About FSCT 301
The Purpose of the Blog:
The content of the blog posts should not contain the same information as your response paper. While the blog posts may respond to readings, lectures, I encourage you to utilize the blog as way to voice the creative/technological struggles or highlights one encounters while writing stories and then translating those stories into a different format. Blog posts must be submitted by the following dates:
1st Post – January 29, 2009
2nd Post – February 19, 2009
3rd Post – March 5, 2009
4th Post – March 26, 2009
5th Post – April 30, 2009
Ideally, this blog will become a communal space for the class, one used to address and ponder course themes and to point your peers to interesting materials. You are, of course, expected to read it regularly and are encouraged to post more frequently if the spirit moves you.
Rules of Conduct:
I wanted to quickly say a word about the comments on the blog. While most of the comments that have been posted are useful–meaning they’re comments that expand and continue a dialog with developed ideas–I just want to make sure I define the distinction between useful comments and “That’s cool,” kind of comments.
It is possible to have a surface-level comment such as, “That’s cool,” without it being relegated to those two words. A whole sentence response that acknowledges or agrees or disagrees with a post–without stating why, hence, without developing your idea–is not the kind of comment that will count towards the required total for participation at the end of the semester. It’s not an inherently useful comment that continues the conversation in a real way. If you agree with a post, say why. If you disagree, say why. Even if it’s just a sentence, at least your response will be dynamic, perhaps prompting further conversation, as opposed to static comments that don’t really continue the discussion in any real way.
I just want to make sure that you (the student) aren’t counting one-liner comments towards the required blog posts–since in class on January 29th we decided that if you post one real blog entry, the first required post for example, and then at the next required blog entry on 2/19, you’re allowed to simply comment on other entries, then that’s fine: as long as they’re substantial comments.
Although I don’t want to discourage shorter comments, too, because I realize, as with my own comments, not every post is going to warrant the same kind of response. But you should know that one-liner comments will not count as fulfilling the requirement.
But if you do want your comments to count in the future, you should know to develop your ideas. If you you say agree with a post–take a moment to pick an example from the blog that resonanted with you, and explain why. This goes for posts you don’t agree with as well.
The Purpose of the Course:
FSCT 301 is a hybrid course comprised of creative writing, critical theory, and technological integration that traces the cyborg narrative through visual culture from early modern print culture (William Blake) to stories written in hypertext (Shelley Jackson). Students will respond creatively to the texts and theories addressed in class with Print and New Media technologies that they will learn via workshops set-up during class time.
We will discuss the future of technology in extending bodies, identities and communities, while examining the utopic/dystopic image of a cyborg future. For if, as many argue, stories are the core of human experience, then the stories we tell and how we tell them are central to animations of cyborg life.
The course brings critical study of cyborgs together with New Media technologies in order to tell different kinds of stories (using software such as PhotoShop and Voice Thread) to explore relations between technology and creative expression in crafting forms of life, body and soul. However, being an artist (of the written word, or otherwise) is not a pre-requisite.
Similarly, the core texts encompass a rang of mediums that challenge readers with the way narratives are shaped in (visual) culture:
- Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience — illuminated books of poetry
- Neuromancer by William Gibson — a foundational sci-fi cyberpunk novel
- Patchwork Girl by Shelley Jackson — a re-writing/re-imagining of the Frankenstein story in hypertext
- Sky Doll Vol. 1 by Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci — comic book that depicts a dystopic cyborg future
- Metamorphosis (Kabuki Volume 5) by David Mack — comic book featuring Kabuki, a former female assassin constructing her identity
Key Question Animating the Course:
- How does technology affect thought and creative processes?
- What is the difference between a tool and an extension of ourselves?
- Is the computer simply a tool or is it an integral part of our social and psychological lives, and in what way does the computer affect our awareness of ourselves and our relationship to the world?
- When the computer goes beyond being a tool, do we become cyborgs?
- What counts as “authentic” human experience and what does it mean to be human?
- How has the cyborg narrative been shaped through visual culture?
- To what extent is the cyborg narrative dictated by normative modes of reproduction?
- How do we define “cyborg” in our current cultural experience?