Spring 2023

21L.435 Literature and Film: For Better or For Worse? : Fictions of Technology
CMS.840
Caitlyn Doyle MW 3:30-5p 4-253

Prereq: One subject in Literature or Comparative Media Studies
3-3-6 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit

This course examines films and novels that grapple with the role of technology in constructing, disrupting, and transforming human reality. Whether envisioned as the means of averting disaster or precipitating it, enhancing human capacities or diminishing them, technology has come to permeate, not only our daily lives, but also our imaginations. Such fictions of technology extend far beyond the genre of science fiction. From weaponry to food preparation, from fashion photography to advanced surveillance, technology is central to films and novels exploring a remarkable variety of themes. Closely examining films such as My Uncle (1958), Dr. Strangelove (1964), and Melancholia (2011), as well as novels such as The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and The Marrow Thieves (2017), we will examine the dystopic, utopic, and banal possibilities of technological innovation, and its pivotal role in imagining our world and its future. We will further consider the disparate capacities of film and literature—insofar as they are themselves technologies—and the effects that their form has on the meanings that they create and convey.