Skip to content

Undergrad class on Media Archeology I am offering at Duke, Spring 2011. Poster and Syllabus to come.

November 3, 2011

In the system, my name is registered as Ai Ling Lee instead of Clarissa Ai Ling Lee, even if I am the latter in almost everything.


Spring 2012

LIT20S-03: Media Archeology: Space, Time and Technics

MF 2:50PM-4:05PM

West Duke 08A

Graduate Instructor: Clarissa Ai Ling Lee

Class Attributes: ALP, STS, CCI, CZ, W


From clay tablets and the stylus to word-processors and voice-recognition software; from Kythera, the ancient Greek computer, to today’s high-processing computers; from magic lanterns to digital films/videos; pottery/conches to IPods, mediation is more than what we see on our electronic screen, and media archaeology allows us to dig into both our known and less visible past to discover practices and histories of knowledge creation, archaeology, and transmissions that forms and transforms our civilization. In this course, we will discover that what we consider as disciplines and knowledge subjects are not bounded and constrained by artificially enforced delimitations. We will look at what media means within media studies as it exists today and also at how media has always been present and in constant evolution with civilization from Sumer, Babylon to current nation-states. We will also look at what media means to different groups of people across different civilizations and different knowledge traditions, exploring that demarcation between the east and West. We will learn that the history of art, history of the book, history of informational sciences, history of music and the moving image, and that of scientific instruments are all significant contributors to the history of the technology of media. We will then tie it all with the question of what constitutes the practices of ethics in media and what are the ways in which such questions are pursued.

In this course, we will be reading selections from books such as Deep Time in New Media by Siegfried Zielinski, Media Archaeology co-edited by Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka, Optical Media by Friedrich Kittler, New Media, Old Media edited by Wendy Chun, and Ghost in the Turing Machine. At the same time, we will look at some essays by Gilbert Simondon, Michel Serres, Deleuze and Guattari, Michel Foucault, Lorraine Daston, Bruno Latour, Steven Shapin and Harry Collins, and some articles from the Leonardo Journal.

In addition, the class will have the opportunity to examine counter-culture worlds such as the culture of tinkering, hacking, phreaking, electronics and radio hamming, look at the development of communications technology as that ties in with the history of scientific objects, the pre-history of the internet and the culture of gaming, and developments of animated film/cartoons/comics from the magic lantern/zoopraxiscope to 3D simulation. The class will have a chance to look at special exhibits in relation to the class, relevant films, and also a selection of speculative and science fiction stories that use media archeology, in the broad sense of the word, as tableau, plot and objects of narration. Where relevant, will also attend related seminars or special events as part of class work.

Students are encouraged to come up with their own research project, that can include writing a long essay or writing a short essay to accompany a media object of their own creation, as an outcome of their learning process.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: