Communication, technology, and society: A Summer 2012 reading list

A year ago, this blog started a place to hold myself accountable for reading and synthesizing my for-credit directed reading over the summer.  I plan on doing the same this summer, supervised by Prof. Francois Bar of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and affiliated with the Annenberg Innovation Lab.  Francois’ scholarship focuses on the social impact of information and communication technologies, as well as user-driven innovation.  I’m interested in applying that framework to studying children, technology, and early literacy development in formal and informal learning environments.  The below list is by no means exhaustive, but gives me plenty to noodle over this summer and share on this blog.

Meryl Alper

COMM 790: Directed Research, Summer 2012 (4 units)

Communication, Technology, and Society

Prof. Francois Bar

This directed reading covers historical approaches to communication, technology, and sociocultural change, with an emphasis not only on the research and design of technologies, but the psychological, material, and social relations through which these devices and tools are understood, imagined, and challenged.  The readings focus on two areas: 1) Technology, Design, and Domestic Spaces and 2) New Media, Technology, and Literacy.

Technology, Design, and Domestic Spaces

Gitelman, L. (2006). Always already new: Media, history and the data of culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Norman, D. A. (2002). The design of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.

Spigel, L. (1992). Make room for TV: Television and the family ideal in postwar America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Standage, T. (1998). The Victorian Internet: The remarkable story of the telegraph and the nineteenth century’s on-line pioneers. New York: Walker Publishing Company.

Wardrip-Fruin, N., & Montfort, N. (Eds.). (2003). New media reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (selections)

New Media, Technology, and Literacy

Acland, C. R. (2007). Residual media. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. (selections)

Blikstein, P. (2008). Travels in Troy with Freire: Technology as an agent for emancipation. In P. Noguera & C. Torres (Eds.), Social justice education for teachers: Paulo Freire and the possible dream (pp. 205–244). Rotterdam: Sense.

Bolter, J. D. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

diSessa, A. A. (2000). Changing minds: Computers, learning, and literacy. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Hayles, N. K. (2005). My mother was a computer: Digital subjects and literary texts. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Kay, A. (1972). A personal computer for children of all ages. Presented at the ACM National Conference, Boston.

Maxwell, J. W. (2006). Tracing the Dynabook: A study of technocultural transformations (Thesis). University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

McLuhan, M. (1962). The Gutenberg galaxy: The making of typographic man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Murray, J. H. (1998). Hamlet on the holodeck: The future of narrative in cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Murray, J. H. (2011). Inventing the medium: Principles of interaction design as a cultural practice. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Ong, W. J. (1982). Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. New York: Methuen.

Pahl, K., & Rowsell, J. (2010). Artifactual literacies: Every object tells a story. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.


Over the course of the summer, I will post regularly on my blog,  The site began as a place to post my reflections on last summer’s directed research readings, but I have also used it as a place to work through early drafts of published papers and book chapters, outside readings over winter break, and also to synthesize my thoughts after conferences.  This summer, I will be attending three conferences: ICA, the Prix Jeunesse (in Munich, Germany, where I will co-present on an international children’s television research project) and the International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (in Bremen, Germany, where I will be co-chairing a workshop).  These gatherings of diverse people and ideas will certainly give me much to bounce these readings off of.  I expect to carry over these readings into my projects and classwork in the fall.

* * *

(And not on any official school reading list, but I’m also excited this summer to pick up John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” and Nathan Englander’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank“… or as excited as one can be to read a book about two teens with cancer falling in love and another about marriage during the Holocaust.)

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