Disruption is as Disruption does…it is unexpected, challenging to the past and not expected by most. This semester was a disruption of sorts for me. I walked in feeling like I would be in my comfort zone. My undergraduate thesis was on 2.0 technologies and how they effect and are effected by culture, so I arrived thinking I already had it all in the bag. But then my world was rutenbecked. Some of the authors were familiar but I was unfamiliar with some of their more seminal works. Some authors had not hit my radar and they completely transformed my understanding of emergence, technology and the world at large.
Needless to say I was effected deeply by the readings and grateful for a syllabus that I will revisit; but what made the experience truly enriching was reading my colleague’s blogs. It was interesting to see how many different perspectives and stories could be generated by each bought of readings, fascinating to see who focused on what and what was left out of the discussion. It was also great to watch our blogs transform from formal essays to earnest discussions that got more casual and fun as the semester progressed.
But what was probably the best part of this class was the group discussions. I really enjoyed bring the conversation to the 3D world where we got build off of each others thoughts and share our perspective in different ways. The subject matter was challenging: Stream of Flows? Media Ecology? Heidegger? Ong? I began to see my perspective shift as it was enriched by all of these big thinkers and our subsequently deep discussions.
What was truly disruptive for me though was not so much what happened in the class but what happened outside of it. The Arab Spring had already inspired me both as a global citizen and as student of emergent media. But when it started to happen here in America with the OWS movement I became totally immersed in how emergent media was making a revolution possible. All of our readings seemed that much more relevant. Watching the old guard of technology and politics try to hold down the new with restrictive copyright laws and the erosion of our civil rights only proves to me that we are at the beginning of a dramatic, disruptive, cultural shift.
After taking this course I feel stronger as a student of media and culture. And I feel stronger as an agent of change, more convinced than ever that I have tools at my hand to help bring about a new era.