ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Section: 004 Virtual Realities: The Novel and Digital Worlds
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Long before the advent of digital life, the novel was a key technology and art form for immersing readers in real and imagined worlds. The and now, the novel has held out the promise of encounters with historical actors and far-away spaces, and of opportunities to know the inner lives of others and strangers. This course considers the continuing power of this promise, in both textual and current technological—virtual reality, or VR—forms. Working with earlier texts (which may include Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Richard Wright’s Native Son) and contemporary novels (e.g., Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Haruki Murikami’s iQ84), alongside VR texts that also aim to put us “inside” real-time experiences of displacement, migration, social inequality, and radical change, we’ll explore what it means across media to attempt to know or connect imaginatively with lives beyond our own. What kind of immersive experience have novels aimed to create? How do the aesthetics of VR world-making mimic or challenge the strategies of the novel? Most centrally, we’ll be concerned with the way narrative and VR texts alike encourage, or resist, the cultivation of empathy in our encounters with other subjects and worlds, and we’ll consider critical understandings of empathy and immersion and their limits in readings on the novel and VR environments and practice. A significant portion of our work will take place in a virtual reality classroom/lab, where we’ll develop collaborative strategies for exploring VR and multi-media texts, accounting for that experience, and responding critically to it. No previous experience with VR or digital platforms is required—just interest, curiosity, and a willingness to experiment. Class requirements will include weekly writings/postings, collaborative class work, a midterm, and a final project.

ENGLISH 313 - Topics in Literary Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
004 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
005 (LEC)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for ENGLISH 313.004

View/Buy Textbooks
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ENGLISH 313 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)