Archives of the Present

Fall 2016 quarter

Taught by

queer studies, philosophy, poetics
  • UG

What is knowledge? What is information? What is a document, a category, a medium, or a network? What does it mean to be asking these questions today, as we interface with multiple archives? In this reading- and writing-intensive program we’ll explore real and virtual archives, emphasizing reading and research skills as well as media literacy. We’ll be centering many of our activities on the Evergreen Library.

We’ll critically engage with various library resources while developing research skills that will be valuable for future academic and creative projects. As we practice our skills in the use of various knowledge organization systems, including the Dewey and Library of Congress classifications, subject indexes, and keyword-based retrieval, we will also examine their conceptual underpinnings and social contexts. What does the structure of a system imply about the organization of the world? What values and assumptions does it express? Who is the presumed audience? What interests do these systems serve?

We’ll address the question of knowledge through the Western philosophical tradition, and then inflect it through concepts drawn from media theory, didactic and experimental poetics, and gender and queer theory. This trajectory will allow us to situate ourselves in relation to concepts and manifestations of knowledge, medium, and archive.

Our readings will include Plato and Kant in philosophy; Elaine Svenonius and Birger Hjørland in library and information science,and Will Alexander, Christian Bök, Vilèm Flusser, and Beatriz Preciado in experimental poetics, media theory, and gender and queer studies. With methods drawn from philosophy and library science, we’ll practice reading for both depth and breadth: close reading of particular texts and the efficient survey of potentially relevant resources. Assignments in this program will emphasize reading, writing and research practice, as well as creative experimentation with concepts and information.

This program will be repeated in winter and spring quarters. Students who take this program in fall should not register for the winter or spring quarter repeat.

Program Details

Fields of Study

gender and women's studies media studies philosophy

Preparatory For

philosophy, gender and queer studies, media theory, library and information science, and the humanities.



Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, September 26 at 10 am (Lecture Hall Workshop 2)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


2016-06-30Description updated.
2016-04-22New fall opportunity added.