English 190

Research Seminar: Literature and the Post-human


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2012 Jones, Donna V.
MW 10:30-12 301 Wheeler

Description

Does a life become a human life through the possibility of narrating a coherent story about a bounded person through time? This class explores the connection between narrative and the human against the backdrop of technological developments that threaten to unravel a diachronic unity of time over time and thus implode the coherence of the human as such. We will read novels that explore the breaks in biography afforded by the possibility of various enhancements that enable apparently extra-human powers and the possibility of monstrous, inhuman births of posthuman selves created from the moment of conception. How are we to make sense of ‘enhanced’ and ‘artificial’ lives; how far do the older narratives of Prometheus, Faust and Frankenstein take us in the twenty-first century? Are we taking powers reserved for the Gods or sacrificing our soul or humanness for extraordinary powers; will we make monsters of ourselves? Are there other than dystopian possibilities?

In works of speculative fiction, how is the post-human imagined? How do such imaginings change our conception of the merely or all too human, the lot of the vast majority on this earth? Are there new insidious imaginings of the subhuman implicit in speculative fiction?  Or will the person merely disappear or dissipate--we will also explore the dissolution of the boundaries of a stable self into ever-shifting networks of possibility.

I am interested in creating the critical space to imagine the future beyond the poles of technophobia and breathless optimism.

Class discussion will draw on literary theory, science studies, futurology, race and postcolonial studies, gender studies and philosophy. Readings will include David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas: A Novel;, China Mieville: Perdido Street Station; Philip Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Mary Shelley: Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus; Villuers de l’Isle-Adam: “The Future Eve”; Cary Wolfe: What is Posthumanism? (excerpts); Paul Ricoeur: Time and Narrative (excerpts); H. Porter Abbott: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative.

Please read the paragraph on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

fall, 2022

190/1

Research Seminar: Ulysses

190/3

Research Seminar: Nineteenth Century American Ecologies

190/4

Research Seminar: Material Dickinson

190/5

Research Seminar: 1922: Modernism's Year 1

190/6

Research Seminar: Crisis and Culture: The 1930s, 1970s, and post-2008 in Comparative Perspective

190/7

Research Seminar

190/8

Research Seminar: The Work of Ursula Le Guin

190/9

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Movies

spring, 2022

190/1

Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson

190/2

Research Seminar: Anatomy of Criticism

190/4

Research Seminar: What is Community?

190/5

Research Seminar: Repression and Resistance

190/6

Research Seminar: The Historical Novel

190/7

Research Seminar: Race and Travel: Relative Alterity in Medieval Times and Places

190/8

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Movies

fall, 2021

190/1

Research Seminar: Beckett's Prose

190/2

Research Seminar: Literature on Trial: Romanticism, Law, Justice

190/3

Research Seminar: Sensation Novels in Victorian England

190/5

Research Seminar: Anti-Jewish Diatribe in Medieval England

190/8

Research Seminar: Utopian and Dystopian Books and Movies

190/10

Research Seminar

190/11

Research Seminar: Latinx Modernism

spring, 2021

190/1

Research Seminar: Literary Collaboration: Samuel Coleridge and William and Dorothy Wordsworth

190/2

Research Seminar: The Art of Reconstruction

190/3

Research Seminar: Fictions of Los Angeles

190/4

Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson

190/5

Research Seminar: Climate Change Fiction, or Cli-Fi

190/6

Research Seminar: Black Postcolonial Cultures: Real and Imagined Spaces

190/7

Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

190/8

Research Seminar: The Other Melville

190/9

Research Seminar: Chicanx Literature, Art and Performance

fall, 2020

190/1

Research Seminar: Utopia and Anti-Utopia

190/2

Research Seminar: Eco-crisis and Climate Refugueeism

190/3

Research Seminar: The Spy Novel

190/4

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Movies

190/5

Research Seminar: Is It Useless to Revolt?

190/8

Research Seminar: Anatomy of Criticism

190/9

Research Seminar: James / Baldwin

190/10

Research Seminar: Medieval Sexuality

spring, 2020

190/1

Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

190/2

Research Seminar: William Faulkner’s Temporalities

190/3

Research Seminar: American Romanticism

190/4

Research Seminar: Poetry and the Virtues

190/5

Research Seminar: British Fiction Since 1945

190/6

Research Seminar: Hollywood in the Thirties

190/7

Research Seminar: Jane Austen

190/8

Research Seminar: James Joyce

190/9

Research Seminar: Victorian Versification

190/10

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Film


Back to Semester List