The postwar period is of great interest for recent media theorists and historians. Both our moment and the immediate postwar era faced the threat of species extinction, new leaps in computing power, the invention of institutions for monitoring and managing the environment, an ontological flattening between humans, machines, animals, and objects, and ongoing unsettlements in gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity. This course examines the postwar moment of cybernetic excitement and strain, including such media as bombs, bugging devices, computers, film, hi-fi, hydrophones, radio, tape, and TV, such themes as archival abundance, decryption, inter-species communication, mind control, planet management, and such writers as Arendt, Heidegger, McLuhan, Nabokov, Wiener, in addition to more recent scholars working on the postwar period. Each student will write a substantial original research paper on a relevant topic.
Also FILM 652.