Data Culture
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-ACWB209
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; Cultural Studies;
PreviousNext 2
M.S. van Leendert
Other course modules lecturer
J.L. Neugarten, MA
Other course modules lecturer
R. Riemens, MA
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. R.J.H. Smeets
Other course modules lecturer
dr. R.J.H. Smeets
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
PER 1  (04/09/2023 to 05/11/2023)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
After completing this course, you have acquainted yourself with relevant debates on and cultural response to the role of data in culture and society. You will be able to critically reflect on positions in those debates, as well as to define your own position in a scientifically sound way. You will be able to analyse and interpret cultural representations of the datafied society in literature, film, music, video games, et cetera.
Our present day society is a datafied society. Modern day technologies such as the internet have opened up a broad range of possibilities on a social, cultural and economic level. A great part of our lives is lived online, we can get in touch with someone at the other side of the planet in the blink of an eye, which makes all types of exchange possible between people, cultures, societies, and companies. Although technology has made our world more open, efficient and connected in certain aspects, at the same time there are potential risks involved in the technologization and datafication of society. Powerful companies, such as Google and Facebook, use Big Data to track, analyse and influence our online behavior, creating a social panopticon in which everything is stored, observed and regulated. We might think that we are in charge of our online existences, but how free are we when we have no clue of the algorithms underlying the interfaces we use? We might think that we have a broad social network on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but actually how big and diverse is our filter bubble? Moreover, notions like truthfulness and reality are problematized as a result of the digitization and datafication of society. Is virtuality taking over at the expense of reality and truth? Are we still able to discern what is true and what is not?

In this course we will discuss (recent) debates that foreground the role of data in culture and society. These debates are more relevant than ever, as is demonstrated by e.g. Wikileaks, the Edward Snowden-affair, the rapid transformation of everything analog into a digital form, the pervasiveness of digital modes of communication, et cetera. Furthermore, we will look at cultural responses to data and technology. How do artists respond to these current developments? How is the datafied society represented in works of art? How do new technologies change our perception of art and creativity?

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information


Required materials
Title:Do androids dream of electric sheep (1968)
Author:Philip K. Dick
Title:The Circle (2013)
Author:Dave Eggers
Title:Her (2014)
Author:Spike Jonze
Title:No One Is Talking About This (2021)
Author:Patricia Lockwood

Instructional modes

Attendance MandatoryYes

Test weight100
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 2, Block PER 2

Minimum grade