Fall 2014 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Terranova, Charissa
Discipline and Number
HUAS 7305 Section 001
M Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Critical Studies in Art & Scienc

Description of Course:


SCIENCE FICTIONS-- Art-and-Science Hybrids

If we take the phrase “science fiction” in its most literal sense, we find an area of invention that is a bit more expansive than stories of extraterrestrials, planetary exploration, and otherworldly intrigues. This is not in any way to diminish the bountiful convention of such imaginative forays into fiction writing, but rather to open up the genre as it plays more fundamentally on the word “fiction,” from the Latin fingere, meaning “to form.” The goal is to use scientific ideas in order to stake out new terrains of thinking. From this perspective we might think of the field in the plural as “science fictions” in order to tease out a broader scope of writing formed and informed by scientific ideas. Examples include but are not limited to: science journalism, cultural studies theory, new media theory, philosophies of science, the history of science, art and architectural history borne on scientific ideas, traditional science fiction, short fantasy fiction, and realist and/or historic fiction in which scientific ideas carry the plot.

This class focuses on a general theme of the art and craft of writing art-and-science textual hybrids. We will approach the class through a broad and pluralized definition of science fiction as “science fictions.” The word "fiction" here hews closely to its Latin root fingere, meaning to form, fashion, or create.

The class investigates the roll of language in reframing, rethinking, and/or thwarting the presupposition that “man is a machine.” In this context the phrase “science fictions” helps us to understand the biological and wet interconnections between living and non-living matter and, by connection, the ecological nature of putative mind and consciousness.

Readings will range from actual science and fantasy fiction to popular science writing/science journalism to art-and-science-theory hybrids and new media theory. This course does not require a background in creative writing.

Required Texts:


Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students are required to attend every class, complete all assignments (reading, writing, and presentations), and participate with candor and commitment in class. Students are allowed one unexcused absence after which each absence will result in the lowering of the final grade by one full letter. Students with illnesses that require extended periods of absence are encouraged to officially withdraw from the class.

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