English 738T, Spring 2015
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This seminar will explore the extent to which the ideological formations of Romanticism both underlie and resist the way technology is imagined in contemporary culture through poetry, fiction, film, virtual worlds, and social media.

Throughout the semester, we will be concerned with Romanticism as a discourse about cultural change; about monstrosity and the body; about art as technology; about the necessity for and the impossibility of making art or technology that isn’t always already co-opted; about abjected, alienated, resistant subjects at the mercy of phallic power structures; about the gendering of technology; about textual and sexual reproduction; about utopian imaginings and dystopian worlds; and about the world itself as a consensual illusion.

Our readings, discussions, and project work will equip you to explore these issues at both a theoretical and practical level, and in the process gain a more sophisticated purchase on (1) Romanticism as a still ongoing cultural movement; (2) on the intersections between technology and the (post)human; and (3) on digital humanities methods and tools.

In addition to careful preparation and active participation each week, I will ask each class member to engage in the following activities, the first three of which, and optionally the fourth, will involve collaborative work.

  1. Teaching course material: Twice during the semester, I will ask you to participate in groups of three students to share in the teaching of a sixty-minute session of a class. The group will be free to engage the rest of us in any pedagogical form of its choice: through discussion, performance, debate, or special activity. Creativity is encouraged. Early in the semester, students will be asked to specify preferred teaching dates from a list of possibilities. Questions that will be discussed in class should be posted on the course discussion list by noon on the Tuesday before class.
  2. Blog Postings: During each half of the semester, you will be responsible for posting on the course blog at least one substantial commentary (of approximately 500-750 words) related to the course material and for responding to at least two commentaries by your classmates. We will also be experimenting with the creative use of Twitter. Your tweets and responses on the blog will factor into your course participation grade.
  3. Group Project: By the beginning of March you will be asked to participate in a group project at the intersection between the course material and the digital humanities. One potential project involves hands-on work encoding “The Scrope Davies Notebook” for release on the Shelley-Godwin Archive. Discovered in the vault of Barclay’s Bank in London in the 1970s and now located at the British Library, this notebook contains manuscripts intended for the press of two of Percy Shelley’s most important lyrics, “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” and “Mont Blanc,” with substantive variants from these poems as they had been known, as well two sonnets that were completely unknown until the notebook was exhumed. The other potential group project involves mapping and visualizing the network of Robert Southey’s correspondents for publication on Romantic Circles, using the multivolume electronic edition of his letters published on RC. Each group will receive a bootcamp training session and readings preparing them for this work.
  4. Final project: The final project may be either a collaborative or individual effort and may take a variety of forms, print or digital, including an annotated bibliography, a scholarly essay, a “close reading” of a text or texts, a theoretical inquiry, a visualization and analysis of relevant large dataset, or a technological remediation of part or whole of a Romantic-era work. In each case, I will help you shape your interests into an appropriate project and will expect the work to be of professional quality and interest. Projects will be due on 20 May.

These are the attributes expected of your work:
1) Academic writing skills appropriate to advanced graduate level work
2) Intellectually active engagement with course readings and projects
3) A sophisticated critical understanding of individual texts
4) Responsible and generous participation in a scholarly community

I will comment on and grade all of the formal work you submit, including your blog postings and teaching groups. Contributions to class discussion are an important component of my overall assessment, but your written and project-directed work will be the major factor that determines your final grade, which will be derived as follows:

Class Participation: 15%
Teaching Group Grade (each): 20%
Blog Commentary: 15%
Collaborative Project: 20%
Final Project: 30%

Towards the end of the semester, the class will have a chance to suggest possible reallocations of these percentages. If you have questions about your performance or progress during the semester, I would be happy to provide feedback

The University of Maryland has approved a Code of Academic Integrity and all students are expected to adhere to it. The Code prohibits students from cheating on exams, plagiarizing papers (i.e., submitting as your own work done by another person or excerpts from undocumented sources); submitting the same paper for credit in two different courses without permission; buying papers, etc. The Code is administered by a Student Honor Council. I will report allegations of academic dishonesty to the Honor Council.

If you have a registered disability and wish to discuss accommodations with me, please let me know. Confidentiality will be observed. Disabilities can be registered through Disability Support Services (4-7682 or 5-7683 TTY/TDD).

The University of Maryland values the diversity of its student body. Along with the University, I am committed to providing a classroom atmosphere that encourages the equitable participation of all students regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Potential devaluation of students in the classroom that can occur by reference to demeaning stereotypes of any group and/or overlooking the contributions of a particular group to the topic under discussion is inappropriate. (See Statement on Classroom Climate).

At the end of the semester I will encourage/remind you to submit an evaluation of our course. Your participation in the evaluation of courses through CourseEvalUM is a responsibility you hold as a student member of our academic community. Your feedback is confidential and important to the improvement of teaching and learning at the University as well as to the tenure and promotion process. CourseEvalUM will be open for you to complete your evaluations starting about two weeks prior to the last day of the term before exams begin. By completing all of your evaluations each semester, you will have the privilege of accessing online evaluation reports for the thousands of courses for which 70% or more students submitted their evaluations.

University policy excuses the absences of students for illness (self or dependent), religious observances, participation in University activities at the request of University authorities, and extreme extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control. If you wish to have any absence formally “excused” for one of the above reasons, please supply me with full written documentation. Multiple unexcused absences will jeopardize your ability to earn credit for the course.

I expect you to keep up with the reading and come to class prepared to discuss it.
Please print a copy of this syllabus and be sure always to have it with you during our class meetings in the event that we need to make quick revisions of it.

Please bring to class either electronic or hard copies of readings for the day.
Assignments are due on the date assigned.

Please do bring laptops or tablets to class. Cellphone ringers must be switched off. You are free to live Tweet the class (#technoro) if that doesn’t distract you from following and participating in live class discussion. All other social networking should be done outside of class.

I am always happy to meet and talk with students, but because of my administrative position at MITH, I can meet with you by appointment only. My office is at MITH, and I am around most days of the week. Please feel free to make an appointment (contact me in person or by email) if you need to discuss academic issues or other concerns.

REQUIRED TEXTS (Ordered from University Book Center )
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Dover)
William Blake, The [First] Book of Urizen (Kessinger)
William Godwin, Caleb Williams (Norton)
M. W. Shelley, Frankenstein (Oxford)
Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Norton)
William Gibson, Neuromancer (Ace Books)
Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation (U of Michigan P)
Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl (Eastgate)

The course blog is our main venue for public intellectual exchange and will also be where we do most of the business of the class. You’ll find here the latest version of the syllabus, teaching group assignments, a list of course members, and the archive for the Technoromanticism 2012 class, whose blog is rich in postings that can supplement our own.

COURSE DISCUSSION LIST: engl738t-0101-spr15@coursemail.umd.edu
Course news and announcements will be distributed through primarily through our discussion listserv. Please make sure that you are receiving emails through it.

The class is listed on ELMS. Go to www.elms.umd.edu. Enter your university ID and password; this should take you to the page from which you can access materials for courses for which you are registered.

I will use the ELMS site primarily to distribute readings and streaming video of films we’ll be studying. We may also take advantage of other features as the semester progresses.

All readings not otherwise specified are available in ELMS in the “Files” folder. I’ll announce all changes in readings and/or assignments in class and via the course discussion list. It’s your responsibility to keep up with whatever changes are announced. The online syllabus on the Course Blog will be updated to reflect any changes and should take precedence over any prior print version.

Jan. 28 Introduction

Hacking the Book, Hacking the System

Feb. 4 Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Visit Blake Archive and
view at least two versions of MHH. Andrew Piper, from Dreaming in Books. Cooper and Simpson, “Looks Good in Practice, But Does it Work in Theory? Rebooting the Blake Archive”; Morris Eaves, “Multimedia Body Plans.” Amanda Visconti, “Shuffle, Fragment, Sort, Hack this Bibliography”; Amanda Visconti, “Books: Hack What?” & responses; Jon Saslofske, “New Radial: Revisualizing the Blake Archive.”
Supplemental: Blake’s Illuminated Printing process.

Frankenstein Then and Now

First Edition

11 Shelley, Frankenstein, 1818 (Butler, ed.). Jones, “Monstrous Technology”; Hogle, “The Dream of Frankenstein: An Introduction.”
**Directed Tweet: What is a Monster?

Frankenstein Draft, Fair Copy, and 1831 edition

18 Team Draft: Go to the Shelley-Godwin Archive and read Charles Robinson’s “Introduction.” Then read the entire Draft of Frankenstein in sequence, followed by the fragment of the Fair Copy. Produce a list of the six most important differences between this material and the 1818 first edition. Justify your choices.
Team 1831: Go to Romantic Circles and read the 1831 edition of Frankenstein. Please also consult the Juxta Commons Collation of the 1818 and 1831 editions. Then produce a list of the six most important differences between this edition and the 1818 first edition. Justify your choices.

Frankenstein Reimagined

25 Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl.”Stitch Bitch: the patchwork girl”; Hayles, from “Flickering Connectivities in Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl,” par. 15-End; Mark Amerika, “Stitch Bitch: The Hypertext Author As Cyborg-Femme Narrator.”
Mar. 4 SPECIAL SESSION: DESIGN LAB FOR CLASS DIGITAL PROJECT. Fun da mentals : Rhetorical Devices for Electronic Literature” by Deena Larsen. Please also investigate the other links about e-lit in this blog post and read the info here on using text analysis tools.

Automata and Cyborgs

11 E. T. A. Hoffman, The Sandman.Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, dir.
Freud, “The Uncanny”; Giuliana Bruno, “Ramble City: Postmodernism and Blade Runner.” Clayton, from Dickens in Cyberspace, “Concealed Circuits.”
Supplemental: P. K. Dick, “How to Build a Universe that Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later”.
25 Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Haraway, “A
Cyborg Manifesto.”
Supplemental: Lykke, “Are Cyborgs Queer?”

Virtual Realities

Apr. 1 Andy and Larry Wachowski, dir., The Matrix. Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation. Heim, from Virtual Realism: Chapter 1 (“VR 101”); Murray, from Hamlet on the Holodeck: Chapter 3 (“From Additive to Expressive Form”).
Bartlett and Byers, “Back to the Future: The Humanist Matrix”. Zizek, “The Matrix: “The Truth of the Exaggerations
8 Blake, The Book of Urizen (compare at least one other version as found in the Blake Archive. Otto, “Introduction” (only) from Romanticism, Modernity, and Virtual Reality. Komisaruk, Guynup, and Yee, “Blake and Virtuality: An Exchange
15 Godwin, Caleb Williams.

Prosthetics of the Imagination

22 William Gibson, Neuromancer. Coleridge, from the Biographia; Thomas DeQuincey, from Confessions of an English Opium Eater, then search for “The Pleasure of Opium” and just read that section; Clifford Siskin, “Romantic Addictions.”
Supplemental: Jerome Christensen, Finding Romantic Commonplaces.
Alan Liu, from “Local Transcendence,” 75-76.
Study Guide for Neuromancer“.***DIGITAL GROUP PROJECT DUE***

Prosthetics of Memory

29 Christopher Nolan, dir. Memento (2000). Responses to Ed Folsom’s “Database as Genre: The Epic Transformation of Archives” (PMLA, Volume 122, Number 5, October 2007, pp. 1580–1612). Kenneth E. Foote, “To Remember and Forget: Archives, Memory, and Culture” (JSTOR); Marlene Manoff, “Theories of the Archives from Across the Disciplines.”

Supplemental: “Visual Map of Memento
May 6 SPECIAL SESSION: WE WILL MEET AT 5:00 IN McKELDIN LIBRARY, ROOM 6137, TO ATTEND THE OPENING KEYNOTE FOR THE WORKSHOP: “ENGAGING THE PUBLIC: SCHOLARLY CROWDSOURCING ACROSS THE DISCIPLINES.” Readings: Mia Ridge, “Frequently Asked Questions about Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage.” Neil Fraistat, “Literary Archives and the Participatory Turn” (copy of a talk, in ELMS). Visit and explore “What’s On the Menu?“; Smithsonian Transcription Center; and Galaxy Zoo. Try transcribing for one of these three project. Visit Infinite Ulysses and try your hand at annotation.

The Washington Area Romanticists’ Group will meet once this Spring. Please feel free to take part in the seminar. I will announce this meeting as a speaker and date become set.

MITH presents weekly Digital Dialogues on Tuesdays 12:30-1:45; many of these will bear upon course content.

There may be some special opportunities to work on resource-a-thons. I’ll alert you if they come available.

I have found valuable models for the administrative parts of this syllabus in the syllabi for Theresa Coletti’s Fall 2014 ENGL 601 and for Matt Kirschenbaum’s Spring 2014 ENGL 631.

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