Syllabus (2017, Spring) – Robots and Clones

Robots and Clones in Science Fiction and Film

Week 1
(Jan. 10-12)
Week 2
(Jan. 17-19)
Week 3
(Jan. 24-26)
Week 4
(Jan. 31-Feb. 2)
Week 5
(Feb. 7-9)
Week 6
(Feb. 14-16)
Week 7
(Feb. 21-23)
Week 8
(Feb. 28-Mar. 2)
SPRING BREAK
Week 9
(Mar. 14-16)
Week 10
(Mar. 21-23)
Week 11
(Mar. 28-30)
Week 12
(Apr. 4-6)
Week 13
(Apr. 11-13)
Week 14
(Apr. 18-20)
Course Requirements

*

Week 1 (Jan. 10-12)

Tuesday – Introduction

Thursday

*

Week 2 (Jan. 17-19)

Tuesday

Thursday

*

Week 3 (Jan. 23-26)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 1 due – Zach

Tuesday

Further reading:

Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)
Scott Hutchins, A Working Theory of Love (2012)

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 2 due – Hannah

Thursday

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818, 1831)

*

Week 4 (Jan. 30-Feb. 2)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 3 due – Kayla

Tuesday

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818, 1831)

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 4 due – Elizabeth

Thursday

*

Week 5 (Feb. 6-9)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 5 due – Olivia

Tuesday

  • Ridley Scott, Dir., Blade Runner (1982)  – screening TBA

Thursday

  • Donna Haraway, excerpts from “A Cyborg Manifesto” (1985). Read:
    • “An ironic dream . . . ” (pp. 291-95)
    • “The informatics of domination” (pp. 300-304)
    • “Women in the integrated circuit” (pp. 307-10)
  • N. Katherine Hayles, excerpts from How We Became Posthuman (1999) (Blackboard):
    • from Ch. 1, “Toward Emodied Virtuality,” read pp. 1-13 (I have included the Prologue, the whole of Ch. 1, and the Conclusion, but you are only responsible for the listed pages, 1-13)

*

Week 6 (Feb. 13-16)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 6 due – Tiffany

Tuesday

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 7 due – Ali

Thursday

  • Alex Garland, Dir., Ex Machina (2015) – available to rent from Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and elsewhere

*

Week 7 (Feb. 20-23)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 8 due – Umang

Tuesday

  • Nick Bostrom, “Preface,” Ch. 1 from Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (2014) – purchase

 

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 9 due – Bradley

Thursday

  • Nick Bostrom,  Ch. 2 and Ch. 6 from Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (2014) – purchase

*

Week 8 (Feb. 27-Mar. 2)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 10 due – Megan

Tuesday

  • Nick Bostrom, Ch. 8 from Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (2014) – purchase
  • John R. Searle, “What Your Computer Can’t Know” (2014) (Blackboard)

Thursday

  • John Badham, War Games (1983) – available to rent from Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and elsewhere

*

Week 9 (Mar. 13-17)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 11 due – Patrizio

Tuesday

  • Rodney A. Brooks, excerpts from Chs. 3-4 (Blackboard)

Thursday

  • Lab visit

Friday (6:00 pm)

*

Week 10 (Mar. 21-23)

Tuesday

  • Ted Chiang, “Seventy-Two Letters” (2000) (Blackboard)
  • Timeline workshop (in class)

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 12 due – Austin

Thursday

  • Aldous Huxley, Ch. 1-9, Brave New World (1932)

*

Week 11 (Mar. 27-30)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 13 due – Grace
  • Timeline entry 1 (rough draft) due

Tuesday

  • Aldous Huxley, Ch. 10-18, Brave New World (1932)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, “Nine Lives” (1968) (Blackboard)

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 14 due – Kathryn

Thursday

  • Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003) – purchase
  • Timeline entry 1 (final draft) due

*

Week 12 (Apr. 3-6)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 15 due – Mollie

Tuesday

  •  Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003)

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 16 due – Paolo

Thursday

  • David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (2004) – purchase

Friday

  • Timeline entry 2 due (6:00 p.m.)

*

Week 13 (Apr. 10-13)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 17 due – Mihira

Tuesday

  • David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (2004)

Wednesday (noon)

  • Blog post 18 due – Emmie

Thursday

  •  David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (2004)

*

Week 14 (Apr. 18-21)

Monday (noon)

  • Blog post 19 due – Alisha

Tuesday

  • Tom Tykwer and Lana Wachowski, Dir., Cloud Atlas (2012) – available to rent from Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and elsewhere

Thursday

  • Spike Jonze, Dir., Her (2013) – available to rent from Amazon, iTunes, YouTube and elsewhere

 

Final paper or project due (Tuesday, April 25 – 11:59 pm)

 

*

Course Requirements

  • Blog post and class presentation – due TBA (20%)
    • Your blog post will be peer evaluated, using the following criteria: Does the author seem deeply engaged with the topic? Is the blog entry thoughtful, creative, offbeat, or humorous? Is the entry coherent and well-suited to its apparent purpose?  Blogs will not be graded on length or mechanics unless major patterns of sloppiness appear.
  • Timeline entry – due Friday, Mar. 17, 6:00 pm (15%)
  • Final paper (8-10 pages) or project – due Friday, Apr. 21, 6:00 pm  (50%)
  • Class participation (15%) Participation grades will be calculated as follows:
    • Attendance at the great majority of classes constitutes the minimum passing standard and establishes one’s participation grade as a D.
    • Speaking up only a few times during the course of the semester constitutes satisfactory performance and earn a grade of C.
    • Entering the discussion every class or two constitutes average performance and earns a grade of B.
    • Frequent participation, which is intelligent, respectful of others, and clearly oriented toward contributing to the class experience rather than scoring points or showing off, constitutes excellent performance and earns a grade of A.
  • Attendance policy: no more than three unexcused absences.

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