Thursday, April 5, 2012

Final Project Proposal

Scott Sauter
Professor Johns

1. Bowden, Mark. Worm: the first digital world war. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011. Print.
This book chronicles the Conficker virus, and the diligent team of specialists who worked to stop it from potentially bringing down the Internet altogether. I plan on using it to examine the implications of an extremely connected, yet disembodied  world.
Danielewski, Mark Z.. Mark Z. Danielewski's House of leaves. 2nd ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 2000. Print.
This book will be utilized to examine the “infinite space within limited space” paradox presented through its story. This paradox will be further used as a paradigm through which to consider the implications of the Internet on modernity.
Dreyfus, Hubert L.. On the internet. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.
This book will be heavily utilized as source material for discussion of disembodied interaction. The chapter on “Disembodied Telepresence” will be the primary chapter I plan to draw discussion from. 
Haraway, Donna Jeanne. "AN IRONIC DREAM OF A COMMON LANGUAGE FOR WOMEN IN THE INTEGRATED CIRCUIT." A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-feminism in the Late Twentieth Century. New York: Routledge, 1991. 149-81. Print.
This essay will be used as a means through which to examine effects of computer technology on the self. With the constant ability, or necessity, to be “online” in our modern era, how has our self-image been effected as human beings? What are the implications of being perpetually reliant on computers to be effective members of society?
Huff, Toby E.. The rise of early modern science: Islam, China, and the West. 1. publ. ed. Cambridge u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993. Print.
This book will be used to examine technological evolution up until the Internet, with close attention paid to global society functioned prior to its development. This, in-turn, will illustrate the Internet’s grip on modernity.
Marcuse, Herbert. One-dimensional man; studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964. Print.
Marcuse’s discussion of an industrialized, capitalist society will be utilized in discussion of current economics, and their implications for a global, interconnected economy. Specific attention will be given to Chapter 1 and its discussion of “forms of control” (Marcuse).
Steger, Manfred B.. Globalization: a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.
This book will provide a metaphoric keystone for my project. Its discussion of the global state of society will universalize discussion of the Internet’s ability to “globalize” communication. 
2. a. In a world intrinsically tied to both computer technology, capitalism, and disembodied connectedness, human beings are forced to reevaluate the role they play within society. No longer is the human race restricted by its physical world, but by the paradox created through the Internet. As humans are becoming less and less bound to their physical selves, and yet increasingly dependent on the Internet, how are our senses of self effected? Does the concept of infinite information, goods, and entertainment being made available through finite machines (computers) bother us in the same way a house with infinite space bother the characters of Danielewski’s House of Leaves
b. The Internet and computer technology, while groundbreaking, are merely the newest technology. With all new technology, there follows a period in which the general populous is wary, even a bit frightened by it. This, however, has occurred with every new advancement of modern technology, as evidenced by Toby E. Huff’s, The Rise of Early Modern Science. Our current zeitgeist, and its seeming uneasiness with the concept of disembodied communication provided by the Internet is merely reflective of this trend, not an exception to it.
3. “The technological processes of mechanization and standardization might release individual energy into a yet uncharted realm of freedom beyond necessity. The very structure of human existence would be altered; the individual would be liberated from the work world's imposing upon him alien needs and alien possibilities.” (Chapter 1 Marcuse). 
I plan on drawing parallels between this specific passage and the invention of the Internet, as well as globalization as a whole. The Internet provides one with “freedom beyond necessity” in that it removes the need for a fully functional physical body (Marcuse). Our, “very structure of human existence” has, in fact, been dramatically changed as we are free to communicate visually and audibly with anyone on the Internet at any time (Marcuse). No longer are we reliant on tangible interaction, but on the very machines (computers) making it obsolete. 

1 comment:

Adam said...

There's nothing not to like about your *general* topic. Exploring the space opened up by the combined experiences of globalization and the internet is interesting, and I'm happy to see you historicizing it through paying some attention to the history of science. So nothing here is a problem...

The problem, rather, lies in the enormous *scale* of this exploration. This isn't an argument, nor is a theme suitable for an essay - it's a theme suitable for a career which spans multiple books.

I think you understand this problem, to some extent (is that why you beginning with the source re: the virus?). But for this to work, you need to discuss a subset of a subset of what you're laying out here: you need to focus on a *specific* instance of the conjunction of the internet and globalization.