ENGLIT 2522: Literacy, Rhetoric, Computer Code (Spring 2014)

Instructor: Annette Vee

This course takes up the recent turn toward computer code as an object of study in the humanities, as exemplified in the fields of digital humanities, digital media, software studies and critical code studies. This turn toward code in the humanities is driven by the recognition that computer code is slipping into domains once dominated by text. That is, much of our communication and information is now filtered through software running on our computers, phones and tablets. Code propels our modern literacy practice: reading PDFs and writing essays, watching and making videos, taking and editing photos. Looking at computer code through the lenses of literacy and rhetoric, in this course we will ask: What can writing mean and do now that it includes not just text, sound, image, and animation but also *code*? Helping us to explore this question will be theoretical work by Kittler, Chun, Bogost, Manovich, Kirschenbaum, Hayles, Knuth, Galloway and Marino, as well as hands-on practice with digital composition. No previous technical knowledge is required, but students will be expected to play games, blog, and code digital compositions of their own design. Both textual and computational compositions are welcome as final projects.