Now that the fall semester is well on its way, we’d like to help stimulate your syllabus-writing brain cells by sharing this short article about a new course, Anthropology of the Internet, that just finished at the University of New Hampshire. We are also happy that Svetlana Peshkova, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UNH and instructor of this interesting new course, has agreed to share her syllabus.
The article, entitled “The Cyborg Inside Me,” describes Peshkova’s inspiration for designing this new course, which she also repeats at the beginning of her syllabus:
“One day, my son came from school and said, ‘I am going home to my village;’ he was going to his computer to play Minecraft (an online sandbox game which allows players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world). This was the day I realized my child is a cyborg. Further, when I heard his response, it became apparent to me that I am a cyborg too; in my hands I was holding a smart phone reading a text message from a friend after strolling though my Facebook page. I may not be a digital native (born into the Internet Age), but I am surely a digital immigrant. When I wake up, before I get a cup of coffee, I talk to the world online: I read the news (local and global), check my email, and see what my friends are up to and so forth. And the morning is just a start of my daily online life, so much so that when I do not have access to the Internet, I feel like I am not a complete person. I lack a part of my self… my digital self. Do you know what I am talking about? Do you have such feelings? Many of us live in physical and cyber space at the same time, surrounded by the environment that is both off and online. And since our identities are delicate mechanisms developed though interaction with the environment, we should not only use cyberspace but also study its social and individual effects.”
Note: The version that we have posted was still a work in progress when we received it, so things may have changed slightly, but we’re definitely looking forward to finding out how the course went this summer, if it will be offered again soon, and how things might change for future offerings.
If you have suggestions for other resources or readings for a course on the Internet or a related topic, please use the comment box below or send us a Tweet.
Many thanks to Dr. Peshkova for sharing her syllabus!