Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Writing in a Digital Culture

ENGL 010.901
T 5-8:50


How do we tell a story using emoji? If a novel is published on Tumblr, does it still count as a novel? Can Twitter bots write poetry? How do we read literature that looks like more like art than like text? And—importantly—where is the text in new media platforms? Although traditional methods of writing and publishing persist, digital cultures have forced us to change our habits of reading and writing. This course investigates the diverse ways literary practices have responded to and are shaped by the everyday language of media authoring tools and formats such as Instagram, Snapchat, iPads, mp3s, and Flash. Students will confront the technological demands placed on prose and poetry and explore how contemporary writers redefine the literary in the Internet age. Readings from figures such as Wendy Chun, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Friedrich Kittler, Caroline Bergvall, Stephanie Strickland, Tan Lin, Lisa Gitelman, Lori Emerson, and Marshall McLuhan will provide essential frames for engaging literature in the twenty-first century. We will workshop new media practices through weekly creative assignments and group Canvas responses to explore how language, form, and genre migrate across and adapt to different media. By the end of the course, students will have an online portfolio of creative writing in addition to the critical skills necessary to read and analyze contemporary literature. Previous knowledge of new media is not required.

fulfills requirements