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Enroll in Fall 2021 Course on Robots and Sci-Fi!

Interested in sci-fi and in what it means to be human? 

If so, enroll in the online Fall 2021 Course:

ENGL 3312 Desiring Cyborgs, Malfunctioning Robots, and Evil A.I.s: The Posthuman in Global Sci-Fi


Thursdays, 6:00 - 8:50 PM 
CRN: 43977 (Section D01)
Dr. Fareed Ben-Youssef

Note: Enrollment is now open to all online students. Onsite students will only be able to enroll 30 days before classes start. If you are onsite and interested in enrolling, please email the instructor ( He will send you a reminder when enrollment opens up to the general student population.

This global science fiction course explores what it means to be human. Offering poignant portrayals of emerging fragility, desire, and sentience from artificial beings, science fiction media often explores if machines can feel. In Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a malevolent artificial intelligence (A.I.) takes command of a spaceship and an astronaut removes his digital brain, piece by piece. The once terrifying A.I. cries out: “My mind is going!” In Spike Jonze’s Her (2013), a man falls in love with his Siri-like digital assistant. Slowly, they grow apart as the disembodied voice connects with other people and other machine minds. In Hirokazu Kore-eda's Air Doll (2009), a sex doll comes alive to a new world of sensation—to both pain and to pleasure. Using such films, this course asks: what do our growing emotional bonds with technology tell us about our capacity for empathy? How are we beginning to fuse with our machines, becoming a transhuman or posthuman species?


To answer these questions, we position such works against ongoing debates in posthumanism, disability studies, A.I., and philosophy of mind. The films, comic books, and video games featured in this course offer a thorough introduction to global science fiction. Crossing national boundaries deepens our understanding of how perceptions on the relationship between the animate and the inanimate are shaped by cultural norms. Students will ultimately develop the tools to create persuasive, analytical, and interdisciplinary research papers that investigate the increasingly porous boundary between humans and machines.


The course will feature scientists and artists as guest speakers.


Fareed Ben-Youssef