2012-2013: Spring Quarter

ENGL 148AV Society, Culture, and Information : Literature, Art, and Automated Violence (Instructor: James Pulizzi)

This course will look at how violence in the 20th and 21st centuries has moved from human hands to media technologies, or rather the pressing of buttons. We press a button to watch (on TV) or read (on websites) news reports of crimes and terrorist attacks; to buy tickets to Hollywood action movies (or to stream them on our computers); and to launch automated drones or self-guided missiles. The course will pay particular attention to how literary texts, cinema, and video games represent and participate in this automation of violence. Texts will include Highsmith, *The Talented Mr. Ripley,* Burgess, *A Clockwork Orange,* Ballard, *Crash,* McCarthy, *No Country for Old Men.* Films will include *Blowup,* *Peeping Tom,* *Full Metal Jacket,* *No Country for Old Men.*

ENGL 148PG Society, Culture, and Information : Plugged-In Contemporary Novel (Instructor: Scott Selisker)

“Plugged In: Networks in the Contemporary Novel” Particularly since the rise of social media as part of our daily interactions, we think more and more about who we are through the form of the network. Our networks define the reach of our ideas, our access to information and modes of self-expression, and, increasingly, our understandings of power and agency. With regard to the latter, ideas about new networks have shaped the stories we tell about both new manifestations of democracy (Occupy, the 2009 elections in Iran, the Arab Spring) and new forms of control, surveillance, and suppression. In this course we’ll look at a variety of fictional, sociological, philosophical, and non-fictional approaches to networks. The fiction will include contemporary re-imaginings of the early internet and 1970s social movements, science fiction about the power of Anonymous-style collectives, and speculative accounts of the Arab Spring and the 2011 U.K. riots written just after they occurred. Fiction, film, and multimedia work by Karen Tei Yamashita, Daniel Suarez, G. Willow Wilson, Jennifer Egan, Steven Soderbergh, China Miéville, and Ted Chiang.  Requirements: reading long novels carefully, attendance, discussion board posts, and two papers, the second with a creative visualization option.

ENGL 165GS Topics in Literature : Gaming the System (Instructor: Amanda Phillips)

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of video game studies through the lens of control systems and strategies of resistance to the often problematic content and practices of the games industry. The course is part seminar, part workshop that will give students an introduction to the rhetorical devices of video games and virtual spaces and experience in manipulating those devices to design a simple game, game mod, or persuasive virtual environment. Approximately half of the class meetings will engage students in traditional seminar-style lecture and discussion format, with the other half dedicated to guiding student groups in manipulating games to build theoretically-informed projects that will make a persuasive argument about or intervention on a social justice issue of their choice. This will give students experience in connecting theory with praxis, creating collaborative scholarship, working in new modes of literacy, and extending the uses of technology beyond those for which they were originally intended.

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