Electronic Literature (DIKULT 203, Fall 2011)

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Abstract (in English): 

Aim and Content

Electronic literature is literary fiction and poetry created for the computer and the network. Genres of electronic literature, while focused on poetics, have connections to other forms of digital culture such as network art and computer games. In this course, students will read works of electronic literature as for instance hypertext fiction, digital poetry, and interactive fiction. Students will also study theoretical and critical studies of electronic literature.

Creative practice is an important component of the course, and all students will participate in the production of collaborative work of electronic literature, either created from scratch as a website or similar, or modifying an existing work of electronic literature. The necessary technical skills will be taught as needed. Students will also receive practical training in analyzing electronic literature, in particular in analysis of how the elements common in electronic literature, such as images, motion, time and space and interactivity influence the text of experience and reader experience, and how this also complicates our understanding of traditional narrative and poetry.

 Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will have:

  • an overview of the history and genres of electronic literature
  • familiarity with key works of hypertext fiction, digital poetry, and interactive fiction
  • an understanding of how visual, kinetic, temporal and interactive features work in narrative and poetry in electronic literature, and how they complicate our understandings of the reader and of the literary in general.

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • apply theories about electronic literature in their own interpretations of specific works
  • reflect upon their own creative practice and use feedback to improve their work
  • write specifically for digital environments
  • grasp elementary principles of programming
  • understand coding and design as elements of writing practice.

 In addition to class meetings, each student will have one supervision meeting with the lecturer in connection with semester thesis.

 Compulsory Requirements

There are two compulsory activities.

1)     Students will participate in a collaborative practical project (this discussion will take place online).

2)     Each student will choose a work of electronic literature to they present orally to the class and write a critical description of at least 400 words (these will be scheduled for Thursdays beginning week 38, and must be thematically appropriate for the week).

In order to take the exam it is required that the student has participated in at least 75 percent of the teaching and classroom activities. Course participation is approved by the course leader.

 Assessment methods

Students can choose between two alternative assignment types:

1)     Create a work of electronic literature and write an introduction to the work of 1,500 words that sets it in a critical context.

2)     Write a comparative analysis of two works of electronic literature, 4000 words in length.

 More detailed presentations of compulsory and semester assignments will be presented on the studentportal.

 Recommendations: Mapping your thoughts.  Using a sheet of paper or using a digital tool, create a pictorial outline of your readings in electronic literature.  Designate each work and draw (and label) lines that connect the works you are reading (look for formal, historical, material, or conceptual connections between the works.)  In another color, map the critical works you are focusing on, along with their connections. Then, after you have mapped what you have studied, draw lines back to historical forms and draw lines forward to anticipated forms, try to name these connections.  Use this method to tease out connections and engage in speculation that will be useful in completing your term project.  Eventually, we will be bringing these notes together in small workgroups, and try to use some of note-taking to facilitate tagging activities in an online database.

 Grading Scale: Grade scale A-F.

 Office hours: Professor Heckman's office is HF449. Office hours will be 9:00-10:00 T, Th, and by appointment.


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Eric Dean Rasmussen