Spring 2020

LMC 6320: Globalization and New Media

Office: TSRB 316A
Office Hours: By appointment
Email: ledantec@gatech.edu

Class Meetings: Monday/Wednesday, 3:00–4:15PM
Location: TSRB 323 (PPL)

Course Description

This course is a theoretical exploration of the material and social impacts of intelligent systems. We will read broadly from HCI, STS, Sociology, Anthropology and Design in order to interrogate systems that shape civic participation and activism, as well as those that support surveillance and authoritarianism. The class will be structured around exploring the challenges in interaction and information design when the design material is no longer bits on a screen, but instead data, algorithms, and automation. We will work through the the conflicting goals of designing interactive systems (and processes) that are data reliant while resisting the authoritarianism such systems of surveillance enable.

Course Objectives

After taking this course you should be able to:

  • Have a more comprehensive understanding of the technologies and interaction techniques available and appropriate for mobile application design.
  • Be able to use the theories and works presented in this course to frame and support discussion and critique of mobile technologies.

This class is intended to provide theoretical and critical perspectives that will help you reflect on the kinds of trade-offs that may be confronted during design. This should include issues of participation, privacy, and identity, among others.


The total grade for the class will be based upon the following factors and weights:

Seminar Participation: 30%
Writing Assignments: 30%
Final Paper: 40%

Participation & Attendance

Class attendance and participation is mandatory. Participation in discussion is imperative because it allows you to explore content and design process collaboratively. Participation in class also challenges you to continuously question, refine, and articulate your own ideas and interpretations.

Missing more than 2 classes will result in a loss of 1 letter grade.

Writing Assignments

Writing assignments are due each Wednesday (starting in week 2). You need to complete 5 assignments over the course of the semester and you may choose the format each week. Each assignment will take the form of a short essay (~1k words, not more than 1k words) putting the present reading to use analyzing an area of interest.

Final Paper

The final paper is due April 20 (or April 15 if aiming for CSCW). The paper needs to be approximately 10 pages, with topic and scope determined on an individual basis.

Readings & Texts

The following books are required for the class.

Books are (or should be) available at the Bookstore. Some of these titles are available free online (e.g. Twitter and Tear Gas).

  • Politics of the Everyday, Ezio Manzini
    ISBN: 978-1350053649
  • Twitter and Tear Gas, Zynep Tufekci
    ISBN: 978-0300215120
  • The Stuff of Bits, Paul Dourish
    ISBN: 978-0262036207
  • What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing, Ed Finn
    ISBN: 978-0262035927
  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff
    ISBN: 9781610395694
  • Critical Fabulations: Reworking the Methods and Margins of Design, Daniella Rosner
    ISBN: 978-0262037891
  • Design for the Pluralverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds, Arturo Escobar
    ISBN: 978-0822371052
  • Design, When Everybody Designs: An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation, Ezio Manzini
    ISBN: 978-0262028608

Course Schedule

What follows is an outline for the semester. As the semester progresses, we may adjust dates and materials; however, unless specifically stated in class, you should assume this schedule is current and accurate.

Week 1 First day administrivia.
Intro Readings – Stage setting
Week 2 Politics of the Everyday
Politics of the Everyday
Week 3 MLK Day

No class.

Twitter and Teargas
Week 4 Twitter and Teargas
The Stuff of Bits
Week 5 The Stuff of Bits
The Stuff of Bits
Week 6 What Algorithms Want
What Algorithms Want
Week 7 What Algorithms Want
Week 8 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism


No class.
Week 9 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
No class.
Week 10 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
Week 11 Spring Break
Spring Break
Week 12 COVIDeo Conference
Optional Office Hours
No class
Week 13 Critical Fabulations
Critical Fabulations
Week 14 Design When Everyone Designs
Design When Everyone Designs
Week 15 Design for the Pluriverse
Design for the Pluriverse
Week 16 April 22 Reflections

Debate, Diversity, and Respect

In this class, we will present and discuss a diversity of perspectives. Although you may not always agree with others’ perspectives, you are required to be respectful of others’ values and beliefs. Repeated inappropriate or abusive comments and/or behavior will be cause for disciplinary action. If you feel that your perspectives are being ignored or slighted, or you in anyway feel uncomfortable in the classroom, please contact me immediately.

Students with Disabilities

Students should self-report to the Access Disabled Assistance Program for Tech Students at:
220 Student Services Building
Atlanta, GA 30332-0285
404.894.2564 (voice) or 404.894.1664 (voice/TDD)

Scholastic Dishonesty and Academic Misconduct

This class abides by the university’s policies relating to plagiarism, scholastic dishonesty, and academic misconduct. Per the Georgia Tech Code of Conduct, plagiarism is defined as:

  • Unauthorized Access: Possessing, using, or exchanging improperly acquired written or verbal information in the preparation of a problem set, laboratory report, essay, examination, or other academic assignment.
  • Unauthorized Collaboration: Unauthorized interaction with another Student or Students in the fulfillment of academic requirements.
  • Plagiarism: Submission of material that is wholly or substantially identical to that created or published by another person or persons, without adequate credit notations indicating the authorship.
  • False Claims of Performance: False claims for work that has been submitted by a Student.
  • Grade Alteration: Alteration of any academic grade or rating so as to obtain unearned academic credit.
  • Deliberate Falsification: Deliberate falsification of a written or verbal statement of fact to a Faculty member and/or Institute Official, so as to obtain unearned academic credit.
  • Forgery: Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any Institute document relating to the academic status of the Student.
  • Distortion: Any act that distorts or could distort grades or other academic records.

For more details on the honor code see: http://policylibrary.gatech.edu/student-affairs/academic-honor-code