questions to guide your peer review

  1. Does the paper have a title, thesis and blueprint along the lines of what we’ve discussed in class?
  2. Does this paper have a compelling thesis/blueprint?
  3. Is it clearly and logically organized from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to paragraph?
  4. Are all claims well supported with outside evidence, quotes etc.?
  5. Does it avoid making general claims about all humans, people, society, time, space, place, technology, children, adults, etc.?
  6. Does the paper cite appropriate, scholarly sources?
  7. Is the paper clearly and artfully written?

small group discussion questions on Tzara and Moure

  1. What’s at stake in Tristan Tzara’s poem? What is he advocating for?
  2. Now take a look at the first computer generated poem by Erin Mouré that I had you read for homework – how is the Tzara poem different from this?
    1. To what extent does a work have to be created with a particular intention in order to be called art? Is randomly generated poetry “poetry” proper?
    2. Does the means by which the poem has been created (scraps of paper versus a computer program) make any difference? Does it change the meaning or significance of the work?
    3. Are you able to glean meaning from the Mouré poems?
    4. Is there a way to see these poems as just as meaningful as poems that have been carefully crafted, with the author having a clear intention for each word?

small group work questions on “Twelve Blue”

  1. How does the text attempt to be “of” the web rather than of print or of the book?
  2. How is the text exploring the unique affordances of the hypertext link?
  3. How does the text attempt to depart from print-based assumptions about what constitutes a text, an author, a reader?
  4. What is the text about? Can you provide a reading of it? If you cannot interpret it in the same way you would a print-based text, how do you interpret this text?
  5. If the text is trying to explore what a truly born-digital literary work could be, what is an appropriate interpretative response that is also born-digital?

small group work on cyberfeminism

  1. Quickly review the notes you just took on my lecture introducing you to the work of Donna Haraway.
  2. Reread this quote from the entry on “Cyberfeminism”:  “‘Cyberspace does not exist in a vacuum; it is intimately connected to numerous real-world institutions and systems that thrive on gender separation and hierarchy’; cyberfeminism, accordingly, should be a political undertaking committed to creating and maintaining real and virtual places for women in regard to new technologies—such as creating new feminist platforms and resources, including hands-on techno-education for women and working directly with code—while also critically assessing the “impact of new technologies on the lives of women and the insidious gendering of technoculture in everyday life” (108).
  3. Now, I’d like you to pick a specific digital media platform or piece of software and try to remagine it as a specifically feminist platform or piece of software. For example, what would a feminist word processor look like? A feminist videogame? A feminist D2L? A feminist search engine? The point here is to think as far outside of the current status quo as possible in order to imagine what could be possible.


in class work on politics, new media, and hacking

Politics and New Media

  1. Why and how (in what specific ways) do people tend to think that the Internet provides the possibility of undermining traditional political institutions, hierarchies, and power relations? Looking back on what we’ve learned so far in class, how do social network sites seem to support this belief and how do they undermine this belief?
  2. What is communicative capitalism and how does it express a skepticism toward the possibility of the power of networks (and, by implication, social networks) to bring about any kind of meaningful social change?
  3. Tactical media use “shifts the aim of politics away from traditional revolutionary aims into a ‘micropolitics of disruption, intervention, and education.'” Go to and choose one tactical media project to look at. Then, discuss the project in terms of the previous quote.
  4. And finally, what exactly does the author mean by this sentence: “Early notions that the abstract geometry of cyberspace would allow an escape from binary structures and the concrete constraints of power (Haraway 1991) have been challenged by a recognition of the integration of cyberspace and everyday life.” Can you come up with some examples to support what Hands is saying here?


  1. What is a hacker? (just to spell out the obvious: the definition is in the reading)
  2. Given this definition, come up with a way in which you have hacked something, some system, whether computer-based or not.
  3. Who are the heirs of hackers?
  4. What’s the distinction between a hacker who’s a builder and a hacker who’s a breaker?
  5. What is UNIX? Speculate about why it attracts hackers. Also, why are hackers who work on UNIX said to be part of “a recursive public”?

how to do literary research

  1. What is the difference between a primary source and a secondary source? Should a research paper include primary sources, secondary sources, or both?
  2. What is an example of a nonacademic source and what do you use these nonacademic sources for?
  3. What is the difference between a library catalog and a database? Name some databases relevant to our class.
  4. What is the difference between Chinook and Prospector and Interlibrary Loan?
  5. What is the difference between subject word searching and keyword searching?
  6. What does “peer reviewed article” mean and why do you want to include these sources in your papers?
  7. Which literature-related databases are full text? What IS “full text”? Which database is the most complete and extensive for doing literary research?
  8. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “and” serve?
  9. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “or” serve?
  10. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “not” serve?
  11. When you’re doing an advanced search, what function does the Boolean operator “*” or “?” serve?
  12. When evaluating a source for a research project, what aspects of the source should you consider?
  13. What do you need to do to conduct research on your computer at home/off-campus?

in class discussion questions on John Battelle

  1. What is a “database of intentions” and why does Battelle use this phrase to describe Google?
  2. How is searching “material culture”? What is material about our internet searches?
  3. How do you think search will rewire the relationship between us and the government? Has this already happened since the publication of The Search in 2005? How has searching rewired the relationship between public and private?
  4. Do some research (online of course!) on the Turing Test. How is this test relevant to the future of search?
  5. What does Battelle mean that “on the internet…all intent is commercial in one way or another”? (30) Give an example.