Robots, Androids, Clones and Transhumanism in Literature, Film and Culture (Workshop)

Lecturer (assistant)
  • Stefanie Fricke
  • Franziska Recknagel
Duration1.5 SWS
TermWintersemester 2022/23
Language of instructionEnglish
Position within curriculaSee TUMonline

Admission information

Objectives

The students research and discuss current discourses on the topics of the seminar. They read/watch literary texts, films, TV shows and other relevant media and learn how to analyze those using different criteria and methods.

Description

Since antiquity humans have been fascinated by the idea of artificial life and have imagined its creation in different media. Thus, long before these fictions can become reality, literature and art already provide fictional spaces in which fundamental questions can be asked: Why do humans want to create artificial life? How do they treat the resulting creatures? How can we define “human”? Which gender dynamics are involved? How are society and human relationships changed by the existence of artificial life forms? And are there borders which should not be crossed? In this seminar we will discuss the current state of science, technology and ethics and analyze the depiction of artificial life forms in literature (e.g. in Ovid´s Metamorphoses, E. T. A. Hoffman´s “Der Sandmann”; Mary Shelley´s “Frankenstein”; the stories of Isaac Asimov and contemporary novels such as Kazuo Ishiguro´s “Klara and the Sun”), films (e.g. Metropolis, Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, Robocop, Ex Machina, Moon), TV series (e.g. Star Trek, Westworld, Black Mirror, Humans) and other media (computer games, comics and graphic novels). Students are very welcome to suggest additional texts and films.

Prerequisites

None apart from the willingness to read and discuss the texts.

Teaching and learning methods

• Independent reading and watching of texts/films • Analysis of these texts/films using methods discussed in class • Group discussions • Group work • If we can meet in person, controversial topics can be discussed in the form of debates

Examination

Poster presentation at the end of the seminar. This course is assigned to the following modul: CLA21901 Rollen. Klischees. Visionen. Wissenschaft und Technik im Blick von Literatur und Theater (2 Credits) Please note that you can only contribute each module once in your studies

Recommended literature

Shorter texts will be provided. Novels will be available via the university library or will have to be purchased by the students.

Links