(Mondays, 7-9pm, starting April 9, 2012, 6 weeks)
A class for people who love or fear (or both) their iPad/Kindle/Twitter/Facebook/etc. Readings in the literature and philosophy of communication technology, from Charles Dickens and Henry James to Michel Foucault and Terry Gilliam.
Spaces are limited! Everyone who enrolls before the 4/5 gets a free copy of the director’s cut of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil as well as Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward.
From the telegraph to Twitter, man’s inventions have aspired with increasing ingenuity to contract space and time, bringing people closer together over ever greater distances. Since the invention of early telecommunication in the nineteenth century, writers and artists have pondered the ways that communication technologies have reshaped the social lives of humans—the ways, for example, they change what it means to “reach out and touch someone,” what it means to be a social self. While critics have fretted over the dangers of losing ourselves (and our grammar) to machines, defenders remain fascinated by the practical and conceptual elegance of devices that transport our voices, and thus our selves, to one another. This course will address this persistent fascination in works ranging from classical philosophies of rhetoric and modern media theory to nineteenth-century fiction about telecommunication and dystopian film about the dangers posed by such innovations. We will likely cover works by Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Terry Gilliam, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault and others.
6 Sessions over 6 Weeks
Maeve Adams teaches literature, philosophy and writing at New York University in the Morse Academic Plan (NYU’s core curriculum) and the Tisch School of the Arts. She completed her PhD at NYU in May 2010 in the English Department, where she studied eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, philosophy and history of science. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to literary studies, Maeve’s work retrieves networks of writers–lyric poets and novelists along with scientists and journalists–that developed concepts in common (and competition). Her current book project explores concepts of persuasion and force in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literatures of war, reform and empire–from lyric poetry and the novel to war journalism and statistical writing. Her recent publications have appeared in the Journal of British Studies, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies and a collection of essays on Statistics and the Public Sphere: Numbers and the People in Modern Britain. Maeve enjoys reading about the history of technological invention, watching BBC miniseries and concocting elaborate dinner parties.
For more info on “Telegraphs, Pneumatic Tubes and Teleportation”, please see the Bulletin of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research 1.