and thereby shaping cultures. This course will explore the spread of information as myth, text, image, and object in different moments in Scandinavian history, from the pre-modern era to the contemporary “Information Age.” These discussions will introduce students to the ways in which scholars ask questions, read and evaluate sources, and develop arguments. Acquiring training in argumentative writing, students will reflect on what information and media can reveal about the societies and technologies that shape them. The course will rely on historical and anthropological perspectives as well as the recent field of media archaeology and will demonstrate how such evidence can be applied in academic papers. Through historical and contemporary discussions of information-related topics such as privacy, social networks, and encryption, our aim is to develop persuasive writing and to think critically about historical studies and their practical applications to our world today.

This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.