As noted on the summer schedule, I will be teaching this course during the second summer session, MW 5:30-9:30, from June 28th-July 30th. The course will focus on cyberpunk literature. The genre of cyberpunk develops from the literary traditions of gothic, detective, and science fiction and h as been popularized in contemporary movies such as Blade Runner, eXistenZ, and The Matrix. Though in the past, literary studies has overlooked what it has termed “genre fiction,” contemporary English Studies has integrated science fiction into its intellectual practice, including genre-specific academic journals like Science Fiction Studies and Extrapolation. Furthermore, as this course will investigate, cyberpunk in particular has developed strong resonance with literary theory, contemporary philosophy, and cultural studies. In short, cyberpunk has emerged as an important area of literary study in contemporary literature.
This course will introduce you to four major writers of cyberpunk: William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson, and Pat Cadigan. We will also read and discuss key theoretical and scholarly texts that articulate cyberpunk as a site of intellectual and literary investigation. Our conversation will address both the aesthetic-literary practices of cyberpunk and its socio-cultural concerns. We will trace its stylistic development from its combination of experimental, postmodern fiction (e.g. William Burroughs) with popular crime fiction, of the pointillist with the picaresque. However we will also discuss thematic concerns that speak directly to contemporary issues: globalization, corporate ethics, postmodern politics, terrorism, and so on. Summer sessions are brief, but intense. We will read a novel a week. Students will be asked to write informal response papers and a final researched essay. Students who are interested will have the option of presenting their research at the Central New York Conference on Language and Literature held on this campus October 29-31.