Monday, January 14, 2008

January Open Thread

January open thread for comments and questions about the book.


Drew M. Loewe said...

Just finished your book. I believe it is important and useful for moving beyond the screen, so to speak.

What would you say, at a minimum, are the "essentials" for those trained in, say, English departments and teaching undergraduates, to know about new media to teach, theorize, and assess it?

And, what are your top recommended sources for such knowledge (besides, of course, Mechanisms?

Think in terms of well-meaning but Johnny-come-lately interest in really taking "new media" seriously, especially in first- and second-year rhetoric and writing courses.

Think also in terms of not just theory but also nitty-gritty core knowledge such as your accessible explanation of how hard drives work.


Drew M. Loewe

Matt said...

Hi Drew,

Thanks for the comments (and for breaking the ice).

The single best recommendation I think I can offer is Charles Petzold's Code:

There's also good stuff, including "nitty gritty" on how databases work, etc. in Blackwell's Companion to Digital Humanities (pricey, but available online in its entirety for free):

Finally, I'd say keep an eye on the new wave of books being published under the rubrics of software studies, platform studies, and critical code studies. All of these "movements" (if you will) are deeply invested in the materiality of computation as it shapes and informs new media. Look for Matthew Fuller's Software Studies reader, out this spring from MIT, as well as Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost's forthcoming book (also MIT) on the Atari 2600. A little further down the road, Noah Wardrip-Fruin's Expressive Processing (MIT again), which he's currently posting in draft over on the GrandTextAuto blog for review.

If Mechanisms makes a partial contribution alongside of these other works, then I'll be very pleased.

Let me also recommend my brief "Hamlet.doc" essay, published this past summer in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Last note: the way you phrased your question, I think you're interested in more than "just" a reading list. So let me turn the question back to the blog: what does one need to know about new media in order to teach it?

Drew M. Loewe said...


Many thanks for the response and for the resources. I look forward to chewing on the question you ask about what one must know about new media to teach it and to seeing others' responses to it.