Narrative as Technology
Module 2: Narrative as a tool for thinking about technology, part 2
Teaching Instructions

LEVEL DESCRIPTORS:

First-year college / AP English (High School)
or
Fourth-year college

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

To see Science Fiction as a place where one questions what it means to be human as opposed to a machine;

To learn something about how any given medium (film, novel) affects what can be said by describing how Deckard's interior states in Phillip Dick's Bladerunner have been rendered in film;

To compare how images and actions render interior states to written representations of it by a narrator;

To think about how media and image-producing technologies enter into one's relationship with oneself (with one's past).

DISCUSSION POSSIBILITIES:

One set of class discussions could focus on asking, how does Deckard tell himself and others apart from androids, and how, as a result, does that define what it means to be human?

Another set of class discussions could focus on differences between the movie and the book, on what one can and cannot do in any medium -- but also, especially, upon how images and words do different things and/or evoke each other.

ASSESSMENT:

First-year students should in Assignment 2 talk a bit about how humans compare to androids in Dick's novel and in his film.

Fourth-year students should begin to question in Assignment 2 how technologies actually work to create what feels to us like our "insides," how they help to determine interior states and so partly condition what it feels like to be a human being.

 

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