2011-2012: Winter Quarter

ENGL 122NW: Cultural Representations: Narratives of War (Instructor: Rita Raley)
This course examines twentieth-century narratives of war from the perspective of our contemporary moment. It thus does not aim to be historically comprehensive; instead our reading will be focused on certain questions and themes, including smart war; total war; just war; military intervention; models of the enemy; trauma; and the reformulation of human rights in the context of the “war on terror.” Print narratives will include Pat Barker, Regeneration (and short selections of WWI poetry by Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen); Joe Sacco, Safe Area Goražde: The War in Eastern Bosnia, 1992-1995; Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried; Etel Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose; and others. Theory and criticism will include Ernst Friedrich, Jordan Crandall, Paul Virilio, James Der Derian, Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, and Manuel De Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. Films will include Apocalypse Now and West Beirut. Games and other media projects will include September 12; Antiwargame; America’s Army; Full Spectrum Warrior; and Baghdad <> San Francisco. (Media projects such as The Great Game will illuminate the shift from representation to information visualization.) We will also consider the rhetoric and function of war reporting and discuss excerpts from films such as The Mills of the Gods, War Feels Like War, Gunner Palace and Jarhead.

ENGL 197: Upper-Division Seminar: Simulation & Simulacra (Instructor: Rita Raley)
Simulation is everywhere around us: whether it be in the form of cultural fantasy (The Matrix, Inception), game spaces (Second Life, the Sims), non-virtual places (Disneyland), or VR training exercises, simulation seems to be the dominant mode, genre, and technique of the 21C. With a particular focus on virtuality and the “real,” this seminar will explore simulation through the writing of Jean Baudrillard and Plato, with a bit of Andy Warhol and Gilles Deleuze. Our examples will be drawn from film, speculative fiction, and games and we will be discussing virtual environments, virtual pets, surrogates, military training, and reality television as well. Work by William Gibson, Tom McCarthy, Philip K Dick, Lauren Beukes, Robert Venditti, and others.

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