Universität Wien FIND

123426 SE Literary & Cultural Studies Seminar / BA Paper / MA American/North American Lit./Studies (2019W)

Clones & Enhancements: Life Sciences, Fictions, and Imagining the Late Human

11.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work

Registration/Deregistration

Details

max. 18 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 10.10. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 17.10. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 31.10. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 07.11. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 14.11. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 21.11. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 28.11. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 05.12. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 12.12. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 09.01. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 16.01. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 23.01. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13
Thursday 30.01. 18:00 - 20:00 Raum 3 Anglistik UniCampus Hof 8 3E-EG-13

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

In our 21st century present, the boundary between science fictional fantasy and reality seems to be increasingly blurred. On an everyday level, we are surrounded by an 'internet of things' and intelligent virtual assistants, 'augmented reality' and remote steering technology, which enables minimally invasive surgery and drone warfare alike. We witness progress in stem cell technology, DNA-editing and -replication, and discuss whether smart cars may make decisions that kill people. Prosthetic limbs, medical implants, and pharmaceutical augmentation revolutionize how we think of the limits and possibilities of the human body, while climatological studies of the Anthropocene model disconcerting trajectories on the future of planetary ecosphere and the consequences of human speciesism.
Fiction provides a space for imagining such futures, both utopian and dystopian, and invites its audiences to negotiate individual and collective hopes and fears. The aim of this course is to investigate the ‘human question’ by studying a number of philosophical and literary texts as well as films and TV-productions that engage in defining and problematizing humanness. What constitutes life and what makes us human? What separates us from non-human others, and what ethical implications follow for contemporary humanism, once the boundaries of human exceptionalism are drawn into question? And what function may fictional narrative across media and genre conventions have, in coming to terms with such issues?
The class will read and discusses samples of public discourse, fiction, and theoretical texts with an emphasis on biology, pharmacology, and the life sciences in general. The class contextualizes North American cultural production comparatively, and we will consider Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Michel Houllebecq’s Possibilité d’une ile or Serotonine, parts of Margaret Atwood’s MadAddam-Trilogy, and Richard Powers Generosity, as well as a selection of contemporary film and TV-Series (please think in advance about what you’d like to screen and discuss and prepare to make your case for an in-class vote on primary materials).
Throughout the semester, students will practice to work on joint projects for presentations and finish with a final scholarly paper. Class participation requires a willingness to read and screen extensively and to engage with difficult and (as is often the case with artistic imagination) potentially explicit or provocative subject matter.

Assessment and permitted materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Active class participation (10%)
Expert session (15%)
Paper proposal and annotated bibliography (15%)
Final paper (60%)
You need to complete all requirements to acquire credit for the course.

Examination topics

Reading list

(please acquire paper copies and start reading in advance): Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go, Margaret Atwood Oryx and Crake, Richard Powers Generosity

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, BA 612, MA 844;
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.4-322, BA09.2, 10.2, MA5, MA6, MA7;
Lehrinhalt: 12-0406

Last modified: Mo 30.09.2019 19:07