Urban Media Archaeology: the Fourth and Final Dig


This semester I’m teaching Urban Media Archaeology for the fourth — and probably final — time (the embedded link takes you to our class website). UMA has been one of the most cohesive, stimulating, boundary-pushing, rewarding — and challenging and time-intensive — courses I’ve ever taught. I’m particularly grateful that I’ve been able to work with the spectacular Rory Solomon for all four years. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from him, and he’s become a fabulous — and, I hope, long-lasting — friend.

We’ll be kicking off the semester once again with a “walking tour of the Internet” with Tubes author Andrew Blum (I wrote about this annual ritual in my recent “Infrastructural Tourism” article). Then, as in past semesters, we’ll talk about media archaeology, urban archaeology, and digital humanities. This year I’m pleased to be able to use excerpts from Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp’s 2012 Digital_Humanities book from MIT Press. Then in October we’ll be taking part in a media archaeology panel discussion, organized by my friend and colleague Kate Eichhorn; she’s invited Jussi Parikka, Lisa Gitelman, and me to participate.

We’ll also spend a couple weeks talking about critical cartography. Then we’ll work with the students to develop spatial data models; Rory and I have evolved our teaching tools and techniques for this lesson — which is always a challenge — over the years, and we have tentative plans to co-author an article on data-modeling in the humanities to reflect what weve learned about the students’ learning. After modeling our data, we’ll have our mid-semester Pecha Kucha — with guest critics Anne Balsamo, Joseph Heathcott, and Jane Pirone — and we’ll do some paper prototyping.

In the final third of the semester, as the students are concretizing their “cartographic arguments,” another good friend and colleague, Nicole Starosielski, will join us from NYU to talk about her own process of developing a geographic/cartographic argument about undersea cables for her forthcoming book and interactive project, Surfacing. After that, we’ll close out the semester with a few tech workshops and one-on-one consultations, followed by final presentations.

Here’s to a fun and productive final semester of UMA!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *