English R1B

Reading & Composition: Fictions of the Human

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Fall 2012 Gaydos, Rebecca
TTh 11-12:30 225 Wheeler

Book List

Burroughs, William S.: The Ticket That Exploded; Coetzee, J.M.: The Lives of Animals; Dick, Philip K.: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go

Other Readings and Media

Course reader including selections from René Descartes, F. T. Marinetti, Alan Turing, Andy Warhol, Jackson Mac Low, Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Paul Virilio, and Andy Clark.

Film: Blade Runner


What constitutes our humanness? Are thinking and language-use uniquely human capacities or can intelligence be attributed to animals and machines? Is it possible to conceive of a timeless definition of the human being, or is human identity periodically reconfigured by historical and technological developments? Against the background of these broad questions, this course will pay close attention to the role that literature plays in investigating the significance of humanness in the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics to be considered include: literary representations of human-animal-machine continuums, cyborg subjectivity, the relationship between disability studies and technoscience, and debates around posthumanism, transhumanism, and prosthetic enhancement.  Rather than simply looking at how literary texts represent these topics thematically, we will focus on how authors engage these issues through formal experimentation.

The primary goal of this course is to improve your academic writing. Students will develop their analytic and argumentative skills—both in writing and verbally through intensive class discussion. The semester will culminate with each student producing an 8-10 page research paper.

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