Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Devices



THE DEVICES OF SCIENCE FICTION

was the last course I taught at Queens College before dropping out of the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center. For complex, personal reasons,* I have maintained the course's website online ever since – with a few changes.** Twelve years is a long time, I guess...twelve years that this course/website has been reachable in one place or another.*** Well, then: Here's to twelve more years of neglect, irrelevance, and pretension! And here's a snip of my sendoff from the last day of class:

If our pathway of reading, our course, has been a circulation among literary figurations, metaphors of virtual reality, then perhaps we should also say that virtual reality is itself a figure: for the unthought or the unthinkable. Perhaps virtual reality is one name we offer for nothingness.



* At some point I’m sure I cleverly justified to myself the site’s survival. It did, for example, appear at a certain moment before widespread adoption of course management platforms such as Blackboard (which I recall investigating but not liking). I doubt I had the department’s permission to build a quick and dirty course website, third-party bulletin board and all. I just did it to see what would happen, what it would be like.–So there is another moment represented as well: when the Internet still felt novel and permission-less. But more (or less) seriously, "complex, personal reasons" is a fancy way of saying that I am a compulsive archiver or, less charitably, anal retentive.

** I.e. personally identifiable student materials were removed (I hope); Word versions of handouts, etc. are gone; the bulletin board was killed; and I decided to employ the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. The CC license is probably more symbolic than practical in the sense that it is difficult to imagine anyone wanting to make use of the course/site's relatively idiosyncratic materials. Can you? Imagine it, I mean.

*** Apropos "one place or another," please don't hesitate to bring to my attention any broken links and the like that you come across...oh, except, yes, I already know that the email address provided on the site is defunct; sorry. Ha! and don't bookmark the site, because it will probably have to be moved again someday. Etc. Etc.

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