English 90sm. Speculative Modes: Fiction, Technology, Justice

Instructor: Janet Zong York
Day & Time: Tuesday 3-5pm
Course Website

Enrollment: Limited to 15 students.

How do fiction and technology's intersections fuel modes of speculation: the imagining of how things in the world could be? We investigate how different imaginative works question and reinvent our relationships to technology; inspire reflection and action; and ask what alternatives exist to practices that appear inevitable or structures that seem entrenched. Fiction allows us to explore how the design and impact of ubiquitous surveillance, data collection, and artificial intelligence reinforce tacit ideas about power, identity, ethics, labor, and the nature of reality itself. We read short stories, essays, TV episodes, graphic narratives, digital media, datasets, and journalism, in addition to perspectives from studies of design, human-computer interaction, and society and technology. Ursula LeGuin, Ken Liu, N.K. Jemisin, Ted Chiang, Black Mirror, Octavia Butler, Kelly Link, among others. We aim to gain insight into technical processes and cultural narratives, developing our own critical models and projects for speculation.