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Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Ethan Hein

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Ethan Hein

English 7/894: Theories of Networks
Spring 2014

Instructors

  • Julia Romberger
  • Shelley Rodrigo

Course Overview

An increasing amount of scholarship in English studies focuses on the interactions between texts and other texts, people, technologies, etc. To account for these various types of relationships between different types of objects a number of theories of networks have emerged. Whether you want to study networks and/or add to the theoretical discussion, you first need to know the key theoretical discussions that help define:

  • what and/or who is a network node?
  • what types of agency are articulated for various types of nodes?
  • how are different types of nodes situated within a network?
  • what are the types and directions of relationships between nodes?
  • what happens to content or meaning as it travels through a network?
  • how do networks emerge, grow, and/or dissolve?

Some of the key theories we will be exploring include: Rhetorical Theories of Context, Physical IT Network/ing, Genre Theories, Hypertext Theory, various theories of Social/ized Networks, Ecology, and Neurology. Some key authors: Bitzer, Foucault, Spinuzzi, Latour, Castells, & Rickert.

Course Objectives

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by David R.

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by David R.

By the end of this class students will be able:

  1. Describe and analyze different elements of “networks” as defined in different theories; including (but not limited to): node, connection, agency, circumscription,  …
  2. Understand the value of visualizations for conceptualization processes.
  3. To understand the major question “why theory?”
  4. To articulate the value and limitations of the lenses particular theories provide.
  5. To articulate a theoretical framework for describing a methodology.

Syllabus

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