Aug. 31:


Special assignment: before class on Sept. 7, you must attend both an OIT orientation session and a physical tour of Honnold/Mudd library. Be sure to sign in on the class roster at both locations.

1. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Sept. 1:

SCREENING: Frankenstein

Sept. 2:

Frankenstein, pp. 1-70.
Anne Balsamo, "Reading Cyborgs, Writing Feminism: Reading the Body in Contemporary Culture."

In reading "Reading Cyborgs, Writing Feminism" for today, pay close attention to Balsamo's overall argument. Underline or highlight as you read, but don't make any notes for yourself until you're done reading. When you're done, put the essay aside, and write a brief synopsis of the writer's argument (100-200 words). Bring this synopsis to class with you today.

Sept. 7:

Frankenstein, pp. 71-140.
Anne Balsamo, "Reading Cyborgs, Writing Feminism."

Read "Reading Cyborgs, Writing Feminism" a second time before today's class. This time through, pay attention to moments of conflict in the essay. What oppositions are being set up? Does the author propose to resolve those oppositions? If so, how? If not, why not? Again, wait until you're done before making notes for yourself, and then write 1-2 pages about these oppositions. You may consult the essay if you like.

Sept. 9:

Frankenstein, pp. 141-210.
Anne Balsamo, "Reading Cyborgs, Writing Feminism."

Third time's the charm. This time through "Reading Cyborgs, Writing Feminism," make notes as you go along. Read for nuance — what do you notice this time that you didn't notice before? When you're done, look back at these notes and the two earlier pieces of writing you've done. How has your impression of the essay changed? How has reading this essay affected your reading of Frankenstein? Write 2 pages on some idea you're beginning to develop on the connections between these texts.

Sept. 14:

Frankenstein, pp. 211-264.

If you were asked to tell someone who is about to read Frankenstein the most important thing you've discovered about the novel in studying it, the thing that you think will most affect their understand of the novel, what would that thing be? Why is it important? Write 1-2 pages about that important thing, and bring it with you to class.

Sept. 15:

SCREENING: Edward Scissorhands

Sept. 16:

Judith Halberstam and Ira Livingston, "Introduction: Posthuman Bodies."

Do you see important moments of agreement between Halberstam and Livingston's essay and that of Anne Balsamo? Do you see important moments of disagreement? Does Halberstam and Livingston's article affect the ways you think about the idea you began developing for class last time? Write 1-2 pages mulling over your idea and how it is developing.

Sept. 21:

First draft, paper #1 due
In-class workshop

For class today, bring in 4 copies of the first draft of your essay. Your essay should make some argument about Frankenstein, and should draw upon and make reference to "Reading Cyborgs, Writing Feminism" or "Posthuman Bodies" or some other secondary text that illuminates your ideas.

2. Thomas Pynchon's V.

Sept. 23:

V., pp. 1-110.
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto."

First time through, read for the argument. Bring a one-page summary with you to class.

Sept. 28:

V., pp. 111-212.
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto."

Second time through, read for conflict. Bring 1-2 pages of writing about the oppositions contained in Haraway's ideas.

Sept. 29:

SCREENING: Metropolis

Sept. 30:

V., pp. 213-303.
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto."

Third time through, read for nuance. Bring 2 pages of writing exploring your thoughts about the essay and the novel so far. What correspondences or differences do you sense between them?

Oct. 5:

Library session: Meet at Honnold/Mudd
Final draft, paper #1 due

For today, spend some time thinking about an issue that V., the Haraway essay, and Metropolis raise for you. Bring to class the writing that you have done about V. thus far, along with a paragraph or so that describes a question you want to investigate during our library time today. Make this question as specific as possible without being restrictive: "How was the relationship between television and the American housewife described during the 1950s?" might be a good question, for instance, assuming you see some connection to the novel.

Oct. 6:

SCREENING: Eve of Destruction

Oct. 7:

V., pp. 304-392.

For today, find and carefully read at least two essays that your library search on Tuesday has uncovered. Take notes as you read. Write 2 pages considering how the question you were investigating on Tuesday has changed based on what you have read. What now strikes you as potentially most interesting in the ideas raised by the novel, the movies, and the Haraway essay?

Oct. 12:

V., pp. 393-492.

Write a 2-3 page letter to someone important to you -- a friend, a parent, a former teacher, or whomever -- explaining the work we've done in this class so far this semester. How do the ideas that we've raised work together for you? Why do they seem important? How do you convey a sense of that importance to an intelligent, knowledgeable reader who may not be familiar with the texts you're talking about?

Oct. 14:

First draft, paper #2 due
In-class workshop

For class today, bring in 4 copies of the first draft of yoursecond essay. This essay should grow out of your readings of V. and the Haraway essay, the movies we've seen, and the other texts that your research uncovered. You should, in this essay, make a careful argument about the ideas you began exploring in your letter. You must incorporate at least two critical texts into your thinking.

3. Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

Oct. 19:

No class: fall break

Oct. 21:

The Handmaid's Tale, pp. 1-66.
Anne Balsamo, "Public Pregnancies and Cultural Narratives of Surveillance."
Prof. Fitzpatrick out of town

For today, read "Public Pregnancies and Cultural Narratives of Surveillance" at least twice, taking yourself through the same process of noting the essay's argument, its conflicts, and its nuances. Bring to class 1-2 pages in which you think about the essay and your relation to its argument.

Oct. 26:

The Handmaid's Tale, pp. 67-140.
Susan Squier, "Reproducing the Posthuman Body: Ectogenic Fetus, Surrogate Mother, Pregnant Man."

Again, read the Squier essay a minimum of twice. What interactions do you sense between this essay and Balsamo's? Where do they overlap? How do they differ? And what connections are you beginning to make between these essays and The Handmaid's Tale? Bring 2 pages of writing with you to class.

Oct. 28:

The Handmaid's Tale, pp. 141-196.
Donna Haraway, "Animal Sociology and a Natural Economy of the Body Politic: A Political Physiology of Dominance."
Prof. Fitzpatrick out of town

Does Haraway have a different perspective on the issues that Balsamo and Squier raise? How would you characterize her argument? Spend about a page or so mulling over some aspect of these three essays that intrigues or troubles you.

Nov. 2:

The Handmaid's Tale, pp. 197-264.
Final draft, paper #2 due

Choose any text that we've already covered this semester -- any of the novels, the essays, or the films -- and write a page or so considering how your knowledge of that text affects your readings of The Handmaid's Tale and the essays we've read along with it.

Nov. 4:

The Handmaid's Tale, pp. 265-311.

Before today's class, go to the library and find at least three articles related to the ideas you're beginning to develop about The Handmaid's Tale. At least one of these essays must come from an academic journal; the others may come from more popular sources. How do these article affect your readings of the novel and the essays we've read alongside it?

Nov. 5:


Nov. 9:

First draft, paper #3 due
In-class workshop

As usual, bring 4 copies of your essay to class with you today. This essay should revolve around ideas raised for you by the readings we've done, and by your own research.

4. Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game

Nov. 10:


Nov. 11:

Ender's Game, pp. 1-96.
Mark Seltzer, "The Love Master."

Bring a 1-2 page synopsis and consideration of Seltzer's essay. What strikes you as interesting or enlightening about it?

Nov. 16:

Ender's Game, pp. 97-172.
Klaus Theweleit, "Male Bodies and the 'White Terror'," pp. 142-206.

It might be hard to tell at this point, but what strikes you as being the most important part of Theweleit's argument so far? How does it shed light on the other readings we've done? Write a page or so.

Nov. 18:

Ender's Game, pp. 173-254.
Klaus Theweleit, "Male Bodies and the 'White Terror'," pp. 206-269.

Any changes to what you wrote for class last time? How would you connect this essay to some of the things we've read earlier in the semester?

Nov. 23:

Ender's Game, pp. 255-349.
Steffen Hantke, "Surgical Strikes and Prosthetic Warriors: The Soldier's Body in Contemporary Science Fiction."

Final draft, paper #3 due

Having read Ender's Game and three essays alongside it, and having the benefit of the reading you've done all semester, as well as that in other classes you're taking, what strikes your interest here? Write 2 pages mulling over some idea you're in the process of developing.

Nov. 25:

No class: Thanksgiving

Nov. 30:

First draft, paper #4 due
In-class workshop

You know the drill. 4 copies of an essay that revolves around an idea you've developed in response to Ender's Game and the three essays we've read with it.

Dec. 1:

SCREENING: Terminator

Dec. 2:


N. Katherine Hayles, "Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers."

This is the last piece of reading we'll do this semester. How would your perspective on this essay have been different at the beginning of the semester? How would you sum up the work you've done?

Dec. 7:


Final paper due no later than 5:00 p.m.