About Intercultural ExtraneityThis page addresses:
- Site description
- Course objectives
- Exam information
- Course material
- Weekly videos
- Forum link
This site is titled “intercultural extraneity” to take issue with the claim that intercultural “competence” is something to be possessed once and for all, or simply downloaded. The “extraneous” is the extra work we need to do to try to comprehend a (continually changing) situation. Hans-Georg Gadamer explains this as the effort that goes into understanding something apart from ourselves (2004: 371) and Clifford Geertz observes that “Cultural analysis is intrinsically incomplete … to get somewhere with the matter at hand is to intensify the suspicion, both your own and that of others, that you are not quite getting it right” (1973: 322). As the culture of today is intercultural: characterized by the interaction of multiple cultures, both global and epistemic, how we think we understand everything will reveal whether we have understood anything (Suzuki 1970).
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- Critically analyze, evaluate, relate, and synthesize the sometimes competing views and expressions of American, global, and digital culture and where they intersect;
- Cultivate digital literacy;
- Develop contextual and historical awareness;
- Demonstrate enough knowledge of the subject matter to raise meaningful questions effectively;
- Gather and evaluate relevant and credible sources;
- Engender good intercultural communication skills in various projects and across networks;
- Understand the role of rhetoric and its influence in promoting stereotypes;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the definition and consequences of plagiarism and uphold academic honesty;
- Improve self-knowledge and self-direction through working with others in a networked, intercultural setting.
You are required to be conversant in all of the material covered this semester – which was the advantage of doing exercises over the course of the semester, to practice engagement with the course material and topics so as to commit them to memory as well as gain experience in their use.
You are not required to remember everything but to be able to respond meaningfully to a prompt/question like the one that was discussed, practised, and reviewed in December.
When you plan to take the exam, it will be necessary to write an email confirming this in order to be sure there are enough invigilators present: please state clearly in your email the year and semester of the exam you will be taking.
Grades were updated on 21/1 at 21:13. If your grade should have been but was not updated, please write a clear and concise email indicating this. Grades have not been finalized, please do not panic.
Notice regarding grades, posted 20/12 at 17:30:
Please read the following before sending an email. Any emails sent before these notes were published will not receive a reply, so resend your email if the notes do not cover your question.
As stated multiple times throughout December during the practice assignment in preparation for the finals, work is expected to follow the instructions. Work submitted that did not and that further brought into question the integrity of group work submitted earlier by not being up to the same standard, rather than being a fail grade, got a lower grade in a few cases. Note especially the remarks about referencing a variety of course material. By contrast, if work carefully followed the instructions and was far better than previous work, in a few cases, grades were improved. Students should not be punished for improving.
A very small number of students were given a 3 instead of their grade as it is necessary for them to submit proof of work.
It is possible that a mistake was made with a few of the grades; there are a lot of students and many components to mark. If you have considered these notes carefully and think that your mark is not accurate, please write a clear, concise email stating your case. Above all, do not panic: the grades will be on display for a few days before being finalized.
Final work that passed will be published to the site by the beginning of next term. Congratulations on producing so much good work.
Wishing you all the very best in the new year!
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Course material:Please note that you are responsible for downloading course material when the course is in session. Materials may no longer be available once the semester has ended due to site maintenance.
- Week 1: Virtual community, 21st C skills
- Week 2: Context/content
- Week 3: Privacy/agency
- Week 4: Social dilemma
- Week 5: Our virtual community garden
- Week 6: Social networks: communication, collapse
- Week 7: Social networks: bias & media literacies
- Week 8: Participatory action research
- Week 9: Relating & making (cultural) sense
- Week 10: Dialogue 1
- Week 11: Dialogue 2
- Week 12: Wrapping up for the holidays
Week 1: Virtual community, 21st C skills
- Postman, N. (1990). Informing ourselves to death. Open Mind e1095, archive.org. Online video resource.
- Chua, S. (2013). Mapping what I’m learning. sachachua.blog. Online text. Note: mindmaps can become multimedia where they include a combination of words and images and links to other media.
- Engelbart, D. (1962). Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. Stanford Research Institute, 1-41.Online text.
- Licklider, J. C. R., & R. W. Taylor. (1968). The computer as a communication device, Science and Technology, April, 1968. Republished in SRC Research Report 61, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1990. (Starts on Page 21 of the PDF). Online PDF with thanks to Howard Rheingold.
- Rheingold, H. (1985). Tools for thought. howardrheingold.com. Online book.
- Turner, F. Where the counterculture met the new economy: the WELL and the origins of virtual community, Technology and Culture, 46.3, July 2005, 485-512. Online PDF with thanks to Howard Rheingold.
Week 2: Context/content
- Carr, N. (2020). From context collapse to content collapse. Rough Type. Online text.
- Hurst, M. (2020) Snapchat and content collapse. Creative Good. Online text.
- Hurst, M. (2020). The not so candid cameras. The Culture Crush. Online text.
- Vitak, J. The impact of context collapse and privacy on social network site disclosures. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56, 451-470. Online PDF.
Week 3: Privacy/agency
- Doctorow, C. (2012). The curious case of internet privacy. Technology Review. Online text.
- Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: the fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. New York: Public Affairs. Reviewed by Carr, N. (2019). Thieves of experience: how Google and Fabcebook corrupted capitalism. LARB. Online text.
- Cyphers, B. and Doctorow, C. A legislative path to an inoperable internet. EFF.org. Online text.
- Bruder, J. & Maharidge, D. (2020). Surveillance capitalism and the internet of things. LitHub. Online text.
- Galloway, S. (2019). WeWTF. No Mercy/No Malice. Online text.
- Magnusson, G. (2020). How Silicon Valley will solve the trolley problem. magnusson.io. Online text.
- Mangalindan, J. P. (2015). In Silicon Valley, ‘unicorn’ is a dirty word. Mashable. Online text.
- McNamee, R. and Listi, O. (2019). Roger McNamee, Advisor to Mark Zuckerberg, on Facebook’s Infancy. LitHub. Online text.
- Munroe, R. (2010). Infrastructures.xkcd. Online comic.
- Net neutrality. EFF. Online text.
- Peck, S. (2019). Why OPSEC is for everyone, not just for people with something to hide – part II. Tripwire. Online text.
- Philip. GPT3 bot posed as a human on AskReddit for a week. kmeme. Online text.
- Stallman, R. (2002). Free software, free society. Boston: GNU Press, Free Software Foundation. Online PDF.
- Stoller, M. (2020). We’re all anti-monopolists now. Substack. Online text.
- Veliz, C. (2020). Under surveillance capitalism? LitHub. Online text.
- Wu, T. (2020). The Google case. Medium. Online text.
- Good Reports
- Ethical Net Resources
- Privacy Tools
- EFF Resources
- Dev Resources
Week 4: Social dilemmaThis week, there are only Additional Resources (optional reading) to give you time to do site housecleaning or to add to it if you want to.
- Douglass, F.Douglass, Frederick (1852). Oration, Delivered in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, July 5th, 1852. Rochester: Lee, Mann &co. Online text.
- Hughes, L. (1936). Let America be great again. Poetry.org. Online poem.
- Magnusson, G. (2020). How Silivon Valley will solve the trolley problem. magnusson.io. Online text.
- Thomas, R. (2019). Five things that scare me about AI. Fast.ai. Online text.
Week 5: Our virtual community gardenThank you to those students who came to this week’s video conference. Resources mentioned during the conference:
- John Spencer’s sketch on collaborative learning:
- American quilts as a visual representation of work that achieves creative coordination as you will try to this semester (be sure to scroll through to see some interesting varieties).
- Conference highlight: Danilo asking: “How do we know if what we write is ‘right’?” How do you know if what you read in the news is right? …If this course does its job, you will start thinking about what makes more or less useful and constructive information and knowledge. Kudos to Danilo for the question.
Week 6: Social networks: communication, collapseOptional reading: Note: the reading is optional this week because some of you may want to take the time to look into Caulfield’s book for further insight into how to do your assignment.
- Caulfield, M. (2017). Web literacy for student fact-checkers. Pressbooks. Online book.
- Douthat, R. (2020). 10 Theses about cancel culture, NYT. Unlinked article.
- Foucault, M. (1980). Power/knowledge. Brighton/Sussex: The Harvester Press. Book listing. Also see Power-knowledge wikipedia entry. Online wiki entry.
- Golebiewski, M. & boyd, d. (2018). Data voids: where missing data can easily be exploited. Data&Society. Online text with link to primer download.
- Munger, K. et al. (2018). The effect of clickbait. Online PDF.
- Pausch, R. (2007). Randy Pausch’s last lecture: really achieving your childhood dreams.Carnegie Mellon. Online PDF – also available as a video on YouTube, which I refuse to link to. Included here for further reading into time management and to illustrate one possible set of strategies: it is important to understand what works for you. Some of Pausch’s approach is dated, and the practice of piling up email can be questioned (some prefer the zero-inbox strategy), but Pausch was a thoughtful and considerate professor.
- Putnam, R. (1995). Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital.Journal of Democracy 6:1, 65-78. Online article.
- Tufekci, Z. (2018). An avalanche of speech can bury democracy. Politico. Online article.
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Week 7: Social networks: bias & media literacyReading material:
- Arendt, H. (1972). Crises of the Republic. New York: Harourt Brace Jovanovich. On bias
- Ciampaglia, G. L. & Menczer, F. (2018) Biases make people vulnerable to misinformation spread by social media Online journal article, for those wanting to view technical writing. On bias.
- Kellner, D. & Share, J. (2005). Toward Critical Media Literacy: Core concepts, debates, organizations, and policy. Journal Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, (3), 26:3, 369-386. Unlinked journal article.
- Crichton, M. (2005). Why speculate. American Digest. Online speech transcription: NOTE, this is not the original source but a source of the speech on a website not ridden with dark JS. On bias
- Dror, I. (2020). Cognitive and Human Factors in Expert Decision Making:Six Fallacies and the Eight Sources of Bias. Analytical Chemistry 2020 92 (12), 7998-8004 DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c00704. Online journal article. On bias.
- Hurst, M. (2020). The not so candid cameras. Culture Crush. Online article: an example of critique; note, the second half addresses social action.
- Manoogian, J. (2018). Cognitive bias codex. Online graph. On bias: if you use this resource for the assignment, please look up the meaning of the terms you reflect on.
- McPherson, J. (2019). An interview with historian James McPherson on the New York Times’ 1619 Project. WSW. Online article.
- Skolnick, E. (2020). No way out. Culture Crush. Online article: an example of critique.
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Week 8: Participatory action researchThank you to those students who attended this week’s video conference.
A book connecting the outcome of today’s conference with the first lesson we had this semester is Carol Sanford’s No more feedback.
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Week 9: Relations & making (cultural) senseFirst, thank you for the reflection posts. I wanted to feature almost all of those that I read so this week’s featured posts were selected far more randomly than in previous weeks.
- Three prompts are presented below (the results of your most favorite topics revealed a tie, to which I added a third to help with revision). You can pick one or set your own question as agreed during our last video conference.
- You are not expected to write long posts for your final assignment but to demonstrate an awareness of the range of topics covered (involving the different domains of economics, politics, etc.; the different tensions and expressions of digital culture), the different effects of their interconnection and the sense you make of them as those who study culture. What does it mean? Is it good/bad? Why? (Remember to avoid sweeping generalizations…)
- Students hoping for a higher grade will also demonstrate an awareness that different lenses will make different sense out of the same “data” – i.e. cultural artefacts. But to give a very basic example, one person’s “capturing eyeballs” is another person’s data mining and invasion of privacy. (To capture eyeballs means capturing clicks, views, comments and subscriptions/follows for videos/tweets/posts/etc in which someone has already invested time and energy.) Put more simply: life is complex: show that you understand this.
- On the forum and in your final assignment remember to include course/your own selection of reading material to substantiate your ideas and to weave in some of your colleagues’ ideas. This will help you cover multiple viewpoints.
- There is plenty of material on this site and on the forum so it would be possible to write a final post that does not include any new material.
- If you want additional guidelines, you can keep in mind the course objectives.
- Lines of communication: You can email me with questions (nb.) and also with requests as to whether we should have weekly video conferences for live discussion and questions. It would really help me if you would pool any questions into group emails; also, the quality of my responses will be affected if you all contact me in the last week of classes. Please continue to use the forum to work out ideas and help each other. Here are examples of exemplary posts. Addendum: To repeat: you are given 2-3 weeks for the final assignment to give you time to submit a draft and receive notes for improvement. This is also to continue to practice dialogic interaction to reach shared understandings. You can submit one draft before the 22nd.
- The risks of and ingenuity in social media.
- The (privacy) threat of data mining vs. users as a (collective, political, ..) force.
- Revision prompt.
Week 10: Dialogue1Thank you to those students who participated in this week’s dialogue.
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Week 11: Dialogue2Students are responsible for reviewing the instructions in week 9 and the tips below.
- Tips (remember that if something stumps you here, you can write an email asking for clarification, but please be sure to write a clear subject line in your email):
- The star question from the video conference was how to check for coherence. While this is addressed in 4, 6, and 7 below, there are two additional tips. 1) Remember the difference between abstract/general and concrete/specific: specific and concrete things have distinguishing details and are particular; general things are like types and abstract things cannot be touched (like love – though love can be expressed through the particular). Good communication that shares knowledge will involve specific and particular details – but will also show the meaning of these, on the general abstract level. If the specific details you have chosen to include in your composition do not go together, bring in something else to make them go together, or go back to the drawing board and include something new. 2) When you have written your draft, write a reverse outline of it (the main idea of the intro is…; the main idea of para1 is…; etc): by making bullet points of the content in this way, you can see if it coheres. What is the point of trying to be coherent? It is an important skill in communication.
- Any title, excerpt, introduction, and conclusion that essentially states digital technology is good and bad fails to understand both the premise of this class and effective writing techniques. The title, excerpt, introduction, and conclusion are to indicate the specific value of your writing – which is derived from your selection of specific examples and ideas, which are to be backed up by sources. Remember to beware of sweeping generalizations: areas where you describe a phenomenon without sufficient qualification of evidence.
- You have 9 days left in which to edit your work and to make sure it follows the assignment instructions and adheres to the tips listed here.
- Check for coherence, e.g. the excerpt should cohere with the title and conclusion – the main abstract/general idea should be woven into the specific/concrete content of the body paragraphs: this will at once help you to avoid laundry lists.
- To repeat a point made in previous weeks: support all claims/statements with sources for “evidence”. In other words, check each claim is explained and developed with examples and sources.
- Think of the essay post as a composition: you are the artist deciding what to bring in to the frame. Your task is to bring in a range of sources – but you get to choose which ones, exactly – and why; what they mean.
- If you see that the conclusion is too broad and does not teach you anything, or if your title is still binary, reevaluate the selection and detail of sources chosen. The main idea of the composition will be clear once selection of sources is chosen and explored in detail. Sample prompts to help: How are the connected? How do they relate to the prompt you chose? Are they good/bad; why? What meaningful lesson can we learn through exploring these examples? Are the sources the best ones to support a point? Is there a range of sources? Does this range include a range of course material and at least one produced by students on the site or forum?
- Check for word economy, concision; edit out throwaway sentences. In other words, every sentence is to bring value to the essay: either setting out points, introducing, or concluding them. Every sentence should serve the (meaningful) purpose of the essay.
- Note when going over your draft that sometimes you have a main point, but it is buried.
- When including hyperlinks make sure that you have summarized the main ideas from the text that you are linking to.
Note: Final work is to contain a declaration of academic integrity and clearly identify sources used both within the text and in a dedicated sources section: I hereby confirm that this work is solely the result of my own independent scholarly work and that if any ideas, text passages, or diagrams from books, papers, the Web or other sources have been copied, paraphrased, or in any other way used, all references – including those found in electronic media – have been clearly acknowledged and fully cited.
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Week 12: Wrapping up our virtual community for the holidaysThank you for all of the work you have done in this course. Wishing you safe and happy holidays and look forward to meeting with you, hopefully in person, in the new year.
A few final notes:
- Students who got extensions for health or other serious reasons are responsible for ensuring that their work has been checked by communicating with me via email. Please remember to be polite.
- Before submitting your final work, please check that it complies with the instructions and tips in the previous two weeks’ assignmnet posts. Work that does not may not be a pass.
- Do not forget to initial your work when you submit it: please check – if it is not initialled, you might not get your grade entered on time.
- I do not have access to my old email address.
- Please reread points two and three and the referenced tips and instructions and check your work complies with them before submitting.
The weekly video will be posted below. Note that it will only be available for one week, at which point it will be replaced by a new video.
The December videos are replaced by weekly video conferences.
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Link to the course forum:
This course will also use a forum, at
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