ENGL289T - Representing Technology/Technologies of Representation
0101-0104 - Jonathan Auerbach

How do we initially understand new technologies, and how do these modern instrumentalities in turn represent us? This course seeks to address this double-edged question by looking at a series of nineteenth-century American, French, German, and British novels and stories from Frankenstein (1818) to Dracula (1897) featuring recently introduced media and inventions such as photographs, phonographs, automata, and motion pictures that are themselves (like works of literature) concerned with reproducing “reality,” including recording various aspects of the human body and human consciousness.  The nineteenth-century in Europe and the U.S. marked the apex of the Industrial Revolution, which impressed upon and suffused daily life with an astonishing range of mechanical innovations and processes that extended the range of the senses and challenged traditional notions of what it meant to be human.


What kinds of complex perspectives do great works of literature offer us about the various ways technology shapes and redefines us—subtle insights involving gender, race, and labor, among other issues,  which inventors, engineers, and scientists might have themselves overlooked or underestimated?