Renmin University of China
Lectures and discussions
(1) Attendance and participation 20%
(2) midterm and final exam: written essay questions 80%
Take Bergman worked as a journalist in the Netherlands before he attained a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include journalism and media industries. He has presented papers at international conferences, and has published articles in leading academic journals and also a book on Dutch journalism. He is an assistant professor at Renmin University of China.
The internet has quickly become a central feature of many societies all over the globe. This course examines issues pertaining to the internet and its influence on the United States, the birthplace of the internet. The course discusses technology’s (perceived) influence on society and vice versa, and other selected issues, including the relationships between the internet and the environment, the internet’s historical development, its commercial nature, internet policy, online culture, social networks and search engines, and the future of the internet.
Session 1: Introduction: Technology and the West: Utopias & Dystopias. Discusses views on technology in Western societies employing the terms technological determinism, social construction of technology and affordances. Discusses the birth and historical development of the internet in the US and different views on that history.
Session 2: Internet’s Influence on Society – and Vice Versa: Discusses the debate on the internet in the US, in other words the hopes of what the internet would bring society and assesses to what extent these hopes have materialized; raises the issue of the influence of society on the internet and discusses the main factors that influence the internet, including American capitalism. Also discussed are the (possible) effects of the internet as a technology on users, including shortening of attention span.
Session 3: Internet and environment: Highlights the material nature of the “virtual” internet, its cables and servers and data centers; questions whether the internet really is the clean technology it is portrayed to be; Examines the influence of the internet on journalism in the US; raises the possibility that the internet has led to a worsening and narrowing of the quality of news.
Session 4: Internet culture: vapid and rude? Discusses why so much content on the internet is superficial, and why people often behave rudely on the internet; midterm.
Session 5: Internet advertising, commercialism and propaganda; tracks American government’s efforts to use the internet as a propaganda tool; discusses the changed nature of advertising online versus traditional advertising; questions the efficacy of advertising online; more broadly speaking, it discusses the consequences of the commercial nature of the internet.
Session 6: Social communities and networks: tracks the rise of Facebook and other social network sites and discusses their business model and the characteristics of social networks: discusses the rise of Google and its monopoly position in the search engine market.
Session 7: Internet policy: Examines American internet policy, including digital copyright, and the relationships between the internet and US politics.
Session 8: Discusses the future of the internet, including the so-called ‘internet of things’; final exam.
“History of the Internet.” New Media Institute.《互联网历史》
“Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth.” Amanda Schaffer. 2015. MIT Technology Review.
The Digital Elephant in the Room. Robert W. McChesney.
Does the Internet Make You Smarter? Clay Shirky. 2010. Wall Street Journal.
Does the Internet Make You Dumber? Nicholas Carr. 2010. Wall Street Journal.
Watch: “What the Internet is doing to Our Brains.”
“Is Digital Media Worse for the Environment Than Print?” Don Carli. 2010.
“Revealed: The Environmental Impact of Google Searches.” Jonathan Leake and Richard Woods. 2009. The Sunday Times.
“Google Details, and Defends, Its Use of Electricity.” James Glanz. 2011. New York Times.
“Power, Pollution, and the Internet.” James Glanz. 2012. New York Times.
“In America, only the rich can afford to write about poverty.” Barbara Ehrenreich. 2015. The Guardian.
“A Bit of Good News About Journalism.” John Cassidy. 2014. New Yorker.
“Rise of 'citizen journalists' hasn't eliminated the need for professional journalists.” Ted Diadiun. 2013.
“The power and the danger of online crowds.” James Surowieck. 2005. TED.
“The Future of Journalism.” Ted Rosenstiel. TEDx.
“Top Ten Things That Broke The Internet.” Samantha Grossman. 2014. Time.
“Anonymity and Toxic Internet Culture.” CG. 2015. Model View Culture.
“I’ve Come to Hate So Much of the Internet.” Francisco Dao. 2013. pando.com.
“Why We Are So Rude Online.” Elizabeth Bernstein. 2012. Wall Street Journal.
“Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse.” Nancy Jo Sales. 2015. Vanity Fair.
“When online shaming spirals out of control.” Jon Ronson. 2015. TED.
“The Internet’s Original Sin.” Ethan Zuckerman. 20154. The Atlantic.
“What Happened to Silicon Values?” Bill Davidow. 2012. The Atlantic.
“The new open-source economics.” Yochai Benkler. 2005. TED.
“Online advertising vs traditional advertising.” Whitehat Agency. 2014.
“Future of digital advertising: consumers and advertisers need a new deal.” Jed Hallam. 2015. The Guardian.
“A Dangerous Question: Does Internet Advertising Work at All?” Derek Thompson. 2014. The Atlantic.
“Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media.” Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain. 2011. The Guardian.
“US Military Admits Spending Millions to Study Manipulation of Social Media.” 2014. Washington’s Blog.
“How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy.” Maria Konnikova. 2013. New Yorker.
“Mark Zuckerberg’s Theory of Privacy.” Michael Zimmer. 2014. Washington Post.
“The new power of collaboration.” Howard Rheingold. 2005. TED.
“How the Internet Enables Intimacy.” Stefana Broadbent. TED.
“Right to be Forgotten: Swiss Cheese Internet, or Database of Ruin?” Julia Powles. 2015. The Guardian.
“Where is Google Taking Us?” Tim Adams. 2015. The Guardian.
“Google dominates search. But the real problem is its monopoly on data.” 2015. The Guardian.
“Net Neutrality Takes Effect Today. Here’s How It Affects You.” Brian Fung. 2015. Washington Post.
“Everything Wrong with Digital Copyright (And How to Fix It).” Kyle Wagner. 2013. Gizmodo.
“The Shrinking Digital Divide.” Michael Kende. 2015. TechCrunch.
“Google’s Search Algorithm Could Steal the Presidency.” Adam Rogers. 2015. Wired.