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Investigating Cyberculture
STS 316 - SUNY Morrisville College
Professor Kurt Reymers

Review Papers

Cyberculture Review Paper Assignments

Four papers will be due during the semester, each one examining a different topical section of the course. The papers will be 600-800 words (2-3 pages) and will critically review the required reading material and any material provided in notes or done from suggested readings or comment/blog posts on the Blackboard site (or found via individual initiative).

Review papers will be due on the Tuesday class meeting following the end of the section (due dates follow). The papers must be titled, typed, double-spaced, and have 1” margins.

Submission: the papers should be saved in PDF format and sent by email to reymers@morrisville.edu by the due date.

The form should be a standard critical review essay. In the essay you should:
- Identify the specific thesis which you are arguing -- this should relate to a topic/issue common to all of the resources being reviewed;
- Briefly review the literature you have read;
- Critically analyze the literature and add your own response;
- Conclude with a description of how the cyber-issue at hand connects to the “real world,” particularly in relation to the social issue to which it connects.
- See this site for more info on critical essays

Review Topic Paper due dates and review ideas:

Section / Date Section Concept Paper Due Date

Introduction: History and Culture of Cyberspace

- What organization(s) were responsible for the developing and building the first computer network technology? (see Castells reading)
- Who were the individuals responsible for the developing and building the first computer network hardware and software? (see Castells reading)
- What was the technology that was developed? (see Castells reading)
- What are the four subcultures that merged to create Internet culture? Describe each one in detail. (see Castells reading)
- What is the thesis of Turner's book, From Counterculture to Cyberculture?
- In what ways have the utopian ethic of cyberculture been expressed? (see Turner reading)


Feb 2


Self, Identity, Privacy

- What is Second Life? To what city at what time does Meadows compare it? (see I, Avatar)
- What is The WELL? (see I, Avatar, Turner reading)
- What is an avatar? (see I, Avatar)
- What does multiplicity mean? (see Turkle reading)
- What is the Protean Self (Lifton) (see Turkle reading)
- What does Baldwin suggest is the value of Second Life in developing student writing?
- What is an Avatar? How are Avatars like masks? (see I, Avatar)
- How do multiple and anonymous identities influence privacy issues? (see Powerpoint notes)



Feb 16


Online Community and Cyberethnography

- In what ways are online communities the same as and different from face-to-face communities? (see Rheingold reading)
- How are boundaries and group norms decided upon in online communities? (see all readings)
- What is the place of rules and roles in virtual worlds? (see I, Avatar)
- What is the place of rituals and archetypes in virtual worlds? (see I, Avatar)
- How has the nature of human connection changed? (see Mulgan reading)
- What are the three laws of change that have had an impact on the nature of our connection to one another? (see Mulgan reading)




Mar 16


Write a review paper for one of the four topics: a, b, c, or d.

(a) Cyberpower and Online Governance

- What were the main themes of Barlow's 1996 Declaration of Cyberspace Independence?
- How did the techno-elite respond to the emerging real-world governance over the emerging public Internet in the 1990s?
- What was the outcome of the confrontation between Optic Phiber/Acid Phreak and John Perry Barlow in the WELL?
- Is STUXNET the next step toward cyberwarfare?
- What's the difference between "netwar" and "cyberwar"?
- Why did age verification become the norm in Second Life?
- In what way are virtual worlds "The American Dream, second edition" (see Meadows, p.87)?

(b) Economies Online
Questions TBA

(c) Religion Online
Questions TBA

(d) Education Online
Questions TBA




(a) Mar 30

(b) Apr 13

(c) Apr 20

(d) Apr 27




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