21A.350J | Fall 2011 | Undergraduate

Cultures of Computing


1 Introduction (no readings)
2 Medieval & Renaissance Cosmology, Clockwork, Cross-Cultural Connections

Gardner, Martin. “The Ars Magna of Ramon Lull.” In Logic Machines, Diagrams and Boolean Algebra. Dover, 1968, pp. 1–27. ISBN: 9780486218939.

Channell, David. “The Mechanical World View: The Clockwork Universe.” In The Vital Machine: A Study of Technology and Organic Life. Oxford University Press, 1991, pp. 11–36. ISBN: 9780195060409.

Descartes, René. Discourses 1, 2, 4, and 5 in Discourse on the Method of Properly Conducting One’s Reason and of Seeking the Truth in the Sciences. Translated from the French by F. E. Sutcliffe. Penguin Books, 1968, pp. 27–44 and 53–76.

Pascal, Blaise. “The Wager.” In Pensées. Translated with an Introduction by A. J. Krailsheimer. Penguin Books, 1995, pp. 149–55. ISBN: 9780140441710.

Swift, Jonathan. “A Voyage to Laputa.” In Gulliver’s Travels. Penguin Books, 1967, pp. 223–31. ISBN: 9780140430226.

Eglash, Ron. “Bamana Sand Divination: Recursion in Ethnomathematics.” American Anthropologist 99, no. 1 (1997): 112–22.

———. “Ron Eglash on African Fractals.” Recorded at TedGlobal 2007, June 2007. TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. Accessed June 12, 2012. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/ron_eglash_on_african_fractals.html

Film Excerpts

Pi. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, 1998. (84 min).

Total: 122 pages

3 The Industrial Revolution and Calculating Engines: Analytics of Capital and Gender Difference in the Work of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace

Daston, Lorraine. “Enlightenment Calculations.” Critical Inquiry 21, no. 1 (1994): 182–202.

Babbage, Charles. “Difference Engine No. 1 and Of the Analytical Engine.” In Charles Babbage on the Principles and Development of the Calculator and Other Seminal Writings. Edited by Philip Morrison and Emily Morrison. Dover Publications, 1984, pp. 33–72. ISBN: 9780486246918.

Schaffer, Simon. “Babbage’s Intelligence: Calculating Engines and the Factory System.” Critical Inquiry 21, no. 1 (1994): 203–27.

Augusta, Ada. “Countess of Lovelace.” In Charles Babbage on the Principles and Development of the Calculator and Other Seminal Writings. Edited by Philip Morrison and Emily Morrison. Notes by the Translator on L. F. Menabrea’s Sketch of the Analytical Engine. Invented by Charles Babbage, 1842. Dover Publications, 1984, pp. 245–52 and 284. ISBN: 9780486246918.

Winter, Alison. “A Calculus of Suffering: Ada Lovelace and the Bodily Constraints on Women’s Knowledge in Early Victorian England.” In Science Incarnate: Historical Embodiments of Natural Knowledge. Edited by Christopher Lawrence and Steven Shapin. University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 202–39. ISBN: 9780226470146. [Preview with Google Books]

Film Excerpts

Conceiving Ada. Directed by Lynn Hershman-Lesson, 1997. (85 min).

Off Book: Steampunk. August, 2011. PBS. Accessed June 12, 2012. http://video.pbs.org/video/2112504568/

Total: 133 pages

4 World War Two and the Cold War: Cybernetics, Communication, and Control

Bush, Vannevar. “As We May Think.” The Atlantic Monthly 176, no. 1 (1945): 101–8. Online: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1945/07/as-we-may-think/3881/

Buy at MIT Press Wiener, Norbert. “Introduction,” “Newtonian and Bergsonian Time,” and “Computing Machines and the Nervous System.” In Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. 2nd ed. MIT Press, 1965, pp. 1–44 and 116–32. ISBN: 9780262730099. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at MIT Press Edwards, Paul. ““We Defend Every Place”: Building the Cold War World” and “Why Build Computers? The Military Role in Computer Research.” In The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. MIT Press, 1996, pp. 1–30 and 43–73. ISBN: 9780262050517. [Preview with Google Books]

Film Excerpts

Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick, 1964.

Star Wars, George Lucas, 1977.

War Games, John Badham, 1983.

Terminator, James Cameron, 1984.

Total: 130 pages

Galison, Peter. “The Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Weiner and the Cybernetic Vision.” Critical Inquiry 21, no. 1 (1994): 228–66.

Hayles, N. Katherine. “Liberal Subjectivity Imperiled: Norbert Wiener and Cybernetic Anxiety.” In How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. University of Chicago Press, 1999, pp. 84–112. ISBN: 9780226321462. [Preview with Google Books]

Pickering, Andrew. The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future. University of Chicago Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780226667898. [Preview with Google books]

Golumbia, David. “The Cultural Functions of Computation.” In The Cultural Logic of Computation. Harvard University Press, 2009, pp. 1–27. ISBN: 9780674032927. [Preview with Google Books]

Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge, 1990, pp. 149–82. ISBN: 9780415903875.

5 Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Life, Cognition, Gender

Turing, Alan. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Mind 59, no. 236 (1950): 433–60. Online: http://www.abelard.org/turpap/turpap.htm

Halberstam, Judith. “Automating Gender: Postmodern Feminism in the Age of the Intelligent Machine.” Feminist Studies 17, no. 3 (1991): 439–60.

Forsythe, Diana E. “Engineering Knowledge: The Construction of Knowledge in Artificial Intelligence.” In Studying Those Who Study Us: An Anthropologist in the World of Artificial Intelligence. Stanford University Press, 2001, pp. 35–58. ISBN: 9780804741415. [Preview with Google Books]

Desjarlias, Robert. “Cyberchess.” In Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard. University of California Press, 2011, pp. 152–83. ISBN: 9780520267398. [Preview with Google Books]

Helmreich, Stefan. “The Word for World Is Computer: Simulating Second Natures in Artificial Life.” In Growing Explanations: Historical Perspectives on Recent Science. Edited by Norton Wise. Duke University Press, 2004, pp. 275–300. ISBN: 9780822333197. [Preview with Google Books]

Film Excerpts

Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982.

AI: Artificial Intelligence, Steven Spielberg, 2001.

Total: 131 pages

Light, Jennifer. “When Computers Were Women.” Technology and Culture 40, no. 3 (1999): 455–83.

Adam, Alison. “AI in Context.” In Artificial Knowing: Gender and the Thinking Machine. Routledge, 1998, pp. 34–68. ISBN: 9780415129633. [Preview with Google Books]

Wilson, Elizabeth. “Introduction: The Machine Has No Fear.” In Affect and Artificial Intelligence. University of Washington Press, 2010, pp. 3–24. ISBN: 9780295990477.

6 Computing and Proof

Buy at MIT Press Newell, Allen, J. C. Shaw, and H. A. Simon. “Empirical Explorations with the Logic Theory Machine: A Case Study in Heuristics.” In Computers and Thought. Edited by Edward Feigenbaum and Julian Feldman. MIT Press, 1995, pp. 109–33. ISBN: 9780262560924.

Wos, Larry, and Ross Overbeek. “Open Problems Solved with the Assistance of AURA.” In Automated Theorem Proving: After 25 Years (Contemporary Mathematics). 29 vols. AMS, 1984, pp. 49–70. ISBN: 9780821850275. [Preview with Google Books]

MacKenzie, Donald. “Computing and the Cultures of Proving.” Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 363, no. 1835 (2005): 2335–50.

Tymoczko, Thomas, ed. “The Four-Color Problem and its Philosophical Significance.” In New Directions in the Philosophy of Mathematics. Princeton University Press, 1998, pp. 243–66. ISBN: 9780691034980. [Preview with Google Books]

Rosental, Claude. “Certifying Knowledge: The Sociology of a Logical Theorem in Artificial Intelligence.” American Sociological Review 68, no. 4 (2003): 623–44.

Total: 103 pages

7 Computing Counterculture: Early PCs, Hacking, Opensources, Wikiworlds

Turner, Fred. “Stewart Brand Meets the Cybernetic Counterculture.” In From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. University of Chicago Press, 2006, pp. 41–68. ISBN: 9780226817415. [Preview with Google Books]

Pfaffenberger, Bryan. “The Social Meaning of the Personal Computer: Or, Why the Personal Computer Revolution Was No Revolution.” Anthropological Quarterly 61, no. 1 (1988): 39–47.

Taylor, Paul A. “Hacking Culture.” In Hackers: Crime and the Digital Sublime. Routledge, 1999, pp. 23–42. ISBN: 9780415180726. [Preview with Google Books]

Coleman, Gabriella. “Hacker Practice: Moral Genres and the Cultural Articulation of Liberalism.” Anthropological Theory 8, no. 3 (2008): 255–77.

Kelty, Chris. “Inventing Copyleft.” In Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property: Creative Production in Legal and Cultural Perspective. Edited by Mario Biagioli, Peter Jaszi, and Martha Woodmansee. University of Chicago Press, 2011, pp. 133–48. ISBN: 9780226907093. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at MIT Press Aspray, William, ed. “File Sharing and the Music Industry.” In The Internet and American Business. Edited by Paul Ceruzzi. MIT Press, 2008, pp. 451–90. ISBN: 9780262012409.

Total: 136 pages

Jordan, Tim, and Paul A. Taylor. Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause? Routledge, 2004. ISBN: 9780415260039. [Preview with Google Books]

Wark, McKenzie. A Hacker Manifesto. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780674015432. [Preview with Google Books]

8 Computer Graphics and Simulation

Buy at MIT Press Turkle, Sherry, ed. Simulation and Its Discontents. MIT Press, 2009, pp. 3–84. ISBN: 9780262012706.

Helmreich, Stefan. “An Archaeology of Artificial Life, Underwater.” In Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life. Edited by Jessica Riskin. University of Chicago Press, 2007, pp. 321–33. ISBN: 9780226720814. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at MIT Press Wright, Richard. “Data Visualization.” In Software Studies: A Lexicon. Edited by Matthew Fuller. MIT Press, 2008, pp. 78–87. ISBN: 9780262062749. [Preview with Google Books]

Total: 106 pages

9 Social Networks, Media, and Gaming

Miller, Daniel. “Preface,” “Marriage Dun Mash Up,” “Community” and “The Invention of Fasbook.” In Tales from Facebook. Polity Press, 2011, pp. ix–xiv, 3–27 and 158–63. ISBN: 9780745652108. [Preview with Google Books]

Papacharissi, Zizi, ed. “A Networked Self.” In A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites. Routledge, 2010, pp. 304–18. ISBN: 9780415801805.

Boellstorff, Tom. “The Subject and Scope of this Inquiry” and “Personhood.” In Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Princeton University Press, 2008, pp. 3–31 and 118–50. ISBN: 9780691135281.

Buy at MIT Press Corneliussen, Hilde G., and Jill Walker Rettberg, eds. “Introduction: “Orc Professor LFG,” or Researching in Azeroth.” In Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft® Reader. MIT Press, 2008, pp. 1–15. ISBN: 9780262033701. [Preview with Google Books]

Total: 128 pages

Schleiner, Anne-Marie. Parasitic Interventions: Game Patches and Hacker Art. 1999.

Buy at MIT Press Flanagan, Mary, and Austin Booth, eds. Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture. MIT Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780262561501. [Preview with Google Books]

Nakamura, Lisa. Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. Routledge, 2002. ISBN: 9780415938365. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at MIT Press Mitchell, William J. Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. MIT Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780262134347. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at MIT Press Corneliussen, Hilde G., ed. “World of Warcraft as a Playground for Feminism.” In Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft® Reader. Edited by Jill Walker Rettberg. MIT Press, 2008, pp. 63–86. ISBN: 9780262033701. [Preview with Google Books]

Gershon, Ilana. The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media. Cornell University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780801448591.

10 Materialities of Networks and Wireless Connections

Buy at MIT Press Abbate, Janet. “Introduction” and “White Heat and Cold War: The Origins and Meanings of Packet Switching.” In Inventing the Internet. MIT Press, 1999, pp. 1–41. ISBN: 9780262011723. [Preview with Google Books]

Stephenson, Neal. “Mother Earth Mother Board: The Hacker Tourist Ventures Forth across the Wide and Wondrous Meatspace of Three Continents, Chronicling the Laying of the Longest Wire on Earth.” WIRED 4, no. 12 (1996): 1–56.

Mackenzie, Adrian. “Wirelessness as Experience of Transition.” The Fibreculture Journal, no. 13 (2008).

Gabrys, Jennifer. “Shipping and Receiving: Circuits of Disposal and the “Social Death” of Electronics.” In Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics. University of Michigan Press, 2011, pp. 74–98. ISBN: 9780472117611. [Preview with Google Books]

Total: 126 pages

Helmreich, Stefan. “Artificial Life, Inc.: Darwin and Commodity Fetishism from Santa Fe to Silicon Valley.” Science as Culture 10, no. 4 (2001): 483–504.

Sundaram, Ravi. Recycling Modernity: Pirate Electronic Cultures in India. 2001. (PDF)

11 Robots, DNA Computing, Quantum Computing, Beyond

Suchman, Lucy. “Figuring the Human in AI and Robotics” and “Demystifications and Reechantments of the Humanlike Machine.” In Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives). 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 226–58. [Preview with Google Books]

Thacker, Eugene. “Biocomputing: Is the Genome a Computer?” In Biomedia (Electronic Mediations). University of Minnesota Press, 2004, pp. 87–114. ISBN: 9780816643530.

Galchen, Rivka. “Dream Machine: The Mind-Expanding World of Quantum Computing.” The New Yorker 87, no. 11 (2011): 34–43.

Total: 69 pages

12 Class Conference (no readings)