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334 Course Schedule

Please note that the schedule below will change according to the needs of the course and its participants. If you must miss a class meeting, please make sure to contact someone from the course to verify what happened and where we are in the schedule. (If Teams is working, you may feel free to post there. Conversely, if you are checking Teams and you see someone has asked about something in class, please answer their question.)

First Steps

In the first two weeks of the semester, we meet only once a week, please use that time to purchase the course textbooks either from the university bookstore or from your preferred vendor.

January 11. Course Overview. On the first day of the course we go over all the usual course dimensions, reviewing the syllabus as we do so. There will also be some preliminary introductions of participants, and, should the moment arise, a brief discussion about the nature of texts.

January 18. “Culture” and “Folklore”. There are a lot of definitions of culture and folklore out “there.” In this class, we discuss some of them and begin to build a useful synthesis of those terms, the first of many, on which we can all rely.

Assigned: Participants are divided into two groups, each group focused on one of the two terms. Each participant is responsible for collecting one definition from the kinds of sources discussed in class — so, yes, googling “what is culture?” is going to be ruled low effort / low reward. Each entry should be 25-100 words in length and should be accompanied by a citation as well as a brief rationale (another 25-100 words) that explains why it is a viable or useful definition. Each of these items should appear as a separate block in the document you bring to class and/or share with others. (Please bring at least two copies: one to turn in and at least one to share with peers.) Please also post just the definition in one of the two threads in the general channel of the Teams, er, team before 17:00 the evening before class.

The Internet of Small (Cultural) Things

Changes in Speaking and Writing

January 23. How We Write. Read: “Informal Writing” in McCulloch.

Assignment: record one minute of video of two or more people talking in a public place, making sure that they are far enough away that you can’t hear what they are saying. Watch the video later and describe what you think the participants were talking about. (50-100 words)

January 25. How We “Chat”. Read: “How Conversations Change” in McCulloch.

It’s People Who String Words into Sentence-y Things

January 30. Read: “Language and Society” in McCulloch.

February 1. Read: “Internet People” in McCulloch.

Not Enough Exclamations & “Are You Mad at Me?”

February 6. Read “Typographical Tone of Voice” in McCulloch.

February 8. Read “Emoji and Other Internet Gestures” in McCulloch.

It’s Memes All the Way Down

February 13. Read: “Memes and Internet Culture” in McCulloch.

February 15. Meme projects due.

There are no class meetings during Mardi Gras break. Enjoy!

The Internet of Bigger Cultural Things

Rumors, Legends, Conspiracies

February 27.

Tucker, Elizabeth. 2020. The Girl Who Hid: Campus Rumors and Legends of the Spring of 2020. Contemporary Legend Series 3, Volume 10 73-84. URL.

March 1.

Shahsavari S, Holur P, Wang T, Tangherlini TR, Roychowdhury V. 2020. Conspiracy in the time of corona: automatic detection of emerging COVID-19 conspiracy theories in social media and the news. Journal of Computational Social Science 3(2):279-317. doi: 10.1007/s42001-020-00086-5. PMID: 33134595; PMCID: PMC7591696. URL.


March 6.

March 8.


March 13.

March 15.


March 20.

March 22.


Course Projects

March 27.

March 29.

April 3.

April 5.

Enjoy your spring break.

April 17 & 19. The penultimate week of the course is set aside for revising of text and images for and production of posters.

April 24 & 26. Poster presentations.