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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. Read: 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. Read: Tangherlini, Timothy. 2017. Toward a Generative Model of Legend: Pizzas, Bridges, Vaccines, and Witches. Humanities 7 (1): 10.3390/h7010001.

Perhaps no recent phenomenon represents better the dense web of the many kinds of behaviors we associate with legends than Slender Man. This week we will be reading all the articles published in a special issue of Contemporary Legend on Slender Man. (The link takes you to the main page for the issue.)

March 6. Read Blank and McNeil’s “Boiling Over” and Peck’s “At the Modems of Madness.”

March 8. Read Tolbert’s “Dark and Wicked Things” and Kitta’s “‘What Happens When the Pictures Are No Longer Photoshops?’”

March 13. Read “The Clown Legend Cascade of 2016” and review for the mid-term exam. (Please note that the JSTOR link is rather fussy and you may be better off downloading while on campus.)

Laudun, John. “The Clown Legend Cascade of 2016.” In Folklore and Social Media, edited by Andrew Peck and Trevor J. Blank, 188–208. University Press of Colorado, 2020. JSTOR.

March 15. Mid-term exam.

March 20. Read: Sleight-Price, Camille, Daisy Ahlstone, and Michelle W. Jones. 2018. “Forbidden Foodways: Tide Pods, Ostensive Practice, and Intergenerational Conflict”. Contemporary Legend 8 (December):86-114. https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/cl/article/view/35135.

March 22. Read: Radford, Benjamin. 2018. “The Bye Bye Man and Peeping Tom: Slender Man’s Cinematic Siblings”. Contemporary Legend 8 (December):22-40. https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/cl/article/view/35133.

Course Projects

March 27. Research proposals.

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.