ENGL 162 Fall 2014 Robots, Puppets, and Dolls (W)

Is Chucky alive? How about Barbie, or Furby? This course explores the persistent human habit of animating simulacra (robots, puppets, and dolls; but also automata, replicants, and cyborgs): a process which in turn animates us, even as it blurs the borders of our identities. We'll study such figures as they appear in art, literature, and film over the last two centuries. Students will also attend a puppet theater, and will work directly with "reborn" dolls and with therapy robots, framing their work with readings in artificial intelligence, neurology (Sacks on human puppets), and psychoanalysis (Freud on the uncanny; Winnicott on transitional objects). Throughout, we will wonder: why this fascination with the almost living? Why do we care more for Wall-E (or for Addy or the Terminator) than we do for so many real people?
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: frequent ungraded exercises; five essays of increasing length and complexity (twenty pages in total); a willingness to experiment with formats and argumentation; active participation
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level English course
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Writing Intensive
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Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 1432
ENGL 162 - 01 (F) SEM Robots, Puppets, and Dolls (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Shawn J. Rosenheim
MWF 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Griffin 5 1432
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