Spring 2020

ENG-L 646, Readings in Media, Literacy, and Culture

Course Dates: 1/13/2020 - 5/8/2020

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Course Description

As computer technology (speed and power) unfolded in the late 20th century, it opened a new avenue of digital storytelling. Interactive digital narratives (IDN) offer unexpected, challenging (and sometimes frustrating) ways of creating a story, increasingly blurring the line between author, reader and gameplayer (or "interactor," to use Janet Murray's term). This semester, we will explore the history of interactive, digital and multiform stories as well as emergent theories on how to understand and relate to this new literary form. What are common underlying features to these forms? What tensions exist between game and story? Where do they fit in the literary/literacy landscape? What approaches to reading these works are most useful? And how do IDNs challenge our traditional notions of literature and literacy? We'll explore this emerging landscape and along the way, play/read/explore numerous digital narratives of all stripes! I hope you will do so with an open and adventurous mind and a sense of exploration!

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

Learning Materials

Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths

Hayles, Print is Flat, Code is Deep

Bouchardon, Towards a Tension-Based Definition of Digital Literature

Barthes, The Death of the Author

Rettberg, The American Hypertext Novel, and Whatever Became of it?

Ryan, From Parallel Universes to Possible Worlds

We will also be reading/playing through a wide variety of digital/online works such as J.R. Carpenter's The Pleasure of the Coast; Campbell's These Memories Won't Last and Tender Claws' Pry.


Discussion Forums: 30%
Twine Story: 15%
Short Essay: 20%
Final Project: 35%
Total: 100%