Identity and the Internet
STS 065
Spring 1996
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Sherry Turkle
Program in Science, Technology and Society
MIT Room E51-201C
assistant: TBA

Books to buy (or get from library) --

Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash (New York: Bantam Books, 1992).
or William Gibson, Neuromancer
Howard Reingold, The Virtual Community (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publications, 1993).
Sherry Turkle Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet
All other reading are in a readings packet available for purchase at Graphic Arts.

February 6. Introduction and Overview February 13. Online Personae



  • Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen, Introduction and Chapters 7-10.

February 20. No Class (Monday Schedule)



  • Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen, Chapters 1-4

February 27. "Classical" Identities in a Brave New World



March 5. Revising the Notion of Self -1



  • Kenneth J. Gergen, The Saturated Self (New York: Basic Books, 1991), "Social Saturation and the Populated Self" and "From Self to Relationship".

March 12. Revising the Notion of Self -2



  • James M. Glass, Shattered Selves., Chapter 1

    Rosanne Allequere Stone, "Violation and Virtuality", unpublished manuscript.

    Lindsy Van Gelder, "The Strange Case of the Electronic Lover"

    Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto" from Simians, Cyborgs and Women (New York: Routledge, 1991).


March 19. Multi-User-Domains



  • Amy Bruckman, "Identity Workshop"

    Elizabeth Reid, "Virtual Worlds: Culture and Imagination" from Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community , Steven Jones (ed.) (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1995).

    Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer, "The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat" from Cyberspace: First Steps, Michael Benedikt (ed.) (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991).


March 26. Spring Break April 2. No Class Meeting (makeup class held on May 7)



  • Howard Reingold, The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Fronteir (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publications, 1993).
    (read it now; not on May 7)


April 9. Interlude: What is a Person?



  • Amelie Oksenberg Rorty, from The Identities of Persons, "Introduction" and "A Literary Postscript"

    Sydney Shoemaker, "Embodiment and Behavior"

    Daniel Dennett, "Conditions of Personhood"


April 16. Patriots Day Vacation



  • Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place (New York: Paragon House, 1989), Chapters 1-3


April 23. Internet Relay Chat



April 30. Postmodern Identity



May 7. The Culture of Simulation



  • Frederic Jameson, "Postmodernism or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism"

    Jean Baudrillard, from Simulations , "The Procession of Simulacra"

    Mark Poster, from The Mode of Information, "Derrida and Electronic Writing"

    Scott Bukatman, from Terminal Identity, "Terminal Penetration"


May 7. The Internet and the Imaginary
(special 7:30 pm makeup class)

Screening of The Net


  • William Gibson, Neuromancer or Neal Stephenson, Snowcrash

    Michael Heim, "The Erotic Ontology of Cyberspace"

    David Porush, "Hacking the Brainstem: Postmodern Metaphysics and Stephenson’s Snowcrash "


May 14. Contested Terrain



  • Nicholas Negroponte, from Being Digital, "Introduction," Chapters 17, 18

    Clifford Stoll, from Silicon Snake Oil, "Introduction," Chapters 1- 2

    Susan Sontag, from On Photography, "In Plato's Cave"

    Michelle Kendrick, "Cyberspace and the Technological Real"

    Terri Palmer, "Under, Over, and Around the Net: Interrupting the Utopian Subject of the Internet"