Infrastructures of Imagination (MS4103.01)

Keisha Knight

From clay tablets in Mesopotamia, to pirated DVDs in Lagos, to the bioscope in Mumbai, to big data, undersea cables and beyond this course explores how media moves, who/what moves it, and why. We will take a media archeological approach to the infrastructures of media circulation in order to answer the questions: 1) How does the circulation of media create or foreclose public space? 2) What is the relationship between media circulation and power? 3) How can media circulation be used as a form of resistance?

This course will traverse four distinct zones: the ancients, 19th century photography, cinema, and data. We will look at the similarities and differences between these zones as we attempt to understand how the circulation of media shapes our experiences and imaginations. Students will be asked to keep a reflection notebook throughout the semester in order to track and think through the different ways media circulates through their lives. In pairs, small groups, or individually students will conduct interviews with scholars, artists, and others involved in media circulation. Our reflections, interviews, and weekly viewings/discussions/assignments will culminate in a final paper or creative project.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) Reflect deeply on the ways in which media circulation shapes public and private space;
2) Feel empowered in their ability to conduct interviews with experts/professionals;
3) Identify concepts, thinkers, and artists with whom they are in conversation across disciplines;
4) Synthesize a diverse archive of materials.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Please contact Brian Michael Murphy ( to enroll in the course.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , Media Studies , Updates
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