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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 314J • Literature and Technology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33570 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Radley, N

Course Description

Computer assisted instruction.

"Literature and Technology" is a course about the relationship between literature and machines. The course is a semester-long study of how changes in technology can change the stories told by a society. Class members will make connections across time and across different kinds of texts, always with an eye towards "tools" and "machines." Throughout the semester, we will connect current digital technologies and metaphors to diverse technological periods. We will consider both traditional literatures and online genres, such as fan fiction. This course follows closely from the techno-critical approach of N. Katherine Hayles in How We Became Post-Human: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics.

Unit 1: Technology and Travel: We will consider the technologies that have mobilized humans across land and sea and beyond our planet, considering the cultural influence of cars, boats, planes, and spaceships.

Unit 2: The Mind and the Machine: How do cameras and televisions affect behavior, language, and, ultimately, the mind?

Unit 3: Technology and the Creation of Texts: In this unit, we will consider the historical technologies used to create texts: pen and ink, printing press, images, typeface, etc. We will also examine processes used to create digital texts: template, software, interface, hyperlink, html code, etc.

Grading Policy

Blog/Forum writing (10%); Wiki assignment (10%); Group Presentation (10%); One-page papers (3) (15%); Essay 1.1 (5%); Essay 1.2 (revision of 1.1) (15%); Essay 2 (15%); Essay 3 (20%).


Thomas More Utopia; Thomas Pynchon Vineland,; one self-selected science fiction text; online readings; handouts.


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