My Exam Reading Lists for Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media

Books for Exam Reading LIst
Being a full-time Ph.D. student and dad has limited the amount of blogging I’ve been able to do recently. This spring, I finished my two years of class work in the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media Program, and am now moving into taking exams in the fall and then writing the dissertation.

This summer I put together my committee and, with them, collaboratively constructed my exam reading list. This process was made somewhat challenging because my program is both interdisciplinary and usually focused on contemporary issues, which means it is difficult to base any list on past lists created by other scholars. However, the other thing that became clear to me is that there are very few people who have shared their reading lists.

For those reasons, I’ve decided to share my own lists, with a shortened description that omits the actual work I will likely be doing for my dissertation.

Exam 1: Deleuze and Guattari: Data, Information, and Signs

This list represents a focused reading on the works of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari related to the concepts of data, information, and signs. In addition to primary sources from each author, the list contains the work of those who influenced the authors (Simondon) and later work influenced by the authors (Faucher, Iliadis, Lazzarato).

Primary Texts:
1. Chaitin, Gregory (2001). Exploring Randomness.
2. Chaitin, Gregory (1999). The Unknowable.
3. Deleuze, Gilles (1994 [1968]). Difference and Repetition.
4. Deleuze, Gilles (1988 [1970]), Spinoza: Practical Philosophy.
5. Deleuze, Gilles (1990 [1968], Expressionism in Philosophy
6. Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari (1987 [1980]), A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
7. Deleuze, Gilles. (1995). “Postscript on control societies”, In Negotiations (M. Joughin, Trans., pp. 169-176). Columbia University Press.
8. Guattari, Felix (2009). Schizoanalytic Cartographies.
9. Guattari, Felix. (1996). “Ritornellos as Existential Affects”. In G. Genosko (ed.), The Guattari Reader.
10. Guattari, Felix. (1996) “Semiological Subjection, Semiotic Enslavement”. In G. Genosko (ed.), The Guattari Reader.
11. Guattari, Felix. (1996) “The Place of the Signifier in the Institution”. In G. Genosko (ed.), The Guattari Reader.

Supplemental Texts:
1. Day, Ronald, and Andrew Lau. (2010). “Psychoanalysis as Critique in the Works of Freud, Lacan, and Deleuze and Guattari”. In Critical Theory for Library and Information Science: Exploring the Social from Across the Disciplines, edited by Gloria Leckie, Lisa Given, and John Buschman. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.
2. Debaise, Didier. (2012). “What is Relational Thinking?” INFLeXions No. 5.
3. Dyer-Witherford, Nick (2010). “Antonio Negri on Information, Empire, and Commonwealth”. In Critical Theory for Library and Information Science: Exploring the Social from Across the Disciplines, edited by Gloria Leckie, Lisa Given, and John Buschman. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.
4. Faucher, Kane. (2013). Metastasis and Metastability: A Deleuzian Approach to Information. Rotterdamn/Boston/Taipei: Sense Publishers.
5. Genosko, Gary. (2014). Information and Asignification. Footprint.
6. Genosko, Gary. (2008). “A-signifying Semiotics”. The Public Journal of Semiotic, Vol 2: 1.
7. Guattari, Felix. (2008 [1986]). Molecular Revolution in Brazil.
8. Guattari, Felix (2008 [1989]). Three Ecologies.
9. Hansen, Mark. (2015). Feed-Forward: On the Future of Twenty-First-Century Media.
10. Hayward, Mark and Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan. (2012). “Introduction: Catching Up with Simondon.” SubStance. 41(3): 3-15.
11. Iliadis, Andrew (2013). ‘A New Individuation: Deleuze’s Simondon Connection’. MediaTropes eJournal.
12. Iliadis, Andrew (2013). ‘Informational Ontology: The Meaning of Gilbert Simondon’s Concept of Individuation’. Communication +1 2 (September).
13. Langlois, Ganaele (2011). Meaning, Semiotechnologies, and Participatory Media. In Culture Machine.
14. Lazzarato, Maurizio, Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e).
15. Scott, David (2014). Gilbert Simondon’s Psychic and Collective Individuation.
16. Terranova, Tiziana (2006). The Concept of Information. In Theory, Culture & Society.

Exam 2: A Genealogy of Critical Apparatuses to Data & Networks

Equipped with a new conceptual understanding of information, I consider the ways that archeological and genealogical approaches to networks and data can be leveraged to create new opportunities for political intervention. In other words, how can a thorough understanding and analysis of the development of a particular medium help one better understand the ways in which it may be leveraged in the future? Such an approach necessitates a familiarity with current approaches to both media archeology and network politics.

I will begin by approaching networks from a media archeology perspective that investigates the ways that networks and other digital media are constructed. This emphasis on the material and visceral aspects of networks will serve to highlight the nature of and possibilities for the assemblages of machines and networks with the so-called human. This approach will be particularly useful for understanding the nature of such media and the affordances they offer for resistance.

Networks have created new opportunities for both control and resistance. While much of the academic work has focused exclusively on identifying and critiquing these methods of capture and control (Andrejevic 2002a, 2002b; Galloway and Thacker; Bratich; Thorburn; French), some scholars are beginning to imagine the ways that networks can be used for resistance and affirmation (Stiegler 2015). Increasingly surveillance scholarship is beginning to address the challenges of big data from the perspectives of both privacy and power (Andrejevic 2013; Andrejevic and Gates 2014; boyd and Crawford; Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier). A strong understanding of this surveillance scholarship, especially as it applies to big data, will be vital to the network politics portion of my project. In particular, I am interested in new opportunities afforded by the creation and analysis of big data.

Media Archeology:
Primary Texts:
1. Brunton, Finn. (2013). Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet.
2. Kirschenbaum, Matthew. (2012). Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. MIT Press.
3. Parikka, Jussi. (2012). What Is Media Archeology?
4. Starosielski, Nicole. (2015). The Undersea Network. Duke University Press.
5. Stiegler, Bernard. Technics and Time 1. Stanford University Press.
6. Stiegler, Bernard. Technics and Time 2. Stanford University Press.
7. Stiegler, Bernard. Technics and Time 3. Stanford University Press.

Supplemental Texts:
1. Chun, Wendy (2011). “On Sourcery and Source Codes” in Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. MIT Press.
2. Ernst, Wolfgang (2012). Digital Memory and the Archive. University of Minnesota Press.
3. Fuller, Matthew. (2007). Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture. MIT Press.
4. Montfort, Nick and Ian Bogost. (2009). “Stella” in Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. MIT Press.
5. Gitelman, Lisa. (2008). “New Media Bodies” in Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture. MIT Press.

Network Politics:
Primary Texts:
1. Andrejevic, Mark (2013). Infoglut: How Too Much Information Is Changing the Way We Think and Know. New York and London: Routledge.
2. Genosko, Gary (2013). When Technocultures Collide: The Struggle for Autonomy
3. Clough, Patricia T. (2008). The Affective turn: Political economy, biomedia and bodies. Theory Culture Society, Vol. 25(1): 1–22.
4. Dyer-Witheford, Nick. (1999). Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Struggles in High Technology Capitalism.
5. Galloway, A. and Thacker, E. (2007). The Exploit: A Theory of Networks. U. Minnesota Press.
6. Pasquinelli, Matteo. (2014). “Italian Operaismo and the Information Machine,” Theory, Culture & Society.
7. Seigworth, Jeremy and Matthew Tiessen. (2012). “Mobile Affects, Open Secrets, and Global Illiquidity: Pockets, Pools, and Plasma,” Theory, Culture, Society.

Supplemental Texts:
1. Amoore, Louise (2014). “Security and the Incalculable.” Security Dialogue. 45(5): 423-439.
2. Andrejevic, Mark, and Kelly Gates. 2014. ‘Big Data Surveillance: Introduction.’ Surveillance & Society. 12(2): 185-196.
3. Boler, Megan (2008). Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times.
4. boyd, danah, and Kate Crawford (2012). ‘CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR BIG DATA’. Information, Communication & Society 15 (5): 662–79. doi:10.1080/1369118x.2012.678878.
5. Celis, Claudio. 2015. ‘The Machinic Temporality of Metadata.’ tripleC 13(1).
6. Dyer-Witheford, Nick (2002). Global Body, Global Brain/Global Factory, Global War: Revolt of the Value-Subjects. In The Commoner.
7. French, Martin. (2014). “Gaps in the gaze: Informatic practice and the work of public health surveillance.” In Surveillance and Society. Vol 12: No 2.
8. Mayer-Schonberger, Viktor and Cukier, Kenneth (2013). Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think.
9. Packer, Jeremy and Joshua Reeves. (2013). “Romancing the Drone: Military Desire and Anthrophobia from SAGE to Swarm.” Canadian Journal of Communication. 38(3): 309-332.
10. Pasquinelli, Matteo (ed.) (2015). Alleys of Your Mind: Augmented Intelligence and Its Traumas. Meson Press.
11. Peters, Michael (2011). Cognitive Capitalism, Education, and Digital Labor.
12. Pugliese, Joseph. (2013). “Technologies of extraterritorialisation, statist visuality and irregular migrants and refugees,” Griffith Law Review 22(3): 571-597.
13. Stiegler, Bernard (2013). The Most precious good in the era of social technologies. In Geert Lovink and Miriam Rasch (Eds.), Unlike us: Social media monopolies and their alternatives. INC Reader #8. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.
14. Stiegler, Bernard (2015). States of Shock.
15. Terranova, Tiziana (2004). Three Propositions on Informational Cultures. Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age. London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press
16. Toscano, Alberto (2007). Vital Strategies: Maurizio Lazzarato and the Metaphysics of Contemporary Capitalism. Theory Culture Society 24(6): 71–91.

Exam 3: Poststructuralist/Posthuman Media Theory

The texts selected for this list represent approaches to media from a poststructuralist perspective. This perspective represents applied conversations in which I plan to participate as a scholar (Savat, Poster), as well as affirmative critical theory (Braidotti). These methods will inform the approach I take in discussing applied questions related to big data and help shape my specialization in this particular type of discussion surrounding media theory. For example, I hope to extend the work done by Savat and Poster using a Deleuzian framework for technology by incorporating a larger extent of Deleuze’s oeuvre into the discussion. Although Deleuzian notions such as assemblage and the body without organs are used frequently in media scholarship, there remains great potential for not only exploring media through additional Deleuzian concepts such as information, but also combining a Deleuzian and Foucauldian approach. A firm grounding in poststructuralist media theory allows me to understand the fundamentals of such an approach, become familiar with the types of work already being done, and finally, offers me the opportunity to expand such work.

In addition to the poststructuralist methodology, I have also included some of the related work on posthumanism that connects most closely with my own project (Braidotti, Hayles). Hayles’ posthumanist work in particular connects closely to my definitional work on information, because she argues that it is a dualistic understanding of the nature of information that drives the common understanding of posthumanism. Braidotti later extends Hayles’ call for a materialist and embodied version of posthumanism.

Poststructuralist Methods and Examples:

Primary Texts:
1. Foucault, Michel. (1972). The Archaeology of Knowledge. New York: Pantheon. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
2. Foucault, Michel. (1977). “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” In Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews.
3. Foucault, Michel. (2014). On the Government of the Living: Lectures at the College de France, 1979-1980. Palgrave Macmillan.
4. Foucault, Michel. (2005). The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France, 1981-1982. Palgrave Macmillan.
5. Foucault, Michel. (2011). The Courage of Truth (The Government of Self and Others II): Lectures at the College de France 1983-1984. Palgrave Macmillan.
6. Foucault, Michel. (1997 [1982]). Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth (Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Vol. 1. The New Press.
7. Kittler, Friedrich. (1990). Discourse Networks 1800/1900. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Supplemental Texts:
1. Agamben, Giorgio (2009). “What Is an Apparatus?
2. Bennett, Tony. (1998). “Cultural Studies: The Foucault Effect”. In Culture–A Reformer’s Science.
3. Bratich, Jack. (2006). “Nothing Is Left Alone for Too Long: Reality Programming and Control Society Subjects,” Journal of Communication Inquiry 2006; 30; 65
4. Bratich, Jack. (2005). “Amassing the Multitude: Revisiting Early Audience Studies,” Communication Theory 15:3 pp. 242–265.
5. Daston, Lorraine and Gallison, Peter. (2007). “Mechanical Objectivity” and “Representation to Presentation” from Objectivity, Zone 2007.
6. Deleuze, Gilles. (1992). “What is a Dispositif?” in Michel Foucault: Philosopher, Routledge.
7. Deleuze, Gilles. (1986). Foucault. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
8. Foucault, Michel. (1988). History of Sexuality, Vol 3: The Care of the Self. Random House USA.
9. Foucault, Michel. (2010). The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979. Palgrave Macmillan.
10. Franklin, Seb (2012). Cloud control, or the network as medium. Cultural Politics 8(3): 443-464.
11. Galison, Peter. (1994). “The Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Wiener and the Cybernetic Vision,” Critical Inquiry, Vol. 21, No. 1. (Autumn, 1994), pp. 228-266.
12. Galison, Peter. “Removing Knowledge,” Critical Inquiry 31 (Autumn 2004): pp. 229-243.
13. Kittler, Friedrich. (1996). “The History of Communication Media” CTheory.
14. Kittler, Friedrich (2009). Optical Media. Polity Press.
15. Kittler, Friedrich (1999 [1986]). Gramophone/ Film/Typewriter.
16. Packer, Jeremy (2012). The Conditions of media’s possibility: A Foucauldian approach to media history. The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies
17. Poster, Mark, and David Savat (Eds.) (2009). Deleuze and New Technology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
18. Savat, David (2013). Uncoding the Digital: Technology, Subjectivity, and Action in the Control Society. Palgrave-Macmillan.

Primary Texts:
1. Braidotti, Rosi (2013). The Posthuman. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
2. Braidotti, Rosi (2012) Nomadic Theory: The Portable Rosi Braidotti. Columbia University Press.
3. Braidotti, Rosi (1994). Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. Columbia University Press.
4. Hayles, Katherine (1999). How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Supplemental Texts:

1. Barad, Karen. (2003). “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28(3): 801-31.
2. Braidotti, Rosi (2002). Metaporphoses: Toward a Materialist Theory of Becoming. Blackwell Publishing.
3. De Boever, Arne, Alex Murray, Jon Roffe, and Ashley Woordward, eds. (2013). Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology. United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.
4. Dyer-Witherford, Nick (2009). “Twenty-First Century Species-Being.” Presented at the Sixth Annual Marx and Philosophy Conference, 6, June. Institute of Education, University of London.
5. Haraway, Donna. (1991). “A Cyborg Manifesto: science, technology and socialist feminism in the late twentieth century.”
6. Hayles, Katherine (2005). My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
7. Hayles, N. Katherine. 2004. “Flesh and Metal: Reconfiguring the Mindbody in Virtual Environments”. In Data Made Flesh: Embodying Information, edited by Phillip Thurtle and Robert Mitchell, Kindle. London and New York: Routledge.
8. Hayles, N. Katherine (2013). “Radio-Frequency Identification: Human Agency and Meaning in Information-Intensive Environments”. In Ulrik Ekman (Ed.), Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
9. Lenoir, Tim (2013). Contemplating singularity. In Ulrik Ekman (Ed.), Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing.Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
10. Oizumi, Masafumi, Larissa Albantakis, and Giulio Tononi. (2014). “From the Phenomenology to the Mechanisms of Consciousness: Integrated Information Theory 3.0.” PLOS Computational Biology. 10(5): 1-25.

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