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25277 : Literature and Technology: Machines, Humans, and Posthumans from Frankenstein to the Futurists

Description: "Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it," wrote Heidegger. In the year 2020, the year of COVID-19 and mass physical lockdown, this statement is more valid than ever. Keeping current events in mind, in this course we will pose anew the question concerning technology and go back to the First and Second Industrial Revolutions when humans first came into intense contact with machines and restructured life and literature around them. We will trace the ecological, economical, and emotional footprints of various machines and technological devices (automata, trains, phonographs, cameras) in major European literary works from Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), Zola's La bĂȘte humaine (1890) to Luigi Pirandello's The Notebooks of Serafino Gubbio, Cinematograph Operator (1925), while inquiring into the nature of technology and what it means to be human through key philosophical texts from Plato to N. Katherine Hayles.

Instructor(s): Ana Ilievska

Offered: Autumn 2020

Category: Elective

Cluster(s): Digital Moving Image, Creative Computing