INF 385T Special Topics in Information Science : Intersections of Surveillance and Society
Explore the theories and applications of surveillance and the impacts both have had on society and culture, over time and geography, including the application of technology. Examine how we participate in these systems as subjects, performers, and watchers in our own right, and how individuals can take more control over the processes of surveillance in their lives.
This course explores the development and evolution of surveillance practices and technologies in our society historically and culturally over time. We will examine the reasons that have evolved for watching one another; the practices and technologies that enable the “gaze” of the state, of industry, and of individuals; and the means by which we adapt to and resist such surveillance. Concepts and topics covered during the class include theories of surveillance and power, legal and regulatory evolutions that have empowered and restricted surveillance practices (e.g., privacy rights and legal frameworks), and the role of technology in surveillance practice. We will employ readings and research from the social sciences, news and current events, and literature and pop culture. Class design will include practical investigation of privacy enhancing tools and techniques to empower students to better control their personal information, and research projects that emphasize individual student interests and freedom of expression. Course Goals and Objectives: • Students will be familiar with basic surveillance theory and the literature of surveillance studies as it has evolved over time, including theories of power and the role of surveillance in societal institutions including government, healthcare, criminal justice, and advertising/marketing • Students will understand the evolution and tradeoffs surrounding privacy and data protection as these concepts have evolved in parallel with the development of surveillance practices and technologies, and the social and cultural responses to perceived intrusions on personal liberty • Students will gain experience applying the theoretical concepts of privacy and surveillance to their daily lives, understanding the ways that they are subject to surveillance practices as well as practitioners of surveillance themselves. They will explore how everyday technologies (computers and mobile devices, online services and social media, their own biometric footprints) contribute to surveillance practices and learn skills for more informed choice in using these technologies.
Restricted to graduate degree seekers in the School of Information during registration periods 1 and 2. Remaining seats will be made available to outside students on August 19th. Interested non-iSchool students may request a seat reservation by completing this Registration Support Questionnaire.