“Frankenstein lives on in the popular imagination as a cautionary tale against technology. We use the monster as an all-purpose modifier to denote technological crimes against nature. When we fear genetically modified foods we call them "frankenfoods" and "frankenfish." It is telling that even as we warn against such hybrids, we confuse the monster with its creator. We now mostly refer to Dr. Frankenstein's monster as Frankenstein. And just as we have forgotten that Frankenstein was the man, not the monster, we have also forgotten Frankenstein's real problem.
According to Bruno Latour, we have Frankenstein all wrong. The man -- Dr. Frankenstein -- was not the monster. And Dr. Frankenstein's downfall was not his hubris to create life but rather his fright that led him to abandon rather than care for his creation.”
And therein lies the lesson for anyone who cares about the future: love and raise your technologies. This is a class in true love.
We will consider the love of technology through many different stories, movies, narratives, and radio productions. Our guiding questions will be why can’t we live without technology? What does technology desire? Why do we perpetually desire technology? Can you love a piece of technology?
Through intensive writing, reading, listening and digital composing, our work will consider the long romance of technologies’ wares and our own hand in making the seductress. This will culminate in a larger understanding of culture, society and technology, where easy binaries are re-composed in this class on love, infatuation and obsession.
Regular attendance in this course is required. If you miss more than two weeks total of this course (2 class meetings), you will not pass the course.
It is your responsibility to get the assignments, class notes, and course changes from a classmate if you do miss a class. It is also your responsibility to complete the missing work. In-class work cannot be made up.
I understand that things happen and you may need to miss a class because you’re sick, you’ve missed your flight back to campus, or you have pressing personal or family issues. The policy above allows for such absences without penalty. If you need to be absent for some extraordinary reason—because of a severe accident or illness, a family emergency or death, a religious holiday or jury duty—please let me know, and we will work something out. For such absences, either prior notification or subsequent documentation will be required.
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, please inform me and the Office of Disability Resources and Services as early as possible in the term. You can reach DRS at (412) 648-7890 or (412) 383-7355 (TTY) and you can visit their office at 216 William Pitt Union. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.
Please turn off your cell phone before class begins and keep it inside your book bag, purse, etc—do not keep it on your desk during class. I do not allow the use of computers, netbooks, tablets, etc. in class unless we are in the studio and I have specifically instructed you to use the computer. If you are socializing online or on your phone (including texting) during class, then you will be considered ABSENT for that class period. Please contact me if you have specific questions about this policy.
Grading Blogs (graded for quality, thoughtfulness, and polish): 5pts per post(8) = 40 points possible
Critical Response Papers 10pts per paper = 20 points possible
Project 1: Memoir 15 points
Project 2: Narrative 15 points
In-class participation (including peer review) 10 points
TOTAL 100 points
Late work—including late or incomplete drafts on workshop days—will be docked one letter grade per day it is late, unless prior arrangements are made with me for extensions, etc. I offer extensions only in extreme circumstances, but please contact me if this applies to you.
Participation in the class consists of short writings in class and on the course blog, peer review, discussion, and your general contribution to the work we do together. Someone with an excellent (A to B) participation grade: • will have attended class and appeared engaged without fail; • will have offered timely, insightful comments to his peers; • will have always brought her readings or other materials to class; • will have contributed regularly and thoughtfully to class discussions both online and offline. • will engage in conversation on the course blog and Twitter, over and above required minimums Some people are more likely to speak up than others and some are more comfortable sharing ideas after they have had more time to process them; for these reasons, I offer both online (that is, written and not time-sensitive) and offline (that is, vocal and real-time) venues in which to participate in the class. It’s normal to be more comfortable in one space than another, but your work as a professional communicator requires that you be proficient in sharing your ideas in real-time, asynchronous, written and face-to-face contexts. Please see me if you have questions about how to participate more actively in any area of the class.