Augmenting Realities: Technoscience, Digital Art, & Electronic Literature

Duke University ♦ Fall 2013 ♦ Lit 80 ♦ Amanda Starling Gould

Twitter: @stargould #augrealities, Web: Augmenting Realities

Course Specs

1.0 Course Description, Objectives, & Texts

1.1 Course Description

This course will interrogate how media technologies and our various layers of ‘reality’ converge to alter (or augment) our conceptions of the body and the brain, of time and space, of art and literature, of data and information, of memory and storage, of cities and networks, of medicine and prostheses, of the digital and (digital) culture. In considering issues of ethics and emergence, we will forecast future civilizations and explore possible ways of archiving our past and present digital expression.

Course texts will include William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, Rick Moss’s AR gaming novel Ebocloud, Gibson & Sterling’s The Difference Engine, Ba & Moon’s graphic novel Daytripper, Ken Wark’s Gamer Theory, selected digital videogames and multimodal e-lit works. We will investigate these alongside various digital art pieces and AR data devices to question how they reflect and simultaneously influence our cybercultural hybridity.

1.2 Required Course Texts

Neuromancer, William Gibson, 1984
The Difference Engine, William Gibson & Bruce Sterling, 1990
Gamer Theory, McKenzie Wark, 2007
Daytripper, Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon, 2011
Ebocloud, Rick Moss, 2013

Other texts will be made available online or on our password-protected Sakai page

1.3 Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate transliterary, transmedia, and literary digital humanities artifacts
  • Use transliterary methods and multimodal media to communicate critical arguments
  • Apply techniques of digital humanities inquiry and literary analysis to interrogate and create contemporary literary forms
  • Demonstrate an understanding of media-specific writing and culturally-situated media
  • Produce non-traditional (re)mediated forms of cultural, literary, and artistic criticism


2.0 Course Assignments & Expectations

2.1 Course Writing Requirements

1. Weekly Blog, due on Fridays by 1pm (exceptions will be noted on the schedule)

2. Three 1000+ word critiques

1) Partnered #dh Critique
2) an E-lit Critique
3) a Game(r) Critique

3. One final digital humanities project: A ‘chapter’ in the Augmenting Realities course webproject. The project will require:

1) an Essay equivalent to 8-12 pages double-spaced
2) a (Re)mediated element
3) Participation in the design & implementation of the collaborative webproject space
4) Interactive commentary

Students are encouraged to make use of the Duke University Writing Studio and Duke’s MPS and Computer Labs. You can find details and schedule an appointment at the Writing Studio at You can find hours and locations of the labs here: More details on the requirements and resources for each writing assignment will be distributed in class and posted on our course website.

2.2 Grading

Each of the three main blog writing assignments will count for 15% of your final grade with the final project being worth 30%. The remaining 25% of your grade will be derived from class participation, attendance, weekly responses, and other assignments. Assignment specifics and expectations will be detailed in the Assignments section of our website and our syllabus. If you have questions about how an assignment will be assessed, it is your responsibility to contact me with questions. I am happy to clarify assignment requirements at any time.

2.3 Attendance

Class discussion and collaboration are essential parts of this seminar. It is important that you come to each class having already read or watched the required materials and having already tried the assigned tools/games/e-works. You should be prepared to discuss these in class and, on the assigned days, to show-and-tell us about your media experimentation.

Attendance in this class is mandatory. You should plan on attending every class. You are allowed two unexcused absences over the course of the semester. After that, your class participation will drop a letter grade for each additional unexcused absence. Upon the fifth unexcused absence, you will receive a failing grade for the course. Please try to submit the proper documentation, according to the T-Reqs website, required for excuse of absences:

2.3.01 Attendance at Individual Assignment/Project Conferences

Throughout the semester, we will arrange individual assignment/project conferences during which we can discuss both graded assignments and projects in progress. Missing a scheduled conference will count as one absence.

2.4 Email

I will use Sakai to send class emails and the default address on file in the Sakai system is your account. Please check your Duke email account at least once a day in case there are any last-minute announcements or disruptions. If you do not regularly check your Duke account, I recommend you set up email forwarding so that Duke messages are fed into your preferred email account. It is your responsibility to contact me if you are NOT receiving class communication.

2.5 Laptops, iPads, & eReaders

I encourage the use of all of these devices as long as they are used for class purposes only. Non-class use of your device will result in grade deductions. We meet for just a short duration each class period and I expect you to respect our time together.

2.6 Honor Code & Peer Collaboration

Students are expected to abide by the terms of the student code of academic conduct, available in your undergraduate bulletin or online at I urge you all to examine this material and consult me with any questions you may have about plagiarism or academic integrity before it becomes an issue.

Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism is not an acceptable excuse for plagiarism. Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade for the course.

Over the course of the semester, you will be invited or required to collaborate with your classmates. Failure to do so with integrity, honesty, due responsibility (i.e. be sure to hold up your end of the task), and respect will result in grade deduction.