Prerequisite:4th year standing, or permission
This seminar aims to introduce key figures and arguments
in the area of hypermedia theory. Hypermedia theory and practice
are approached in terms of their relation to some key issues
in contemporary cultural theory: conceptions of authorship,
text, relations of word and image, theories of narrative,
metaphors of space, identity performances, reading practices,
power, the canon, production, consumption and distribution.
At the same time, consideration is given to feminist understandings
of authorship, narrative, identity, space, reading practices
etc. as gendered and raced. A significant amount of time is
devoted to viewing CD ROMs, videotapes, websites and other
visual material and these encounters are used to focus the
discussion of theoretical issues. Emphasis is placed on exploring
common strategies and themes inherent in the research and
creative work of interdisciplinary artists, technologists
and theorists working in this area, and building conceptual
tools for the critical analysis of their work. I feel that
understanding hypermedia theory will be easier for you and
that the class will be more rewarding for you if you also
have the opportunity to construct hypermedia as you develop
responses to it. Students will receive basic instruction and
access to the CAWC. You will be given the option of producing
traditional essays or hypermedia projects.
1. J. Yelowlees Douglas. The End of Books or Books Without
End? Reading Interactive Narratives. Ann Arbor: University
of Michigan Press, 2000.
2. George P. Landow.Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary
Critical Theory and Technology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
3. Essays about hypertext/hypermedia
available on our class website.
4. Hypertexts/hypermedia projects,
as assigned.The nature
of hypermedia work is that, for the most part, these works
must be read onscreen. Some of these texts will be available
online. Others can only be accessed at the Centre for Computer
Assisted Writing, 530 Scott Library.You will all be provided with accounts at the
CAWC and be given a lab orientation. We will often meet in
the lab to view and readhypermedia projects – don’t worry if you have no background
in computing, you will be given plenty of assistance. Please
take assigned hypertexts seriously – besides, they’re fun.
Storyspace mini-assignment: 5%
A very short document in Storyspace.
Dreamweaver mini-assignment: 5%
A very short document demonstrating ability to use Dreamweaver
to produce a two-page discussion of the place of images alongside
text (yes, we’ll show you how to do this!)
Seminars can’t work the way they are intended to work
if people do not do the readings.In order to reward and encourage careful reading, 20%
of your grade will be awarded to reading responses.In the reading response I would like you to record questions and responses to the readings
and hypermedia texts and engage with the arguments and claims
second week you will be required to submitan
analysis of a key text for that week.There is some potential for overlap with webct contributions (that’s
fine) but I see these responses as a more formal and careful
reading of a particular text.I know you’re all busy, so it’s up to you to select
what week you’ll be ‘on’ and what week ‘off.’Reading responses are submitted to the entire class
via webct the night before class (Thursday evenings).I anticipate that we might be able to construct
a hypertext of our responses.
Major project 40%.This will be either a formal essay or a hypermedia
project chosen in consultation with Caitlin. It can be scholarly,
critical, theoretical, creative, experimental, or all of the
proceeding and must investigate some aspect of a major theoretical
issue in relation to hypermedia. This project might take the
form of a demonstration of the ways hypermedia illuminates
theory. Conversely, it might show how theory illuminates this
new information technology or the new textuality that it produces.
I know that you will bring diverse experiences and perspectives
to this class and I amprepared to entertain any ideas you may have.
Seminar leadership10% various
Reading responses 20%every second week
In-class participation/webct 20% ongoing
Mini-exercise: Storyspace5%March 23
Mini-exercise; Dreamweaver 5%March 30
Discuss your ideas for the major project by April
Major Project40%May 4
This syllabus lays out deadlines
for assignments clearly, and you will have some flexibility
in choosing your own deadline for the seminar presentation.
If any of these dates pose a problem for you, please consult
me well in advance to negotiate a different due date.
Exceptions can be made for reasons of domestic affliction
or illness, with proper documentation; otherwise, work must
be turned in on time.
A note on participation: being
part of an intellectual community means attending class regularly
and punctually, reading thoughtfully in advance and involving
yourself in class discussions in a way that enables you and
other students to learn.
I encourage you to contact me whenever you are having trouble
with your work for this course. You should get in touch with
me whenever you have concerns about your grade. I am in my
office regularly on Friday afternoon in the Winter term, following
this class, but I realize that since you all lead busy lives,
these times may not work for you. I am available at other
times, too. The best way to ensure that I'll be around
is to set up an appointment in advance.
Seminar leadership 10%:This course will be
run as a seminar and all students will have an opportunity
to formally lead the discussion.Try to come up with provocative questions, bring in
outside material of interest (if appropriate to a given week)
and help the class to make connections with other course materials.
Give the kind of presentation you’d like to listen to others
Participation 20%: In-class (see groundrules,
Our class has been registered
with the Computer Assisted Writing Centre, located in the
Scott Library, room 530.Because so much of our class material is online, it
is important that everyone have access to basic instruction.
You will also be able to access Storyspace webs from the CAWC.
(Storyspace is a platform for hypertext – and different from
html used on the web). Being a part of the centre means that
you will be able to get hands on computing instruction in
Dreamweaver and Storyspace -- you will also be able to drop
in during library hours to work on the computers, or sign
up for additional workshops, if you like.Students must have an account for the CAWC's "Laurence"
Netware server. This account is activated through MAYA, York's
central computer account management system. Please do this
as soon as possible! If you enrolled late and LAURENCE does
not appear as an available account in MAYA, you must obtain
a signed letter of permission from me and take it along with
student identification to the advisor on duty at 530 Scott
Library or 109 Vanier. No accounts will be activated without
the signed permission form and I.D. (YorkCard, or sessional
card plus photo I.D.).
(part of your participation grade)
must register with webct. You will have an opportunity to
do this during our first session at the Centre for Computer
Assisted Writing (or on your own with MAYA).You can access webct for this class via the
main course webpage.Essentially,
webct operates like a security-protected webspace, just for
our class.In addition to finding readings available only
to the York community, webct will be used to circulate announcements,
house discussion boards and host an informal chat space. You
can also post your own webpages, if you like.In addition to the ability to provide secure access
to course materials, one of the main reasons I’ve signed up
our class for webct is to foster a sense of the intellectual
community we are building here.Iexpect you
to use webct as a space to ask questions about assigned texts,
cite passages you found particularly challenging/intriguing,
send URLs of interesting hypermedia work online, identify
a larger topic or question that you think connects different
texts;offer a critique
of one or more of the pieces, offer a reading of how these
texts construct/make legible new media, what is at stake in
these constructions? etc.Ideally, these responses not only engage the readings/hypermedia
pieces, but also other email postings. In general, they make
our time together more rigorous and focused (I go over them
carefully in order to come up with a "road map"
for the seminar). Responses can be as long or as short as
you think appropriate, but everyone must contribute at least
once every week.You
will be shown how to use webct during an introductory session
at the Computer Assisted Writing Centre.
York Students are
subject to policies regarding academic honesty as set out
by the Senate of York University and by the Faculty of Fine
Arts. Please read the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty
in the University Policies and Regulations section of the
Undergraduate Programmes Calendar.
Natalie.The Intruder. Website - Based on a story by Jorge
Luis Borges. (online)
Carole Maso Rupture,
Verge and Precipice (poem, online) Brief
Storyspace exercise due: create a Storyspace web with three kinds of links
and 10 lexias about any aspect of hypertext theory that interests
you. Include images.