I am teaching a class called Technological Underworlds next semester. Here is the course description:
Today it is impossible to read a newspaper or magazine without stumbling upon at least one article featuring digital media as its main subject.
Whether it is the so-called Twitter Revolution during the Arab Spring or the promise of "big data" for curing social ills, digital media in various forms and capacities is heralded as either savior or demon, and has, in turn, captured and saturated the public imagination. Despite its inescapable presence in public life, so many facets of digital technologies lay untouched, are grossly misunderstood, or barely pierce public consciousness. These include infrastructure and hardware, digital media in non-Western societies, and the seedy/transgressive cultures connected to digital media. This course attends to the contemporary politics of digital media through the angle of its unexplored and misunderstood
underworlds: servers and spam, darknets and black code, invisible users, trolls and misfit activists. As we read various in-depth accounts, the class will interrogate the myopias that have grown in tandem with the the study of digital media, consider why and how digital phenomena are rendered invisible, and discuss the methodological difficulties in accessing and addressing digital underworlds.