Author: Joe Montgomery

Graduate student in literature and teaching of writing at Eastern Michigan University.

Looking Forward to Next Year

I just had my last class period with my English 121 class yesterday, and I’ll be grading their final portfolios over the weekend. I’ve already spent some time, obviously, thinking about what I want to do next year in terms of online platforms in my classes. However, there’s still quite a bit of planning to do, and I’ve realized how important it is not to think about the online component of the course separately from the rest of the course. As Julie Maloni writes in her Profhacker post, I have to “integrate”: When “blogging is part of the course requirements, it clearly plays a role in meeting the goals of the class, and you support and provide feedback to the students with regards to their blogging to the same extent that you would their essays and exams,” then students will treat blogging with the same commitment that they would more traditional assignments. This is the part I have to figure out in much greater detail: how can I make blogging play a role in helping students achieve the course outcomes? 

That question has to hold off a bit until I figure out exactly what the course outcomes are, as this summer will see the implementation of some changes to the first-year writing program at Eastern. We’ll be adopting a new book (probably Understanding Rhetoric by Losh, Alexander, Cannon, and Cannon), which will structure the semester for me a little bit, and which I think the students will really enjoy. We’re also introducing new, course-specific (rather than program-wide) outcomes, which will help to differentiate the two courses I’ll be teaching next year. My specific plan for using the blog will depend, to an extent, on these changes. 

That being said, I think I can begin laying out some questions that I need to answer over the summer as next year’s syllabi begin to take shape:

  • Do I want to use blogging in both English 120 and 121? Is blogging useful for the purposes of 120? How will I use them differently in each class if I use it in both classes? I’ll probably have at least a few students carry over from 120 into 121. If I keep the basic plan the same, then the returning students could potentially be relieved at not having to learn a new system, and they could teach the other students how to do it. All I’d have to do is change the prompts to fit the course outcomes and maintain the returning students’ interest.
  • Do I want to continue using the hub-and-spoke model? Or do I want to adopt a more singular, centralized model? I currently have a course blog (the hub) and then each student has their own blog. This seems to be working out, and could be tweaked to make it better. Students can feel more ownership over the presentation of their work, down to the color of their blog’s background. On the other hand, there are some benefits to having a single class blog, like this one from Jay Clayton’s first-year writing seminar: it gets updated at least once a day, it’s easier to assess, it’s easier for peers to comment, and it’s more likely to reach a wider audience. Dr. Clayton told me that his class blog gets thousands of hits from all over the world, which helps to reinforce the idea of writing for an audience.
  • Do I want to continue using tumblr? It has its benefits. It’s easy to make, it’s attractive, it’s easy for an outside audience to start following it, and at least a few students in each class will be familiar with it. But of course, it has drawbacks as well. It doesn’t have built-in comments, though there might be a way, especially if I do a single class blog, to fix that. Otherwise each student would have to add a question mark at the end of each title, which isn’t always rhetorically appropriate. I also know from experience that students don’t give their writing on tumblr the same attention to detail that they give traditional assignments. This might be different in a slightly more formal space, like WordPress. 

That’s all I can think of for now. Now I must turn my attention to the reflective essay that’s due today in English 516. It’s a reflection on my attempt to create a plan for tumblr next year, which I’ve already done here, on the blog, and I’ll also be reflecting on this, the blog, which is weird, because I’m sort of reflecting on the blog now… in the blog… 

All is contained within the blog; all of the blog is contained in all.

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My Student’s Opinions on Tumblr

I’ve already written a post on my preliminary feelings about tumblr. Today, I surveyed my students to see how they felt about it. 16 of my 19 students completed the survey. The results were not all that surprising.

The strongest sentiment overall was that requiring two posts a week was too much. 11 of the 16 surveys expressed a desire for fewer posts. The other 5 said that 2 a week was fine. The majority of respondents felt that one a week was a good pace. A few said that the posts should be longer, to make up for posting less frequently, and a few said that more of the other assignments in the class should be posted on tumblr.

I asked whether they felt tumblr was helpful to their learning or if it helped them to do their other assignments. 7 said that it was not helpful; 5 said it was helpful. 4 did not have a response to that question. 2 of those who felt it was not helpful still thought it was a cool idea. And 1 of them thought that Facebook would have been better than tumblr. Only 2 people of the 16 respondents were absolutely opposed to using tumblr.

The other question I asked was whether they would like to see more or less specific prompts. The plurality (5/16) wanted more specificity, 4/16 were fine with the level of specificity that we had, and 2/16 wanted less specificity. That’s not a whole lot of statistical variation, but it leans slightly towards wanting more specificity.

This survey is very informal, not very statistically significant, and probably somewhat biased due to the way I worded the questions… but with those caveats in mind, it’s helpful to see that my students feel, very generally, the same way I do: next year’s students would benefit from less frequent, but more significant and more specific, posts.

Lessons from My First Time Using Tumblr

Tonight I’ll be giving a presentation to my English 516 class about my experiences and plans for using Tumblr in first-year writing. I’ll be doing a survey of my students on Thursday to get their final thoughts on their experiences, but the presentation is today, so here’s what I’ve thought about thus far.

Untitled drawing (3)

I call this “the Chelsea Lonsdale font.”

This semester, I had my students create tumblr accounts and post twice a week to tumblr. Whether they wrote something original or reblogged something, they had to write roughly 150-200 words in each post. I sometimes gave prompts, but for the most part, they were directed to post anything they felt was relevant to their research and writing. Here are some of the takeaways:

  • My students had a hard time keeping up with two posts a week. Most of them kept up, but a lot of them didn’t like it or feel that it was a reasonable work load. Given that this is a first year course, I could probably reduce the posting rate. This would give me more of an opportunity to actually read and respond to more of their posts.
  • I needed to provide more specific prompts more often. The open-ended nature of their tumblr requirements made it so they were less likely to remember to post, and their posts had less to do with one another. With specific prompts, they’ll all be writing about similar things, and will be more likely to reblog or comment on each other’s writing. It will also make it easier to bring the blogs into our face-to-face conversations.
  • Comments need to be possible and required. This is where tumblr is particularly frustrating; tumblr posts don’t automatically allow comments. Using a more traditional blogging platform, like WordPress, would make it easier to comment. My students did sometimes reblog each other’s posts, but I think there would have been more conversation if they could just comment. Reblogs are a different rhetorical situation than comments, so I don’t think they can take the place of comments.
  • I need to either make the blogs a more central part of the class or get rid of them. A few of my students commented on their midterm evaluations that they felt their tumblrs were pointless. While many of them saw value in the personal work that they were able to do on tumblr, it would have been much more meaningful if I had referenced their blog posts in class more often. This follows from my second point, too. It’s hard to reference their work in front of the whole class when one person’s post is only really relevant to that one person.
  • Overall, I need a more specific plan for what sorts of work I want the students to be doing on their blogs. This semester, I expected them to do everything at all times with their blogs: find and generate ideas for their research, maintain a sort of annotated bibliography, communicate with one another, help each other with writing, etc. I think all of that can still happen, but I need to give prompts detailing the specific work I want done each week or each posting period.
  • I think the blogs should take the place of more of the work in the class. I had my students do a lot of small writing assignments over the course of the semester that could have taken place online, with more opportunity for peer feedback. This would be beneficial both for me and for the students.
  • Blogging, just like any other pedagogical tool, can’t be an afterthought. It has to be an integral part of the overall framework for the class.

Here are some of the resources that have helped me thus far in thinking about where I want to take classroom blogging next year:

 

Notes for Discussion: “Becoming a Public Scholar”

Tomorrow, the English Graduate Student Association here at EMU will be hosting a roundtable discussion entitled “Becoming a Public Scholar: Creating and Maintaining an Effective Scholarly Identity Online.” The first half of the title plays on the dual meaning of “becoming”: both the process of beginning to be and the state of being appropriate in a given context. This suggests the possibilities engendered by engaging in online communities and the risks posed by making our lives available online.

I felt that this is a particularly pressing issue for academics who are around my age, but maybe it’s equally relevant to older and younger scholars as well. I had my first “website” on Geocities when I was ten, maintained a Xanga blog during high school, and have had a Facebook account since 2006. In other words, if someone wanted to find every embarrassing, offensive, or overly personal thing I’ve ever said, they probably could. Now that I’m beginning to blog, tweet, and tumbl (?) in an attempt at professional networking, in spaces that are or could be visible to my students, my professors, potential employers, etc., how I comport myself online seems more important than ever.

I’ve also begun blogging (that’s what this is!) recently, and I wanted to hear from other people to know how blogging has worked for them. Chelsea Lonsdale will be present to talk about her experiences with blogging, and I hope some other people will be willing to share their experiences. I know some other grad students who are starting or will start blogs soon will be there to learn about it.

With those two main topics in mind, here are some of the questions that I’m posing for the discussion:

Social Media

  • How porous is the boundary between personal/private and professional/public?
  • Can I still have fun with social media?
  • What are the best social media sites to use for professional networking?

Blogging

  • What is a research blog?
  • Should I blog about reading that I’m doing?
  • Should I blog my work in progress?
  • Is blogging a good use of time?
  • Does anyone use blogs anymore?

I also want to discuss, if we have time, the possibility of creating an EGSA blog that could link to student, faculty, and alumni blogs and social media accounts.

Unbeknownst to me at the time that I started thinking about this discussion, but beknownst to me now, there was a Profhacker article a few years ago with an uncannily similar title: “Creating and Maintaining a Professional Presence Online: A Roundup and Reflection.” If one of my students had done that, I’d be talking with them about plagiarism. Anyway, the reason that I found that article is that I’m preparing for the discussion tomorrow and wanted to post some of the resources I’m finding, both for those who are attending and for those who can’t. So there’s that article. There’s also these Profhacker articles (they write about this issue a lot). All of these articles have links to other resources, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.

I’ll try to take good notes and write a post this weekend about what we discussed.

An Introduction to Posthumanism

“The nature of thought itself must change if it is to be posthumanist”

Tomorrow I will be giving a lecture on posthumanism to one of the English 300W classes that I TA for. I wanted to give this particular lecture because it’s something I’ve spent a lot of time reading and thinking about over the last few years, but especially this semester, and it corresponds to assignments I’ve written for my Computers and Writing course.

The students will have read (or at least, I hope, glanced at) the first few pages of the introduction to Cary Wolfe’s 2009 book What is Posthumanism? It’s the eighth book in the Univeristy of Minnesota Press’s Posthumanities series, also edited by Wolfe, which includes books by Timothy Morton (who came to EMU two years ago for the JNT dialogue), Donna Haraway, and Jacques Derrida (reprinted posthumanly, er, posthumously).

(Yes, I just included the list of authors so I could make that joke.)

Wolfe begins by differentiating between the two primary categories of posthumanism. The first, the more philosophical, we might say, is best stated by Foucault: “man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end” (qtd. xii). I’ll get to that in a second. The second, the more technological, draws on Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto,” which “engages science-fictional thematics of hybridity, perversity, and irony (her terms) that are, you might say, radically ambivalent in their rejection of both utopian and dystopian visions of a cyborg future” (xiii). This is the “‘cyborg’ strand of posthumanism,” which is most evident in “what is now being called ‘transhumanism'” (xiii), “a belief in the engineered evolution of ‘post-humans'” (Garreau, qtd. xiii).

Robocop (1987)

So basically, this.

The problem with transhumanism, and even of some critiques of transhumanism, is that it “derives directly from ideals of human perfectibility, rationality, and agency inherited from Renaissance humanism and the Enlightenment” (xiii). Foucault troubles the equatability of humanism and Enlightenment ideals, which I won’t go into, but basically, according to Wolfe, “transhumanism should be seen as an intensification of humanism” because it intensifies the “humanity/animality” dichotomy” (xv). In transhumanist thinking, we seek to separate ourselves even further from nature, animal, and even embodiment, through technological evolution.

Here’s where we build on Foucault. Wolfe goes on to explain his particular brand of posthumanism, which is “analogous to” Lyotard’s postmodern: it comes before and after. I’ll quote at length here, because it’s… well, it’s perfect. Posthumanism comes

before [humanism] in the sense that it names the embodiment and embeddedness of the human being in not just its biological but also its technological world, the prosthetic coevolution of the human animal with the technicity of tools and external archival mechanisms (such as language and culture). . . . But it comes after [humanism] in the sense that posthumanism names a historical moment in which the decentering of the human by its imbrication in technical, medical, informatic, and economic networks is increasingly impossible to ignore, a historical development that points toward the necessity of new theoretical paradigms (but also thrusts them on us), a new mode of thought that comes after the cultural repressions and fantasies, the philosophical protocols and evasions, of humanism as a historically specific phenomenon. (xv-xvi)

The “before” suggests the message of N. Katherine Hayles’ book How We Became Posthuman, which is that (ironically, given the title), “we have always been posthuman.” To put it another way, each human individual, since the first one, has existed within ecologies of other biological beings, as well as ecologies of technology and culture that extend well beyond that individual’s body. From a humanist perspective, the selfhood of each individual would be defined in opposition to its surroundings through the construction of binaries: human/nature, individual/society, etc. From a posthumanist perspective, though, drawing on postmodern thinking, those binaries are highly unstable.

The “after,” then, explains why we’re talking about this now. As Bruno Latour writes in Reassembling the Social, “information technologies . . . make visible what was before only present virtually” (207). Even since Wolfe wrote this book, the increasing use and awareness of smartphones, data mining, government surveillance, etc. has, I would say, moved this line of thinking even more into the mainstream. 

All this is to say that our modes of thinking and speaking, of experiencing and organizing our experiences, are built upon the unstable binaries that underpin humanist thinking. Wolfe argues that “the nature of thought itself must change if it is to be posthumanist” (xvi). He goes on to say that

the point [of posthumanism] is not to reject humanism tout court—indeed there are many values and aspirations to admire in humanism—but rather to show how those aspirations are undercut by the philosophical and ethical frameworks used to conceptualize them. (xvi)

So anyway…

How does one introduce the concept of posthumanism to sixteen sophomores and juniors who’ve never heard of it before reading Wolfe’s introduction, which is, I think, quite dense in its use of philosophical language and references to other texts that the students won’t be familiar with. Luckily, we’re reading Frankenstein, so I’ll draw heavily on the book to help illustrate the difficult concepts in Wolfe’s piece.

I’ll start, I think, by tying the idea of posthumanism to the students’ everyday lives. How might we think of ourselves as more or less human than our great grandaparents? The transhumanist idea of “human plus” is a simple way of describing technological enhancement, and I think it’s easy to conceptualize the ways in which we’re distributing formerly human activities to various prostheses, like smart phones and drones.

At this point, it’s important to consider the ways that “we’ve always been posthuman.” I’d mention that, genetically, humans are only a 1% “human.” And we’ve always been embedded in human and non-human ecologies, and we’ve always used tools, though these tools have grown exponentially powerful over the last few centuries. Which brings up the important point: if we’ve always been posthuman, then what’s the point in talking about posthumanism?

The answer, for me, is that posthumanism provides a corrective for the problems of humanist thinking: binaries that establish power structures, the universalization of the Western, liberal subject, the conception of the individual as existing apart from non-human actors.

I like Wolfe’s way of categorizing posthumanism. There’s plenty of overlap between the two main categories, but it’s a helpful dialectic for introducing the wide variety of posthumanist concepts. Related to this distinction, I’d like to pose some questions to my students about Frankenstein:

post_human

How do we conceptualize Frankenstein’s scientific pursuits? Is he a humanist? A transhumanist? A posthumanist? What are some examples of ways that he might be each?

How do we conceptualize the monster? Is he transhuman? Posthuman? Does his existence reify or problematize humanist ideals? What about his desire for a mate?

We can also situate Frankenstein historically, thinking about the history of rationality, empiricism, and political revolution. And we can think about how Frankenstein genders the human/nature binary, using sexual imagery to conceptualize scientific discovery.

I’m very excited about this class tomorrow. I wrote a paper on this very topic entitled “The Possibilities of the Posthuman: Ecological Feminism, Gendered Humanism, and Frankenstein’s Cyborg,” which I presented at the Science Fiction Research Association conference in 2012. I’m not sure how excited the students will be to talk about these issues, but if they don’t want to join the discussion, I could lecture for hours. Not that that’s what I want to do. In fact, my theory is that the confidence of knowing that I have plenty to say on a given topic endows me with a higher tolerance for awkward silence when the students won’t talk, which eventually (the theory goes) forces them to start talking. I’ll post an update after class.

Laura Otis on History, Science, and Literature

This is a follow-up to my last post, in which I talked a little bit about an article by Jay Clayton. Both Clayton and the following author will be stopping by Eastern Michigan to take part in the JNT Dialogue next week, so I’m doing a bit of reading and summarizing to help myself (and any fellow grad students who might see this) to better prepare for the professors’ visit.

In her 2010 article in the History of Science Society journal Isis, “Science Surveys and Histories of Literature: Reflections on an Uneasy Kinship,” Laura Otis calls for greater crossover between the study of literature and the study of the history of science.

Both fields, literary studies and science history, “build worthwhile knowledge” through a “focus on textual analysis” (572). Though the texts that each fields studies might vary, they are always “fictions, stories that are actively made” (573), even though we often think of scientific writing in strictly empirical terms. Since “knowledge about the past can be accessed only through fictions” (573), the close reading tools developed in literary studies are of great use to historians. Such close reading “plays an essential role in both fields: the ability to detect patterns and to resist tempting stories” (575).

Otis briefly illustrates the way that “patterns of metaphor,” to use one literary feature, provide evidence for an understanding of the evolution and migration of ideas (574). She writes about how in the mid 1800s, neuroscientists described neural networks using the metaphor of telegraph networks. “By the 1890s, however,” this metaphor was rejected in favor of more organic metaphors” (574). By practicing close reading, historians of science can draw conclusions about how, to paraphrase George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, people thought and perceived the world (574).

Image

Laura Otis. With a bike. I’m really looking forward to meeting these people.

While these two fields have much in common with one another, each field also must work on its “relationship with the people practicing or creating its objects of study: history of science departments, with scientists; and English departments, with creative writers” (575). This resonates with me personally. When I tell people I’m a literature major, I often get the follow-up question, “oh, so you like to write? (as in fiction).” Well yes, I do, but that’s not the point. And moreover, I frequently feel the burden that Otis describes in an interview with Emory Magazine: “I was raised with the idea that science is work and literature is play.” I don’t know if I was raised with this idea, but while many of my friends have gone on to become computer scientists and engineers (and make, you know, money), I’m still in school, learning how to write about writing.

I’m happy with my decision, right?

Anyway… This article is primarily interested in epistemology. Since the physical evidence of the episteme of any given historical moment is produced through social processes (it is manufactured) in much the same way as other cultural products, then the tools for understanding the construction of knowledge within the sciences, for producing an epistemology, are similar to the tools for understanding the construction of meaning within literature, for producing a reading. Though the process of interpretation is more valued in the field of literature, “[b]oth scientific and literary studies involve input from the observer, and both require interpretation” (572). And most scholars, in both fields, are “epistemologically self-aware, actively questioning the kind of knowledge they’re building” (573).

Both this piece by Otis and the Clayton article I wrote about yesterday call for communication and cross-pollination between disparate fields, both inside and outside the academy. Whereas Clayton wants science fiction authors (and their interpreters) to join the public policy conversation about bioethics alongside scientists, Otis wants historians, literary scholars, scientists, and creative writers to talk to one another and share methodologies.

One question for Dr. Otis:

Does the sharing of ideas and methodologies among disparate academic fields have larger policy or other societal implications, as it does for Dr. Clayton?

Jay Clayton on Literature & Science

It just so happens that next week the Journal of Narrative Theory (JNT) at Eastern Michigan will be hosting a dialogue on… exactly what I’m interested in learning more about right now. The JNT has invited Jay Clayton of Vanderbilt and Laura Otis of Emory to come speak “about cognitive science, genetics, and the literary imagination.” I’m really looking forward to all of the events: the colloquium on Tuesday, in which students and faculty will discuss some articles by the invited speakers, the dialogue itself on Thursday, and the opportunity to have coffee with the speakers the afternoon of the dialogue. In preparation for the events, particularly the colloquium, I’m reading through the articles provided by the JNT, and I’ll be writing about these articles (and some others, if I have time) on this blog, beginning with…

scienceclipart

Jay Clayton’s “The Ridicule of Time: Science Fiction, Bioethics, and the Posthuman” from last summer’s American Literary History. In the article, he makes the case for including literary voices in discussions of the ethics of biotechnology.

Clayton begins by saying that science fiction has had “a pervasive but unexamined influence on” bioethics (318). Most people assume “that SF warns against the consequences of biotechnology,” when in fact it is “overwhelmingly positive about the possibility of transforming the human” (319). He admits that the most famous SF novels, and films as well, are dystopian, like “Brave New World and Oryx and Crake” (319), and that the SF work that is optimistic about the posthuman falls largely within the “90 or 95 percent of SF production” that “is strictly perishable” (Suvin, qtd. 319). However, from a public policy standpoint, this mass of “popular, ‘low,’ or plebian” (Suvin, qtd. 319) fiction is important, because it represents “a significant strand in our culture” (319), which ought not to be overlooked.

Science fiction responds to the concerns of the age in which it is written, whether it be eugenics, the Cold War, racism, etc., as Clayton amply demonstrates. Thus, we have developed “a kind of awareness we might call science-fictionality, a mode of response that frames and tests experiences as if they were aspects of a work of science fiction” (Cscicsery-Ronay qtd. 319-20). As SF possibilities linger in our collective cultural imagination, SF concepts become easy rhetorical devices for both sides of the futurism debate (if we can boil it down to just two sides).

spacevikingOn the one hand, “[s]cientific jeremiads,” that is, works of opposition to biotechnological interventions, “attempt to motivate people to act in history—to resist a feared future—by conjuring a ‘novum,’ to use Darko Suvin’s term for a new reality science fiction creates” (335). Such writing also utilizes “metaphors of organicism” (335), what I would call appeals to naturalness, which are, in fact, appeals to the illusion of naturalness. This is especially important in relation to Fukuyama’s claims about what constitutes “human nature” (337). I will no doubt take up the idea of “naturalness” in a later blog post.

The jeremiads also use “performative speech,” or the use of broad proclamations about what “we” are feeling about scientific developments: “something . . . leaves a lingering moral qualm” (Sandel qtd. 335). (I am reminded of the phrase “questions are being raised about,” which allows the writer/commentator/whoever to displace the burden of explaining why the given topic is relevant onto a nonexistent passive subject. Fox News might be the worst abuser of the phrase, but it’s fairly commonplace.) The other rhetorical device is “symbolic oppositions,” the familiar us/them dichotomy that “plainly substitutes symbolic for social analysis” (Bercovitch qtd. 336).

On the other hand, the scientific “encomia,” or works in praise of biotechnological interventions, also use the “same rhetorical elements” (337). Though he refers to a number of works, Clayton does not give any specific examples of how the “rhetorical elements” are used. He does, however, demonstrate “slippage,” in which science-fictional elements are appropriated, unacknowledged, into purportedly non-fiction writing, which “illustrates the kinship these works bear to our culture’s science fiction” (338).

“Both jeremiad and the encomia have their uses,” Clayton nearly concludes, “but the latter especially courts the ridicule of time” (338). That is, it’s easy to make predictions and wild extrapolations about what the future may hold and hope that you’re right. More than likely you won’t be, but in the meantime you might get paid to give public lectures. “They traffic in mundane predictions, and their attempts to inspire awe at biotechnology’s wonders sometimes result merely in the feeling of ‘gee whiz'” (338). (Could this be an example of performative speech?)

Clayton ends abruptly with a call to “take up the challenge” of bringing “the analysis of posthumanism to bear on problems with tangible impact on patients, health-care providers, and scientific policy” (339). At the very least, literary scholars should resist the trend of “generalizing glibly about cultural attitudes from a sample size consisting of a few decontextualized novels and films” (338), though it’s not clear what else there is for us to do.

Some questions that I have for Dr. Clayton that I might bring up when I see him next week:

Does the optimism in SF about the possibilities of biotechnological intervention say more about the self-selecting group of individuals most interested in SF? How much can we look to that mindset as evidence of more popular optimism about science, particularly when the most popular novels and films seem much more pessimistic?

It seems as though this conversation gets to the heart of the contemporary conversation about the role of the humanities in society. The humanities, the argument goes, need to be doing something for society, rendering some tangible service. Is there a danger to the humanities in making promises about what we have to offer to scientific discussions? Walt Whitman wrote of the sciences that their “facts are useful, and yet they are not my dwelling,/I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling” (“Song of Myself,” part 23). Are we qualified to make our dwelling in the sciences?

How is the relationship between the literary imagination and the sciences, as you perceive it, similar to or distinct from that relationship as it might be perceived from a position that is primarily reliant on cultural criticism? For example, one might argue from a Marxist perspective that technological advancements have historically benefited and will continue to benefit the capitalist class. Do you see your project as approaching the sciences differently?

How does the relationship between SF and biotechnology translate into discussions about information technology, robotics, global warming, etc.? Do the discourses of other scientific issues have a similarly problematic relationship with science fiction?

JayClayton

For more information about Jay Clayton, you can check out his profile on Vanderbilt’s website, where you will find this delightful picture of him next to what looks like a mural of a tricycle.