Although unintended and despite attempts to reign it in, the internet is the quintessential example of a large scale anarchist organization. There is no hierarchical authority controlling the internet, the subunits participate voluntarily, information flows freely, individuals join and exit associations at will. Since the internet also contains abundant information about anarchism, it is the perfect medium for a course on the political history and theory of anarchism. This course was designed following a "content based approach to internet literacy" and involves active learning. You do not need to have any internet skills at the beginning of the course, but by the end of the course you will be comfortable navigating any corner of the internet and will be able to consume and produce internet material. If you already have internet skills you will be involved in updating the internet literacy skills modules and helping others in the class attain your level of expertise.
Each week we will study a different anarchist theorist or movement and each week you will prepare material to be posted on the internet dealing with classical anarchism. Just as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first theorist to call himself an anarchist, acquired much of his education as a by-product of working as a printer, you will learn what the classic anarchists had to say as you prepare their words for publication on the World Wide Web. Although there are two texts for the course, much of the reading will consist of material already on the WWW and material you will scan and mark-up for electronic publication in the "Anarchy Archives".
Class sessions will consist of lectures, workshops, discussions, and perhaps internet video conferencing with scholars who have written about the history and theory of anarchism.
Traditionally, teachers control students' behavior by establishing a hierarchy based on the power to grade. The result is that most students pursue grades rather than knowledge. Anarchists have approached education in an entirely different manner. Anarchists believe that in all spheres, including education, "more harm than good results from coercion, top-down direction, central authority...pre-ordained standardization..., etc." (Goodman, 1987, "The Anarchist Principle", in A Decade of Anarchy, ed. Colin Ward, p. 38. Also see Godwin, Political Justice, Book IV, Chapter 5, appendix.) Anarchists still recognize the value of leadership and expertise, but leadership and expertise must be separated from the exercise of power in order to avoid the deleterious and corrosive effects of coercion. Accordingly, in this course, evaluation will not result in a grade. As elaborated upon below, all students enrolled in the course will receive an "A" on their transcript. In this course, evaluation will be solely for the purpose of edification, and will be reserved strictly for participating members of the course collective.
The practice of anarchy requires order and moral integrity. Although adherence to anarchism is by no means a requirement of the course, order and integrity are necessary values to maintain if the course is to be a success. To meet these requirements, by voluntarily enrolling in this course and thereby becoming a member of the course collective, you have agreed to attend class sessions, make weekly contributions to the "Anarchy Archives", do the weekly reading for the course on a regular basis, and by the end of the semester 1) produce one scholarly work on any topic in the history and theory of anarchism. If at any time during the semester you wish to leave the course collective, you may do so simply by dropping the class. If you choose to leave the course collective after the official add/drop period you will receive a "WP" (withdraw passing) grade on your transcript. If at any time during the semester you fail to meet the requirements of membership in the course collective, you may be asked to withdraw from the course. If you fail to withdraw from the course after being asked to withdraw, you will receive an "F" for the course on your transcript. Coming to the second class meeting constitutes agreement to these terms.
By eliminating traditional grading from the internal structure of the course I hope to create the possibility of a truly collective learning experience. Hopefully, this will create an environment in which we participate in the class activities for the intrinsic pleasure of learning, not the fear of a plummeting GPA. While grading has been eliminated, work has not. Perhaps by removing the drudgery of grades, room can be made to experience the joy of productive work. The class is designed in such a way that we will all be able to make real contributions to others' potential for learning, at the same time that we learn ourselves. How much we each learn will depend upon how much effort we each put into the course. On that note, I should make it clear that I have no interest in providing a refuge for those in need of a GPA fix. Therefore, you will be expected to make an effort to participate in the class. If you do not make that effort, you will be wasting not only your time, but other members' time as well and you will be asked to drop the course. Taking this class, therefore, should not be done lightly. The basic activities of the course are elaborated upon below, including descriptions of the "bare minimum" for meeting course expectations.
There will also be occasional articles or chapters in books that will need to be read. These will be on reserve or online. In short, actual assigned readings are relatively modest, i.e., generally less than 120 pages a week. Each week, however, there will be additional reading necessary to make your contribution to the Anarchy Archives and to produce the scholarly work due by the end of the semester. The reading list will contain extensive bibliographies from which you can select additional reading material.
Beginning the second week of classes, you will each be expected to make weekly contributions to the Anarchy Archives. These contributions can be articles, graphics, sections of books, your own chronologies, commentary, biographies, etc., and bibliographic sources or redesigned sections of the Archives. All contributions must be free from any copyright. To avoid duplication of effort, a list of "Works in Progress" will be kept and should be consulted and "up-dated" before beginning to prepare any work for electronic publication. To select material, contact Professor Ward and refer to the bibliographic resources on the syllabus below and then make sure the material you select is not already part of "Works in Progress". Any uncopyrighted material included among the bibliographic resources which is not hotlinked already and not listed in Works in Progress is suitable material for the archive. I have worked out a relationship with the International Institute for Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam, the largest repository of radical literature in the world, by which we will be able to mark up materiels from IISH and also work on a special online exhibit for IISH. If you wish, after your contribution has been posted in the archives, you may register your contribution on the Contributors Page. As a general rule of thumb, a minimum of three hours per week should be spent preparing each contribution.
In addition to the weekly contributions, there are almost weekly tasks to perform. Tasks are distinct from contributions and even though the results of some tasks will be incorporated into the archives, they are not counted as weekly contributions. Tasks are part of the Internet Literacy component of the course. For those of you already competent navigating the internet, your tasks will be directed toward improving the instructional modules and assisting others achieve your level of competence. For those of you on your way to internet literacy, the tasks are designed to introduce you to all aspects of the internet and give you concrete experience using various internet tools and systems. Because of different skill levels there are two different tracks (creatively labled "A" and "B"). Some of you will always follow track A, some of you will always follow track B, and some of you will move between track A and track B depending on whether or not you have mastered the particular skill covered that week. Most often, tasks will be performed during the computer lab sessions, but there will be some weeks in which the task must be performed outside of the class session. The tasks and the schedule for completing the tasks are listed in the weekly reading assignments below, but you can follow this link to the tasks as well.
Mere assimilation of material, without an attempt to analyze, synthesize, and recapitulate the material, is mere intellectual wheel spinning. It takes you no where. Consequently, you are expected to try to put together an intellectual product dealing with some topic in the history and theory of anarchism. You should be working on this project at least by the beginning of October. You will be expected to consult with me about this project regularly throughout the semester. I will provide as much feedback and evaluation of the project as I possibly can to make your project a success. You will also share your work with other members of the course collective who will also provide feedback, as you will for their work. What form this work takes is up to you. It may be a written article or any other form of reproducible intellectual communication. Examples of previous final projects can be found here.
There are a number of software applications which you will find useful for work in this course. Much of the software is available on campus, almost all of it is freeware or shareware. I do recommend that you get a professional version of BBedit (Mac) for use in this course (but it is also installed in the Mac lab). Below are two lists with links to the software you may need for the course. Clicking the link will download a copy of the software. While some (old) Windows software is provided below, I will not use any Microsoft product and will conduct all workshops and internet instruction on the Macintosh platform.
Anarchie (FTP Client)
BBeditLite (HTML Editor)
StuffIt Lite 3.6 (Utility)
Fetch (FTP Client)
Graphic Converter (Graphics Utility)
ircle (Chat Client)
rtftohtml (Word to Web Utility)
Stuffit Expander (Utility)
NCSA Telnet (Telnet Client)
The InFORMer (translates form data)
Turbo Gopher (Gopher Client)
WebColor (HTML Color Assistant)
WebMap (Creates Interactive Maps)
Coffee Cup (HTML Editor)
CRT (Telnet Client)
CuteFTP (FTP Client)
EOHex (Color Picker)
FreeAgent (News Reader, Win95 and up)
FreeAgent (News Reader, Win3.1)
FTPVoyager (FTP client)
HGopher (Gopher Client)
Mapedit (Creates Interactive Maps, Win95 and up)
Mapedit (Creates Interactive Maps, Win3.1)
Stuffit Expander (Utility)
Trumptel (Telnet Client)
UltraEdit (HTML Editor)
wsircc20 (Chat Client)
To keep track of your assignments you can search the
Anarchy and the Internet Records
The required readings are listed below in green type.
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 1||Bibliographic Resources|
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 2|
|GODWIN AND HIS TIME|
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 3||Bibliographic Resources|
|PROUDHON AND HIS TIME|
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 4||Bibliographic Resources|
|BAKUNIN AND HIS TIME|
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 5||Bibliographic Resources|
|THE PARIS COMMUNE, SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM|
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 6||Bibliographic Resources|
|THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL
|KROPOTKIN AND HIS TIME|
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 7||Bibliographic Resources|
|EMMA GOLDMAN'S LIFE & TIMES|
|Internet Literacy Skills Task 8||Bibliographic Resources|
|EMMA GOLDMAN'S PHILOSOPHY|
|STIRNER, MALATESTA, TOLSTOY,AND OTHERS
|THE IMPACT OF NINETEENTH CENTURY ANARCHISM|
|ANARCHISM AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
|ANARCHISM IN THE CHINESE REVOLUTIONS
|THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
|LATIN AMERICAN ANARCHISM