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
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Repeatability:
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)
P
25126
Closed
0
 
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TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
004 (LEC)
P
32673
Open
3
 
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TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
005 (LEC)
P
34674
Open
5
 
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MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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