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Archived: Bookshelves to Big Data: Archaeologies of Knowledge

Graduate elective

‚ÄúThere has been more information produced in the last 30 years than during the previous 5000.‚ÄĚ

We‚Äôve¬†all¬†heard some variation on this¬†maxim. As we find ourselves wading through a billion websites; as publishers¬†supply over two million books to the world‚Äôs libraries each year; as we¬†continue to add new media ‚Äď from¬†apps to geo-tagged maps ‚Äď to our everyday¬†media repertoires, we continually search for new ways to navigate¬†this¬†ever more treacherous sea of information. Meanwhile, our analog audio-visual¬†archives are deteriorating,¬†and our ever-volatile digital media and data sets¬†present their own preservation challenges. Throughout human¬†history we¬†have relied on various institutions and politico-intellectual architectures to¬†organize, index, preserve,¬†make sense of, and facilitate or control access¬†to our stores of knowledge, our assemblages of media, our¬†collections of¬†information. This seminar looks at the past, present, and future of our¬†archives, libraries, and data¬†repositories, and considers what logics,¬†politics, audiences, contents, aesthetics, physical forms, etc., define them.¬†We will examine what roles these collections play in a variety of¬†contexts: in democracy, in education, in socio-cultural heritage, in everyday¬†life, and in art. Throughout the semester we‚Äôll examine myriad analog¬†and digital¬†artworks that make use of archival/library material, or take¬†the archive, library, or data repository as their¬†subject. Some classes¬†will involve field trips and guest speakers. Students will have the option of¬†completing a¬†substantial traditional research project, or a research-based,¬†theoretically-informed creative/production project¬†for the class.

Fall 2016 Website
See also Archives, Libraries & Databases (previous version of the course: 2011-2014)