English 112. Cyberspace, Virtual Reality, and Critical Theory

Professor Landow

Although English 112 extends some of the same concerns that informed English 111, Hypertext and Literary Theory, they are essentially separate courses. After beginning with the implications of digital information technology for culture and the arts, we shall focus on several main themes, such the nature of cyberspace, virtuality, prostheses, and the relations between human and machine. Members of the course can expect to read relevant theorists, including Baudrillard, Benedickt, Derrida, Haraway, Moulthrop, and Stone, and contemporary reactions in fiction and film to the idea of information regimes in which the reader-viewer finds herself surrounded by data, or immersed in it, rather than facing it (as one does a book or computer screen).

Readings will include Jean Baudrillard, Simulations, Pat Cadigan, Synners, Cyberspace: First Steps (ed. Benedikt), William Gibson¹s Neuromancer trilogy, Donna J. Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women, Rudy Rucker, Software and Wetware. Materials viewed will include Blade Runner, examples of Japanese animé, such as Bubblegum Crisis, and videos of VR systems and experiments.

Written assignments will take the form of both essays and more unusual exercises, such as those one might encounter in a MOO, MUD, or other embodiment -- note the implied analogy! -- of cyberspace.

In addition to the usual class meetings, the course has occasional evening sessions devoted to computer labs or video screenings. Follow for syllabus.

Cyberspace Web Hypertext