Infx 295: Information, Technology, and Space

Winter 2007

Tu, Th, 3:30-5:00: ICS 253


Thanks to ubiquitous computing and wireless networking, computing is "on the move." But how can we understand where it is going?

Mobility has often been read as a threat to moral and social order, from the suspicion with which itinerant medieval minstrels were regarded, to the "tramp scares" of late 19th century America, and contemporary European panics around asylum seekers. In recent years, though, this view of mobility has begun to give way to a more positive view of mobility, in the image of the road warrior or business traveler armed with a wifi laptop, Blackberry, and frequent flier card -- invoking not just a picture of mobility, but of informated space.

How do the presence (or absence) of wireless networks and novel information infrastructures affect our experience of the spaces through which we move? What forms of regulation, resistance, and repurposing do "informated" spaces enable? What theoretical foundations can help us to understand the relationship between spatial experience and technologies such as wifi, mobile telephony, GPS, sensor networks, and geodemographic databases?

This class will explore these questions through a directed program of readings and discussions. The goal is to explore ways in which recent thinking in the area of human geography can help us to understand the technologies of spatial production.

An initial set of readings and a rough outline of the class (the early stages, at least) is now available. I'm waiting on electronic copies of some of the readings from the library.

The class blog is now open. I'll email everyone with account details.