Hi folks — the grades are posted (Sat. 12/15). Thanks for a wonderful semester!
Category Archives: Announcements
Ok, folks, it’s almost over! Be sure to bring your final essay with you to turn in (please do not email me with it, and make sure that it’s double-spaced, Times New Roman font #12, etc., etc.). Email me if you have any last minute questions.
We’ll finish watching Paprika in class (thanks Mindy!).
For next week, please read the following:
- Murray, Janet H. (1997) Hamlet and the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. (HANDOUT)
Chapter 1: Lord Burleigh’s Kiss (p. 13-26)
- Moulthrop, Stuart. Pax. (Read about Pax, then play it by clicking on either of the two faces on the page.)
In Murray’s text, she asks the following questions :
1. “Do we believe that kissing a hologram (or engaging in cybersex) is an act of infidelity to a flash-and-blood partner?
2. “If we could someday make holographic adventures as compelling as Lucy Davenport, would the power of such a vividly realized fantasy world destroy our grip on the actual world?”
3. “Will the increasingly alluring narratives spun out for us by the new digital technologies be as benign and responsible as a nineteenth-century novel or as dangerous and debilitating as a hallucinogenic drug?”
Considering what you’ve already read, what you know about cyberspace narratives, and what Murray discusses in the handout that I provided, write an informed and thoughtful response to one of the above questions. Consider the power of traditional narratives and consider whether cyberspace narratives hold the possibility of even more power or less. Why or why not? What, if any, factors would be necessary in cyberspace narratives to have such potential impact as Murray seems to suggest by even posing such questions?
Take notes on what takes your attention most in Pax and be prepared to discuss this narrative in class.
If you weren’t in class, I’ve placed the remaining handouts in my box in the English Dept office (on same floor as our class).
Hey folks — next week’s assignment is below this post. But you can post your first paper topics here. Please feel free to ask questions of your student colleagues, offer advice, and engage in conversations about your topic. I’ll be responding to student’s proposed topics on this blog — because most of the feedback I typically give is relevant to most students. For more information about the essay itself, click here.
Remember, the best way to begin any paper is by asking a question (such as those I often ask within the blogs). What is it that you want to know more about? Or what particular theme or idea do you want to further explore? Be sure, too, that you will be able to draw relevant connections between the literature you have read and are discussing and contemporary cyberculture/s.
Also — be prepared to talk about your proposed paper topic in class next week. We will be discussing your proposals as a class.
For the next class, please read:
- Wells, H.G. (1940) “The Time Machine,” Chapters I-IV, p.201-236 in The Time Machine & The Wheels of Chance. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. (Handout)
- Borges, Jorge. (1941) The Garden of the Forking Paths.
Consider the following questions, as you read through each, and be sure to address BOTH readings.
- Discuss Well’s description of time travel and the fourth dimension. What parallels does he draw to contemporary cyberspace and/or cyberspace culture? Be sure to include examples.
- What is the significance of the reference in “The Garden of the Forking Paths” to Ts’ui Pen’s labyrinth?
- In what ways does Borges problematize the seeming authority and truth of a history book? How is this significant to contemporary cultural cyberspace perspectives?
- In the “Garden of the Forking Paths,” what non-linear narrative dynamics are at play? Explain and give examples.
- Why does Wells chose to give most of his characters jobs to identify them instead of names? What is the effect of not naming the characters?
- What did Ts’ui Pên mean when he wrote, in his letter, “I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths”? Why is his “garden” absent from some “futures”? Which ones? What role do such letters play in the story, literally and symbolically? Are these letters in any way related to Yu Tsun’s statement, “the future already exists … but I am your friend. Could I see the letter again”?
- How does the time traveler describe the sensations of time travel? And what, if any, fears arise that parallel contemporary concerns? What sort of world does the time traveler enter, and how does it compare to today?
And, as always, feel free to write about anything else that takes your attention in each (that you believe is relevant to this course); just be sure to make those connections explicit and provide textual examples.
After reading the handout with excerpts from The City of the Sun and the four chapters in Frankenstein, consider the following questions. You do not have to answer any specific set of questions, and you are also free to write about something else that takes your attention, but your discussion about each reading should be thoughtful and critical, paying particular attention to themes within both readings that point to contemporary cyberspace culture. Be sure to address BOTH readings, and also engage in a discussion with your student colleagues. Do not merely repeat what another student writes, but rather discuss your own thoughts as they relate to those of others.
* Back up your thoughts with examples and/or quotes from the text!!
1. What kind of world does The City of the Sun seem to describe? In what ways does this narrative seem to inform or reflect human society’s inevitable move toward a cyberspace culture? Provide examples and quotes.
2. Discuss Dr. Frankenstein’s obsession with creating another being as it relates to contemporary issues of science and technology today. What parallels seem to exist between today’s reality and this fictional story? What are the parallel ethical issues? Provide examples and quotes.
3. In what ways does the monster exemplify or seem to describe the contemporary idea of the cyborg? Is the monster an early literary version of the cyborg? Why or why not? Provide examples and quotes.
4. Reflect upon and describe the gendered characteristics, behaviors, and actions described of the people in The City of the Sun and the monster within Frankenstein. In what ways are gender borders being crossed? How do these descriptions parallel contemporary issues of gender, particularly as influenced by the culture of cyberspace? Provide examples and quotes.
5. How is interaction with the reader achieved in Frankenstein and/or The City of the Sun? How is that similar and/or different from an entry in a face book or a myspace journal?
Welcome to the Literature and Culture of Cyberspace Class Blog.
Every week, you will be expected to blog here. Respond to each assignment by clicking on the “comments” link (until someone posts the first comment, it’ll read “no comments”). The assignments will vary – between responses to your readings, thoughts about class discussions, and other assignments. So be sure that you check this blog before each and every class!
I expect you to also engage your fellow classmates in discussions. Be sure to read the comments that precede yours so that you are not merely reiterating a point that has already been made, but are rather adding to, enriching, and expanding the discussion that is taking place.
I am more concerned about quality of writing than quantity. In other words, I will not ask that you write a certain length or amount, but am rather more interested that your responses are critical, thoughtful, and well articulated.
In order to receive credit, you must put your first name on all posts and enter the email address to which you want to receive your grades for each post. I respond to all posts via email to whatever email address you enter, with grades, so be sure to enter the email address you use most often.
Adding additional resources and comments will be looked upon favorably, when the time comes to turn in final grades, and could be particularly useful for those who may need an extra boost at the end of the semester (hint, hint). HOWEVER, adding websites and resources WILL NOT replace your required weekly journal responses. If you are experiencing problems with this online discussion board, please inform me immediately.
* If, after your first or second posting, you do not see your blog post right away, it’s because it has probably gone into moderation (for me to approve), so don’t panic. After a few postings, the blog will then begin to automatically accept your posts without the need for moderator approval.
Please click on “comments” below and acknowledge that you read this blog post; this will also enable me to be sure that posting is working for everyone. Don’t forget to include your first name and email address.