Guiding Questions

  • What limitations are placed on speech in the US post 9/11?
  • How do speech rights in the US compare to those abroad
  • How are speech rights affected by more unstable environments, when central communication grids go down (post disaster or political instability?)
  • What is the meaning of cultural resistance?
  • What is the meaning of civic media
  • What platforms, strategies or resources exist to overcome limitations to speech, and what can we contribute?

Projects for Inspiration

  • Between the Bars: Human Stories from Prison
  • Telephone Trottoire: a phone & radio based platform for political discussion amongst the Congolese diaspora
  • VozMob: Mobile Voices, a mobile platform for immigrant communities in LA to document their experiences

8.31:  Corporate and Political Hegemony

Political power of social media and counterpoint, how technology can be used for both liberation and control, i.e. BART shutdown, London facebook arrests Introduce class structure & requirements

  1. Weekly readings w/blogged responses
  2. Three projects w/3 presentations (or one project presented in 3 stages): 9.28 re speech rights, 11.22 re performative aspect of speech, 12.14 final re collective, networked aspect of speech
  3. Contribute at least one entry of a tactic or strategy that you feel facilitates speech to the database
  4. Attend and blog about at least one outside lecture

Example Projects

  • Mark Tribes Huron Project
  • Code Pink’s Condi Rice Tour
  • Jenny Holtzer’s Freedom of Information
  • Amelia Marzec’s Signal Strength
  • Nadav Ahrony’s Comm.unity

Discuss Readings

Newspaper Theater: cross reading of BART & London Protest / FaceBook articles Assignment: think about what you would like to do for your first project, by yourself or in a group. It should concern making people aware of limitations in speech rights at home, on line or internationally. Due Wed 9.28, for presentation in class.

9.7  Free as in Beer: speech rights in a digital world

Guest Speaker: 1st Amendment lawyer Paul Cambria, on changes to speech rights in the US post 9/11, with the anti terrorism lawsDiscuss Reading:

Check in on projects

9.14. Cute Cats and Civil Society

Change happens through discussion, not just communication

Guest Speaker (Skype): Ethan Zuckerman, new director of MIT’s Civic Media Lab, Director of Global Voices

Discuss Readings:

9.21  Civic Media: tools that can facilitate discussion

Guest Speaker: Chris Csikszentmihalyi (Computing Culture Group, MIT Media Lab)

Guest Speaker: Gabriella Coleman (NYU)

Discuss Readings:

9.28  First Project Presentation and Critique


Guiding Questions:

  • What forms of resistance begin with the body? How is protest a form of performance? A form of speech?
  • What is the meaning of ethical spectacle? How can activists use spectacle to their advantage?
  • What is the meaning of urban intervention? How does the public commons shape speech, and how does intervening in that forum change the parameters of how speech is delivered or received?

Projects for Inspiration

10.5  It begins with the Body

The Visceral: Image Theater, Flash Mobs, Invisible Theater

Guests: S. Leigh Thompson and Alex Santiago Jirau from the Forum Project for Exercises in Image Theater (Augusto Boal)

Discuss Readings:

10.12     Cultural Resistance: Hamas vs. Hamoq

Hamas = positive, directed anger, i.e. Egypt Hamoq = negative, uncontrolled anger, i.e. London

Guest Speaker: Steve Duncombe, author of Dream: Reimagining Progressive Politics in the Age of Fantasy

Discuss Readings:

10.13. Mobility Shifts Conference:  Civic Media & Activism in Palestine & Boston, Nitin Sawhney & Chris Csikszentmihalyi, Thu Oct 13th 4:30 – 6:30, 66 W 12 St. rm 510

10.16    Mobility Shifts Conference: Juliana Rotich and Beth Coleman on Ushahidi: Sun Oct 16 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Theresa Lange Center, 55 W13th St. 2nd floor  

10.19     Ethical Spectacle and Performativity

Billboard Correction: Speech as Intervention in Public Space. Guest: Jordan Seiler

Illegal Billboards
Public Ad Campaign

Discuss Readings:

10.26 Interventionists and Detournement

Politics is as much fantasy as reality, Shop Dropping, Guerrilla Projection

Guest Speaker: Skype session w/Sasha Constanza-Chock from MIT, creator of VozMob & OWS Research

Discuss Readings: Excerpts from the Interventionists 

11.2 Second Project Critique 

III. The Power of Networks: Speech and Collective Action

Guiding Questions

  • What technical systems or networks can be created to enable communication?
  • Once communication is established, what systems/ networks can be made to facilitate discussion that leverages change?
  • And that then allows for dissent?

Projects for Inspiration

11.9 Power from the Bottom Up
Mesh networks & collective action: Feed Ins, Feast Dinners, Anonymous, DoS

Guest speaker: Amelia Marzec discussing her cell phone mesh network project Signal Strength

Discuss Readings

** Thu 11.10 5:00 – 6:30 Required Lecture outside of Class: Gabriella Coleman 6 E16th St. room 1200. Please attend and blog a response.

11.16     Hardware in the Field: How grad students are rebuilding the internet in Afghanistan Networked Strategies for Resistance: Speech2Tweet, Proxy Servers and Tor Bridges

Discuss Readings:

Supplemental reading on what FabFi is here, more about the Jalalabad network here, and the FabFi blog, a great resource for how design thinking is being applied to the project in real time.

11.23     Thanksgiving Holiday, enjoy!  

11.30     Check in on Final Projects  

12.7        Work on Final Projects  

12.14     Final Critique

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