Extra Credit Opportunities

Hi folks – here’s two extra credit opportunities:

First Extra Credit Opportunity:

The Level Up event (hosted by library-being held in JC Cinema) on Wednesday, April 22nd between 3-5 p.m (free food to follow). After you attend the event, you can just post a short response to any of the lectures/discussions here.

The featured topics for this event are:

Small group dynamics in an on-line gaming perspective, from a perspective of participant, by Chris Magee – Library Assistant, GMU Libraries

Mii, Myself, and I(dentities), by Kristin Scott – GMU Graduate Student, Cultural Studies

“Gameplay experience may change during online play” by Chris Wren – Assistant Professor, GMU College of Visual and Performing Arts

Second Extra Credit Opportunity:

Write about the film, Lawnmower Man, that we just finished watching in class. You can take any approach, as long as you provide an analysis of the film (using whatever framework or theories we’ve discussed in class).


Response Assignment #8

Congratulations, folks – you have reached the end of the online blogging responses! 🙂 Since we’ve talked so much about gender/sex in the past couple of weeks, I’m skipping to the last readings on the syllabus, which focus more on globalization and east/west issues of cyberculture. Please have the readings and the blog response done by next Monday, April 18th.

  • Barwell, Graham and Kate Bowles. “Border Crossings: The Internet and the Dislocation of Citizenship” (CR 702-711).
  • Stratton, Jon. “Cyberspace and the Globalization of Culture,” (CR 721-731).
  • Sardar, Ziauddin. “Alt.Civilizations.Faq: Cyberspace as the Darker Side of the West,” (CR 732-752).

For this blog response, I want you to clearly and effectively EXPLAIN (not summarize) the MAIN THESIS or ARGUMENT of two of the articles above and how each of your two chosen authors either effectively or ineffectively support their arguments. So if it helps, think of this as an EXTENDED annotated bibliography that you are creating, in your own words, but with the added analysis of the effectiveness of each author’s main argument, supported by examples. You cannot merely pick a sentence early in the article (such as so and so argues that we are online more than ever before); you must identify the reason why this article was written – the THESIS of the article. Is it effectively argued? Why or why not?

Also – see your last wiki assignment.

Response Assignment # 7

For next week, April 5th, please read:

  • Branwyn, Gareth. “Compu-Sex: Erotica for Cybernauts” (CR 396-402).
  • Alapack, Richard, Mathilde Flydal Blichfeldt, and Aake Elden. (2005). “Flirting on the Internet and the Hickey: AHermeneutic,” CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 52-61 (sent to you via email).
  • A Rape in Cyberspace” by Julian Dibbell

For this week’s blog response, I want you to adopt or confront one of the primary arguments from any one of the authors above and explore that argument with thoughtful analysis, examples (your own or found examples), and support your position with textual evidence found within at least one of the other articles or an outside source. So – you may begin by saying that you agree or disagree with this or that argument that so and so makes, but rather than simply inserting quotes by that author (as so and so says – quote), make YOUR OWN argument – in YOUR OWN WORDS. Use quotes to help support your position (rather than leaning on the quotes to speak for you). Why do you agree or disagree with the claim being made? What moments in your own experiences and passages in other readings helps to support your position? Since these articles are a few years old, one approach you could take is to update the argument (perhaps you do not agree with something because you think certain things have changed – if so, what? why? how?). Or perhaps you think that a certain argument is even more powerfully made now, with the update of internet text to more interactive environments (like Second Life, video chatting, and so forth).

For next week, March 30th, we only have one reading, but I want you to read it carefully:

  • Bowler, Alexia L. “eXistenZ and the spectre of gender in the cyber-generation.” New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 5, no. 2 (April 2007): 99-114. (Available on EBSCO – GMU library; also sent via email).

No blog response is due, though if you want extra credit, I will accept thoughtful, analytical responses to this article (and how you see these concepts playing out already in eXistenZ or other films you’ve seen in the past). I will expect substantial in-class conversation when we discuss the film and this article, so please be sure to read it thoroughly.

See the class wiki assignment on producing your group digital ethnographic research project proposals, due March 30th.

Response Assignment # 6

For March 23rd, please read the following:

  • Oehlert, Mark. “From Captain America to Wolverine: Cyborgs in Comic Books: Alternative Images of Cybernetic Heroes and Villains” (CR 112-123)
  • Pyle, Forest. “Making Cyborgs, Making Humans: Of Terminators and Blade Runners” (CR 124-137).
  • Landsberg, Alison. “Prosthetic Memory: Total Recall and Blade Runner” (CR 190-201)

For this week’s blog response, I want you to focus on how any of the concepts brought up within the readings reflect your own experiences (with film, television, advertising, comics or any other popular media). After your readings, do you see films in a different light? How so? Be sure to explain. Can you locate a connection between an issue or problem brought up in the readings and any particular television show or film you’ve seen?  Did you agree or disagree with any particular argument made? Why or why not? You don’t have to stick to any of these questions, these are just guides. I’m mostly interested in seeing how you think any of the articles’ arguments or discussions reflect your own experiences with popular culture.

Response Assignment #5

Next week, instead of holding class (on March 2nd), I will be holding virtual midterm advising meetings next week. If you were not in class to sign up for one of the scheduled days, please email me ASAP!

However, you DO still have readings and a blog assignment, which is due by Monday, March 16th. We will discuss these readings when we return from Spring Break on March 16th.


For Monday, March 16th, please read the following:

  • Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” (CR 291-324).
  • Lupton, Deborah. “The Embodied Computer/User” (CR 477-488).
  • Kenyon, Samuel. “Would You Still Love Me if I was a Robot?” Journal of Evolution and Technology – Vol. 19 Issue 1 – September 2008 – pgs 17-27 (sent to you last week via email).
  • Dvorsky, George. “Better Living Through Transhumanism,” Journal of Evolution and Technology – Vol. 19 Issue 1 – September 2008 – pgs 62-66 (sent to you last week via email).
  • González, Jennifer. “Envisioning Cyborg Bodies” (CR 540-551).
  • Stelarc. “From Psycho-Body to Cyber-Systems: Images as Post-human Entities” (CR 560-576).
  • Llewelyn, Gwenyth. “Immersionism and Augmentationism Revisited” – Thanks to Iggy O. for the article suggestion! 🙂 (EXTRA CREDIT – if you post a thoughtful response to this article on Llewelyn’s blog (please put your first name and last initial, so I’ll recognize you when I go back to check on her blog).

For this blog response, you must address at least four of the six authors’ works. You can either consider some of the following questions, as you attempt to integrate the different perspectives offered of the cybernetic/cyborg body in this week’s readings OR you can find a common theme, concern, problem, or argument that you would like to address (on your own, not guided by the questions below). Your blog response must provide an analysis of the texts, not merely a summary of your understanding of what the authors are saying. The following questions are meant to be guides – from which you are encouraged to diverge and upon which you should expand:

  1. What challenges do these (and other previously read) scholars pose to the postmodern notion that cyberspace enables flight from all of the physical limits and boundaries of the body? Be sure to offer several examples and provide an analysis of the materials and how they agree/disagree with one another.
  2. After considering your readings, do you believe that it is possible to leave one’s body behind when entering cyberspace? Why or why not? What effective arguments do the authors make to support your conclusion? Be sure to offer several examples, quotes, and provide an analysis of the materials.
  3. How do the authors describe our relationship to our bodies in the postmodern era? What are some of the possibilities? What are some of the concerns? How do your own thoughts/experiences coincide or contradict with the authors you are discussing?
  4. In these (and many other) readings, the words “identity,” “embodiment,” “subjectivity,” and “gender” are frequently utilized. Discuss your understanding of each of these terms as they relate to issues of the cybernetic/cyborg body and support your understanding of each term by engaging three or more of our assigned texts with analysis. Be sure to offer several examples and quotes.
  5. According to the authors, how does genders and/or race inform our online identities? How might gender or race reflect our cyberspace identity role choices? And most significantly, how do our real life bodies either reflect or inform our cyberspace identities? Be sure to offer several examples, quotes, and provide an analysis of the authors you choose to discuss.
  6. According to the authors, does the postmodern subject have an essential core (gendered) identity? Why or why not? In what way might the subject (with or without an essential core gendered identity) inform or reflect our internet personae? And in what ways might our real life bodies and/or subjectivities be complicated by our online bodies and/or subjectivities (or lack thereof)? Be sure to offer several examples, quotes, and provide an analysis of the materials.

Response Assignment # 4

For next week, please read/watch the following for February 24th – blog response is due by class start time on the 24th:

This week, I want you to do something different for the blog response. Rather than responding to a set of questions, I want you to pick out one particular issue or concept from each article that you found to be interesting or compelling and discuss how this issue/concept relates to your own experiences in Second Life and/or other virtual environments or with gaming, if applicable. Be careful, however, not to focus so much on your own experiences that you lose sight of the text. You MUST consistently refer back to the readings, either to help support an argument or point you are trying to make or explaining how a particular argument/issue is NOT adequately addressing your own experiences. Be sure to also address BOTH articles.

EXTRA CREDIT: If you want/need extra credit, discuss your thoughts on the film we saw in class and how you think the plot, the issues it raises, the ethical/moral dilemas it presents, or the aesthetic treatment of virtual reality technologies parallels or challenges any of the readings or discussions we’ve had thus far.