past 15 years, digital information and communication networks have spread
rapidly across the globe, bringing with them hopes for, and claims of,
fundamental change in the dynamics of power and influence across a range
of political, economic, social, and semiotic dimensions. With a global
scope, this course will take a close look at the possibilities, achievements,
and failures of digital technology to decentralize and democratize.
Topics to be covered include political democracy (transparency and the
rule of law; digital electronic voting and online elections; e-government
and the provision of online government services; Internet-based campaigning
and activism; the emergence of global digital constituencies and online
protest movements; government efforts to control access to information);
economic democracy (the "digital divide"; ICT development
strategies; digital entrepreneurship; privatization and liberalization
of communications infrastructure; network interconnection; new definitions
of property rights and protections; open source vs. proprietary software);
social democracy (education and e-learning; the formation of coherent
political and other interest groups); and semiotic democracy (meaning
the decentralization of the power to make cultural meaning, i.e., peer-to-peer
file sharing, digital music, blogging and other personal publishing,
network filtering and censorship).
with Professor Charles Nesson, the course will be taught collaboratively,
colloquium-style, by a Berkman Center team of experts in Internet law,
policy, technology, and development: Andrew McLaughlin, Ethan Zuckerman,
John Palfrey, James Moore, Colin Maclay, Geoffrey Kirkman, and Michael
interested in writing their Third-Year Paper in conjunction with this
course should contact Professor Nesson. Students who wish to pursue
a clinical component as an optional course element should contact Diane
Cabell at the Berkman Center.
work will include a paper, participation in an online forum adjunct
to the class, and several special sessions over the term.
is limited to 60 students.