English | Projects In Reading and Writing: The Machine Inside Me
W170 | 3138 | Gross

TOPIC:		The Machine Inside Me: Changing Notions of the
Cyborg in the 20th and 21st Century
INSTRUCTOR:	Deanna Gross

7529		TR	2:30pm – 3:45pm	SB 220
3138		TR	4:00pm – 5:15pm	KH 200
Have you ever tried to imagine what your life would be like without
your computer, cell-phone, or television? What would the world be
like? In the 21st Century, we are increasingly attached to these and
other modes of technology, a dependence that makes life without them
difficult to picture. But would we go so far as to say our cell-
phone headsets are part of our body, or our keyboards are extensions
of our fingers? This class centers on the figure of the “cyborg,”
traditionally conceived as a cultural monster, half man-half
machine, as a tool to help us think about how technology in our
everyday lives affects how we see our bodies and how we interact in
society. As a composition course, we will use writing as a primary
mode of inquiry: smaller reading exercises, blog entries, and
microthemes will help build dexterity with tools for analysis and
close reading of  texts, while extending an eye towards the larger
papers. The first paper analyzes a magazine cover, the second
compares two historically different texts, a short story and an
episode of a television series, and the final revolves around a
contemporary technological issue that students must research to
develop their own argument. Finally, by combining multidisciplinary
fictional accounts (stories, film, and television) with non-
fictional reports (newspaper and magazine articles and covers), we
will think critically about how the cyborg is not just a figure of
science fiction and fantasy, but a way of thinking about our
society’s relationship to technology that may even change the way we
see our own bodies.