Humans, Monsters, and Machines in Film and Literature
Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.
Monsters and cyborgs frighten and intrigue by being both different from and similar to ourselves. From Frankenstein and Metropolis to Ex Machina and Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters, they represent the all too easy blurring of the boundary between the human and the inhuman. Students in this course will study narratives on the borderline of the human subject in film, literature, television, and popular culture. They will acquire the analytical skills to draw comparisons, locate distinctions, and craft arguments about how story-making matters to conceptions of sexuality, disability, technology, and difference.
This multimedia seminar focuses on humans, monsters, and machines as categories that shift, expand, contract, and frequently overlap. The similarly permeable border with the human subject that monsters and cyborgs /androids/robots share is popular theme in literature and film, one which reveals a great deal about how a society defines humanity through the construction of narratives about what lies just beyond it. In addition to weekly writing assignments, students will trace the origins of a monster or machine of their own choosing, using the resources of the Rockefeller Library to contextualize the life of their chosen creature over the course of its history.
This course will serve as a transition into college-level research, writing, and interdisciplinary study, with an emphasis on acquiring new vocabulary and sharpening reading, writing and speaking skills. Students will receive guidance into what goes into independent research and will improve their oral communication skills by preparing a brief presentation of their research for the class.
Students in this course will learn to engage across media formats. They will also have guided instruction on conducting research with primary and secondary sources. Through a focus on narrative formation, this course will help students to be better writers and readers of a variety of texts.