Readings not freely available online are available in a password-protect, zipped course packet. I will give out the password in class on day 1.

Unit 1: Inscription

Monday, January 9: External Characters

Read (in class):

Thursday, January 12: Writing Technologies

Important Note: Meet at the MFA’s group entrance (in the back)

Lab 1: MFA Visit


Monday, January 16: No class for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Thursday, January 19: Orality and Literacy

Lab 2: Markdown


  • Octavia Butler, “Speech Sounds”
  • James Gleick, The Information, preface-chapter 2

Monday, January 23: Manuscript

Lab 3: Simulating the Scriptorium



Thursday, January 26: The Information

Code 2a: Introduction to R
Note: Please install RStudio on your computer before class. On some systems, this also requires you to install R itself. Please attempt this early in the week so that I can help you if anything goes awry. We’ll be using this program throughout the semester so it’s important that we get it up and running early. If you do not have access to a laptop, please let me know as soon as possible so we can develop a plan for you to complete your coding work.


  • James Gleick, The Information to end
  • Read carefully chapters chapters 3-6, 11, 14-epilogue
  • Browse thoughtfully chapter 7
  • Browse normally chapters 8-10, 12-13

Unit 2: Mediation

Monday, January 30: Media Messages

Code 2b: Exploring textual data


Thursday, February 2: Codexical Logic

Important Note: Meet in the NU Archives and Special Collections

Lab 4: Thinking with the Codex


Monday, February 6: Vivifying Media

Due: Dead Media Poster Presentations

Thursday, February 9: Snow Day, it turns out.

Monday, February 13: Into the Matrix

Lab 5a: Preparing to Print

Note: Meet today in Holmes 400B!!



Thursday, February 16: Typecasting

Note: Meet today in Holmes 400B!!

Lab 5b: Composing



Monday, February 20: No class for President’s Day

Thursday, February 23: Media and Moral Panic

Note: Meet today in Holmes 400B!!

Lab 6a: Setting the forms


  1. “On Novel Reading” (from The Guardian; or Youth’s Religious Instructor, 1820)
  2. “Devouring Books” (from the American Annals of Education, 1835)
  3. M.M. Backus, “Novel Writers and Publishers” (from Christian Parlor Magazine, 1844)

## Monday, February 27: Deascensioned

Lab 7: Book Traces


Thursday, March 2: Obsolescence

Note: Meet today in Holmes 400B!!

Lab 6b: Pulling the Press!



Friday, March 3

Due: Unessay #1

Spring Break

Unit 3: Read/Write

Monday, March 13:

**Note: Meet today in Holmes 400B!!*

Finishing Lab 6: Printing Up Loose Ends


Thursday, March 16: Information Overload

Lab 7a: A (Re)Introduction to R


Monday, March 20:

Lab 7b: Distant Reading


Thursday, March 23: Machine Writing

Lab 8: Building a Bot


+ Stephen Ramsay and Geoffrey Rockwell, “Writing as Programming as Writing”

Monday, March 27: Viral Media

Lab 9: Into the Meme Pool


+ “The Great Moon Hoax”
1. Read this introduction at Victorian Gothic,
2. Browse the original newspaper articles at the Museum of Hoaxes, and finally
3. Read days 4-6 closely

Unit 4: Recall

Thursday, March 30: An Index of All Knowledge

Lab 10a: Wikipedian Norms


Monday, April 3: Crowd Sourcing

Lab 10b: Drafting History’s Future

+ Brian Keegan, “The News on Wikipedia in 2014”
+ Gender Bias on Wikipedia

Thursday, April 6: Becoming Wikipedian

Lab 10c: Contributing to Wikipedia

Prof. Cordell away for Rhode Island Humanities Festival. No reading today; get started with Station Eleven for next week!

Monday, April 10


  • Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven (to the end of section 4, page 164)

Thursday, April 13


Monday, April 17

** Due: Unessay 2**