0. Prologue
1 Introduction and preliminaries. What are media? What is a book? Spend 1 hour reading in a library to which you have never been before. (Some advice on reading from MIT.)
1. How to Read a Book
2-3 In class: Introduction to book handling (half-class in Special Collections) Practice active and quick reading.
5. McLuhan Medium is the Message – Textual Ephemera
10–11 In class: Letters from the MIT Archives Identify as many of the images in Medium is the Message as you can
10. Kirschenbaum – Cloud Atlas
19-20 In class: Digital literature and legacy computing workshop Play Zork and other narrative games

Position papers

Two position papers, each 1,000 words in length, are required for this course. Due on your choice of two out of three dates: Session 5, Session 9, and /or Session 13. The position papers should be a critical analysis of one or more of our texts or objects. They also must incorporate theoretical readings in some capacity. 


A revision of either of the 2 position papers. This paper must show significant elaboration and revision of the original draft, incorporating new material and increasing in length to at least 1,500 words. Students should aim for approximately 50% new prose. Due four days after Session 18.

Special Collections Project

The Special Collections assignment is a critical analysis of an object of your choice from MIT's library collections. Initial findings will be presented in class on Session 18. A blog post with accompanying research report will be due two days after Session 23.

Example student project - "Alchemy at MIT."

Final Examination

The final exam is open book, to be taken ex camera with signature of honor code. The long essay question will be distributed on Session 24 and will consist of 2 of 3 passages for identification and discussion.