Un-Natural Disasters

Fall 2016
Melissa Sexton
ENGL 1102 B1
ENGL 1102 G1
ENGL 1102 L

This course will examine how films, novels, and short stories represent the relationship between technology and disaster. We'll trace complicated perceptions of technology back to the Industrial Revolution, seeing how technological innovations have been portrayed as both the cause of and the solution to acute social and environmental problems. We'll then look at depictions of technology in more recent disaster narratives. With a sophisticated historical understanding of this topic, we will also be able to consider ethical questions about sustainable technological development; we will think about how past examples of disaster can help us work towards technological development that is directed towards environmental justice and general social good. Texts will range from nineteenth-century essays about industrial development to present-day dystopian films with a focus on environmental degradation and technological innovation.  As we investigate these themes, we will be focusing on developing our own critical thinking and communications skills. Specifically, in this class, we will be working on honing our WOVEN (Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Nonverbal) communications skills as we produce our own essays, videos, and presentations. This class will also allow us to integrate research about historical environments and technologies into our own critical and creative work.

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