TTh1:30-2:20 MLR 301
Sections on Wednesday and Friday
Phillip Thurtle, firstname.lastname@example.org
Padelford B 102
Hours: Monday 3:00-4:00 and Thursday 10:30-12:00
Adam Nocek, email@example.com
Nancy White, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shanna Dulin- email@example.com - Eugenics and disability studies
Shealeigh Heindel- firstname.lastname@example.org - Gender, sexuality, control/manipulation of bodies (specifically female, trans, and intersex bodies) and the institutional/structural oppression of bodies, identity discourses, eugenics, queer theory, liminal identities
Eliot Hemingway- email@example.com -Methods of critical inquiry, games as media
Omar Shaukat- firstname.lastname@example.org -Cinema, music, and new media.
Joshua Snider- email@example.com -Foucault, Time and Space, historical contingency, intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and other identity issues
This class explores key legal, ethical, cultural, scientific,
and commercial aspects of the rapidly changing world of biotechnology and
bioinformatics. It specifically asks how new discoveries in biology encourage
us to rethink issues of ownership, communication, geography, identity, and
artistic practice. The class will be structured around six specific case
studies that students will use to understand some of the major themes of
BioFutures. Come find out about the often exhilarating and frequently
frightening scenarios for the future of your body.
Students will be specifically encouraged to ask the
What are the ethical and legal issues involved in patenting
human cell lines?
How are recent biotechnologies portrayed in science fiction
films? What can we learn by studying these portrayals?
What does it mean to suggest that biotechnology is part of
"an information society"?
How are race, class, gender, and disability mapped onto or
intersect with biomedicine?
How are artists using live organisms in their art work? What
can we learn about art, ethics, and scientific practice by studying this work?
How do scientists manipulate space and time in the
This class is designed to appeal to all. No prerequisites
Students will acquaint themselves with important
emergent issues surrounding biomedicine and the dominant ways that these issues
have been studied, including biopolitical, political economic, science and
technology studies, disabilities studies, philosophic, cultural, literary, and
media studies analyses.
Students will gain familiarity with common
procedures used in the biomedical sciences.
Science students will gain confidence in
applying humanistic research themes to scientific topics while humanities
students will gain confidence reading and analyzing scientific texts and
Students will gain practice researching and
composing original research papers.
Students will improve their communication skills
through their participation in discussions held in the lecture hall and
Students will improve their reading skills by
completing reading assignments and writing upon what they thought were the
major themes of these assignments during class.
Students will gain a sense of how different ways
of explaining the world (science and the humanities, for instance) can
complement each other.
Class participation: 30% of total grade
This includes attending and
contributing to lecture and section and completing in-class “free writes” and
pop-quizzes when requested (these will be graded on a “credit/no credit” basis).
Students are expected to come to lecture and section having read and prepared
to discuss the readings for the week.
Short assignments: 35% of total grade
Students will complete three short
assignments during the course of the quarter. Each of these assignments are
designed to develop specific analytical skills, while improving overall writing
skills. These assignments are listed on the class schedule below and
instructions for completing the assignments will be given before the
assignments are due. Specific assignment due dates are listed in the class
schedule. Assignments 1 and 2 are each worth 10% of your total grade, while
assignment 3 is worth 15%.
Research Paper: 35% of total grade
8 double-spaced pages using 11
point Times New Roman font or an equivalent. You will need to reference at
least four sources in your research (only one source can be from the class
reading list and only two sources can be from the WWW). Appropriate topics and
essay organization will be discussed in discussion sections.
THERE IS NO FINAL EXAM!
The following materials are available at the University Book
Robert Mitchell, Helen Burgess, and
Phillip Thurtle, Biofutures: Owning Body
Parts and Information (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). Please
note, this is the main source of reading for class. It is also a DVD-ROM.
Participation in class is dependant upon being able to access the materials on
Robert Mitchell, Bioart and the Vitality of Media
Philip K. Dick, Ubik
Brian K. Vaughn, Pia Guerra, Jose
Marzan, Jr., Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1:
Unmanned (Vertigo/DC Comics, 2003)
Also, single short readings are available on the class WWW