Course Schedule


History of Computing: Personal Computers and the emergence of Digital Cultures (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Barbara Hof

Einzeltermin | Fr, 22.04.2022, 14:15 - Fr, 22.04.2022, 15:45 | HMS 205
Einzeltermin | Fr, 29.04.2022, 14:00 - Fr, 29.04.2022, 18:00 | HMS 139
Einzeltermin | Sa, 30.04.2022, 10:00 - Sa, 30.04.2022, 16:00 | HMS 139
Einzeltermin | Fr, 24.06.2022, 14:00 - Fr, 24.06.2022, 18:00 | HMS 139
Einzeltermin | Sa, 25.06.2022, 10:00 - Sa, 25.06.2022, 16:00 | HMS 139

Inhalt: In the 1970s and 1980s, the computer did not only become “personal”, but also ubiquitous through its alignment with a new variety of cultural forms: trade and administration, family life, public education, entertainment, and the pursuit of global market leadership. In this seminar, students explore how the Personal Computer (PC) changed culture and everyday life after 1970. They discuss the impact of computers in various social spheres and learn more about movements and individuals who used computers as a creative and emancipatory medium for gaming, learning, and political activism.

History of Computing: The Early Digital (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Jan Müggenburg

Einzeltermin | Do, 14.04.2022, 14:00 - Do, 14.04.2022, 17:30 | HMS 211/215
14-täglich | Donnerstag | 09:45 - 13:15 | 21.04.2022 - 30.06.2022 | HMS 231/232
Einzeltermin | Do, 19.05.2022, 14:00 - Do, 19.05.2022, 17:30 | C 6.026 Seminarraum
Einzeltermin | Do, 07.07.2022, 14:00 - Do, 07.07.2022, 17:30 | HMS 211/215

Inhalt: Today, the term "digital" is used to describe and explain pretty much all the major transformations of our time. Communication, work, friendship, love, intelligence, mobility, leisure, entertainment and, last but not least, education are all associated with a process that is commonly referred to as »digitization« and that has significantly changed human life on our planet in recent decades. While when using the term we are recognizing that the cultural transformations of our time share a deep connection to the technology of digital computing, sometimes it is not entirely clear what people actually mean when they refer to something as »digital«. But if we don't want to accept the term "digital“ as a meaningless marker for everything present, but instead want to find out why the term has become so ubiquitous and universal, we need to go back in time and visit some of the many media-historical sites in the middle of the 20th century where "digitality" had its origins.

In this course, we will thus look at the people, machines, and practices that shaped the technologies and techniques that we today call »digital«. From John von Neumann to Douglas Engelbart and from the ENIAC to the invention of the computer mouse we will cover a period from 1945 to 1970 where the first electronic digital computers were created, and the computer industry began to develop. Taking into account recent publications in the field of computer history, we will also ask how the »digital« relates to the categories of race, class, gender, and disability. For example, we will consider the important role of women in the history of computing and critically assess problematic concepts such as the notion of a 'normal computer user’.

Optical Media and the Vertical Image (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Vera Tollmann

14-täglich | Donnerstag | 09:45 - 13:15 | 14.04.2022 - 07.07.2022 | HMS 139

Inhalt: This seminar deals with the paradigm of the view from above. Vertical images represented and still do represent a visual regime that seeks to explore, map, monitor, control, and dominate the world. Before the regime of the military gaze was established in the 20th century, the first vertical images, insofar as they are known and still exist today, were taken by balloonists and meteorologists in Paris and London. The first photographs and data images of our planet emerged as by-products of space travel: initially, unmanned lunar probes and satellites collected data, followed by the Apollo program. The Cold War and the "'new vertical regime' enabled by space exploration" were the basis for "a new technology-mediated verticality" (Mendenhall, Deudney) to develop. The space age also produced a range of media infrastructures and digital media such as multi-spectral scanners, cameras, and overall digital image processing. NASA marked an epochal change with the launch of the Landsat program on July 23, 1972, the first Earth observation satellite. Who can read these images? As James C. Scott writes in Seeing Like a State, “image data itself does not mean anything. It requires a rendering, a frame, and an interpretation.” Since the ‘algorithmic turn,’ data sources and visualizations have multiplied in a more complex networked media environment. GPS-based mapping services are linked to social media accounts, satellite data service providers advertise 360-degree evaluations of remote and close sensing sensors. A situated composite of sensors, satellites, machine learning, and algorithms evaluates the world as an image and data source.