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Course Description

History of Media and Technology addresses the mutually influential histories of communications media and technological development, focusing on the shift from analog to digital cultures that began mid-century and continues to the present. The approach the series takes to the study of media and technology is a multifaceted one that includes theoretical and philosophical works, histories canonical and minority, literature and art, as well as hands-on production issues toward the advancement of student projects and research papers. Each course in the series reflects a particular thematic in the history of media and technology.

Eternal War asks whether war has historically been a progressive factor in relation to the development of new technologies and media systems. It uses documents by contemporary war theorists and historians, novelists, and theorists of technology and warfare and engages various media including film, gaming and news.

Required Texts

Amazon logo Orwell, George. 1984. New York, NY: Signet classics. Reissue edition, May 1, 1961. ISBN: 9780451524935.

Amazon logo Manuel, DeLanda. War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. New York, NY: Zone Books, December 26, 1991. ISBN: 9780942299755.

All other course readings in CMS.876 course reader (Note: course reader is not available to OCW users).

Course Requirements

  • Regular class and lab attendance
  • Class participation, including one class presentation and bi-weekly reading responses (2-3 pages)
  • One mid-term abstract of final paper/project
  • One research 20-25 page paper or media project with accompanying explanation (5 pages)


activities percentages
Class Participation (Class Presentation) 20%
Written Assignments (Weekly Reading Responses) 30%
Final Paper or Projects 50%

Structure of Each Class

Class time will consist of discussion of assigned readings. There will be time in the beginning of each class for seminar participants to communicate new information on media, books, etc. germane to the subject of the seminar.


Lab time will be spent primarily on media such as film and television representation of the seminar subject. Lab time will also provide a more casual context for further discussion of issues raised in seminar.

Final Projects/Papers

One 20-25 page research paper or media project with accompanying explanation (5 pages). Seminar participants may work solo or with a group on the final projects. Due two days after session 12. (Media projects must be ready to be shown in class by one day before session 11; final edits or versions are due two days after session 12.)

Mid-term abstract or diagram of project with bibliography or media sources due in session 7. (Mid-term meeting regarding final projects is recommended.)