Machines to Think With is a course exploring ideas and experiences of narrative and storytelling across three different forms of expressive media. Following I.A. Richard's provocative descriptions of literary texts as "machines to think with"? and "speculative instruments"? we will consider how these media organize language and the aesthetic experience of information to express stories and, more importantly, enable complex reasoning about and criticism of ideas, such as empathy, justice, selfhood, monstrosity and humanity. We will also attend to how different forms of expressive media challenge us to do different kinds of imaginative work, to think with them and critically model our understanding of their particular organization. Coursework will be organized primarily through focused readings and experiences of three exemplars with thematic resonances: Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, Shelley Jackson's hypertext fiction Patchwork Girl, and Jonathan Blow's game Braid, and supported by selected readings in literary criticism and theory, narratology, media and game studies.
Examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework with an interdisciplinary perspective. Offered: AWSp.