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Good-bye to Frankenstein

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Title: Goodbye to Frankenstein Author: Gloria McMillan Last modified by: Gloria McMillan Created Date: 6/13/2008 6:03:04 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Good-bye to Frankenstein


1
Good-bye to Frankenstein
  • Improving Relations between Humanities and
    Science as We Educate

2
Presentation by Gloria McMillan, Ph.D.,
Instructor Pima Community College
3
A Curriculum built upon Rivalry
  • One grad student in a Ph.D. seminar did a
    computer study of Dracula and was forced to move
    the lone chart to an appendix because It
    disturbs the flow of the text.
  • The origins of the rivalry of the men of
    letters with science dates to Classical Greece.
  • The aristocratic philosophers and poets (Aristoi
    class) did not do manual work.
  • Techne (origin of our word technology) was the
    work of slaves.

Plato
4
The Two Cultures
  • The Two Cultures is the title of an influential
    1959 Rede Lecture by British scientist and
    novelist C.P. Snow. Its thesis was that the
    breakdown of communication between the "two
    cultures" of modern society the sciences and
    the humanities was a major hindrance to solving
    the world's problems. As a trained scientist who
    was also a successful novelist, Snow was well
    placed to pose the question.
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Cult
    ures

5
Building Status of College English the 1970s
  • English composition professors responded to
    charges that they had no content but were a
    service to real academic disciplines by
    critiquing those other subjects and building a
    body of content.
  • English composition theory methods were informed
    by broader cultural theory from Europe
    (postmodernism).
  • The English composition field added to its status
    and chose its questions due to relations with
    older fields. English literature research also
    used Postmodern Theory.

6
Modernism
  • Modernism describes an array of cultural
    movements rooted in the changes in Western
    society in the late 19th and early 20th
    centuries. A series of reforming movements in
    art, architecture, music, literature.
  • Modernism affirms the power of human beings to
    create, improve, and reshape their environment,
    with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology
    or practical experimentation. It encouraged the
    re-examination of every aspect of existence, from
    commerce to philosophy, with the goal of finding
    that which was 'holding back' progress, and
    replacing it with new, progressive and therefore
    better, ways of reaching the same end.
  • Wikipedia definition http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki
    /Modernism

7
Postmodernism
  • Postmodernism (PoMo) was originally a reaction to
    modernism. Largely influenced by the Western
    European disillusionment induced by World War II,
    including a horror of the atomic bomb and Nazi
    science, postmodernism tends to refer to a
    cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking
    a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle
    and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction,
    ambiguity, diversity, interconnectedness or
    interreferentiality, in a way that is often
    indistinguishable from a parody of itself.
  • Postmodernism does not believe in linear
    progress.
  • Source http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernis
    m

8
Antimodernism
Antimodernism is valuable in that it directly
challenges and inverts modernism thereby helping
to contain its considerable power and authority.
It focuses attention on experience and nature,
and thus provides alternatives to scientific and
rationalistic ways of knowing. It is limited,
though, by its inability to generalize beyond the
individual or the particular language
community. Flynn, Elizabeth A. Rescuing
Postmodernism. College Composition
and Communication, Vol. 48, No. 4
(Dec., 1997), pp. 540-555 Publisher
National Council of Teachers of English
Stable URL http//www.jstor.org/stable/358457
9
PostModern cultural theory today
  • University of Vienna-trained philosopher Paul
    Feyerabend writes
  • The church at the time of Galileo was much
    more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and
    also took into consideration the ethical and
    social consequences of Galileos doctrine. Its
    verdict against Galileo was rational and just,
    and revisionism can be legitimized solely for
    motives of political opportunism.
  • Source Wikipedia
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Feyerabend

10
Feyerabend again
  • When asked by science theorist Thomas Kuhn,
    since he believed that witchcraft was as valid
    logically as scientific method, why he didnt
    ride to his Ivy League lectures on a broom
    instead of on a jet, Paul K. Feyerabend, in
    Science in a Free Society, replied, Because I
    know how to use planes but I dont know how to
    use brooms as transportation and cant be
    bothered to learn (190).

11
ScientismBane of College English Departments
  • Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most,
    if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and
    religious claims, as the truths they proclaim
    cannot be apprehended by the scientific method.
    In essence, scientism sees science as the
    absolute and only justifiable access to the
    truth.
  • PBS definition found at
  • http//www.pbs.org/faithandreason/gengloss/sciism-
    body.html

12
The situation now in college English is often
technophobic.
  • Essay recommended in a College English
    professors online discussion
  • Thats the essence of Kubricks dark (2001)
    prophecy as we come to rely on computers to
    mediate our understanding of the world, it is our
    own intelligence that flattens into artificial
    intelligence.
  • Quoted in Is Google Making Us Stupid?
  • by Nicholas Carr. The Atlantic Monthly.
    July/August 2008. http//www.theatlantic.com/doc/2
    00807/google/.

13
Numbersalso bane of English departments
  • In response to Graphs, Maps, Trees Abstract
    Models for Literary History, by Franco Moretti,
    Harold Bloom, the Yale English professor famous
    for his prodigious command of canonical
    literature, wasdismissive. Interrupting
  • a description of the theory, he pronounced
    Mr. Moretti
  • ''an absurdity.''
  • ''I am interested in reading,'' he said with
    an audible shudder. ''That's all I'm interested
    in.''
  • From The NY Times Jan. 10, 2004

14
The Higher Superstition
  • Higher Superstition The Academic Left and Its
    Quarrels with Science by Paul R. Gross and
    Norman Levitt. Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
  • "We should be thankful that Gross and Levitt have
    provided a wake-up call. Their significant
    overview of the thinking of those who teach our
    lawyers, journalists and teachers should be read
    by all who are concerned by the decline of the
    status of science in our times." -- Physics Today
  • Review of study by two scientists on the effects
    of PostModernism in Higher Education. NOTE
    Critics of science are not only leftists but the
    conservative Humanities scholars like Bloom, as
    well.

15
Feminists Whose Science?
  • Feminist discussion of science, technology, and
    theories of knowledge occur at a moment of rising
    skepticism about the benefits that science and
    their technologies can bring to society. Calls
    for reforms and transformations have arisen from
    many different groups. However, these
    discussions also occur when intellectuals in the
    fields of science and technology are gaining more
    and more power in higher education and
    government.
  • Feminists themselves are of three minds. They
    (we) criticize not only bad science but also
    the problematics, agendas, ethics, consequences,
    and status of what has come to be called science
    as usual. . . .From theorists who draw on
    European philosophy, comes criticism of the very
    idea of reconstructing science. . .
  • These feminists appear to be arguing there is
    no baby to be found in the bathwater (9).
  • From Introduction Whose Science, Whose
    Knowledge? Thinking from Womens Lives by Sandra
    Harding. Cornell U P, 1991.

16
Anti-science English class Students Rebel
  • Ms. Venkatesan's scholarly specialty is "science
    studies," which, as she wrote in a journal
    article last year, "teaches that scientific
    knowledge has suspect access to truth." She
    continues "Scientific facts do not correspond to
    a natural reality but conform to a social
    construct."
  • After a winter of discontent, the snapping point
    came while Ms. Venkatesan was lecturing her
    composition class on "ecofeminism," which holds,
    in part, that scientific advancements benefit the
    patriarchy but leave women out. One student took
    issue, and reasonably so actually, empirically
    so.
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Dartmouth's 'Hostile' Environment
  • By JOSEPH RAGO May 5, 2008 Page A13

17
Top-down Creation of Knowledge
  • Since many English professors hold little respect
    for numbers, reason, or objectivity, a Moretti
    always loses to the credentials of either a
    Feyerabend or a Bloom.
  • Those at higher ranks always win in the
    Humanities, but nothing is ever really solved, on
    the other hand.
  • English departments abound with math phobia and
    some professors only desire to debunk science.
    But there is a strong minority who see
    collaboration as a plus.

18
The numbers
  • First-year college English is required at most
    research universities, four year colleges, and
    two-year schools. The numbers of students being
    processed through college English are
    huge2,601,754, only counting total freshmen
    public 2- and 4-year colleges in 2006. Most of
    these must take English.
  • These people vote more than their less educated
    cohort. Students may not be given a balanced
    view of science in many college English
    classrooms and this may affect to their voting
    priorities about government spending on astronomy
    and space.
  • National Center for Education Statistics
    Postsecondary Studies Division

19
Bridging the Gulf
  • Very little is online in one place for college
    English instructors who wish to work with
    science, rather than demolish it or (more
    commonly) ignore science as much as possible.
  • The email college Writing Program Administrators
    list has yielded a group of professors interested
    in sharing their materials online.

20
Range of replies
  • Professors from Harvard, Yale, and other
    prestigious colleges have already shared
    materials and so have their colleagues from other
    schools across the country.
  • This has never been done before. The idea of
    sharing materials for online use to specifically
    bridge the battle lines between the humanities
    and science is new. The group came up with some
    modules in outline form...

21
Making Space for Writing Finding the Science in
Fiction (and non-Fiction)
  • One suggested title for a web site incorporating
  • lesson plans and activities for college
    English.

22
Module 1 Science Fiction Fact
  • Robert Markley (Univ. of Ill.) has written Dying
    Planet Mars in Science and the Imagination, a
    useful text devoted to Mars in fact and fiction.
    He has also submitted two syllabi and one Mars
    bibliography to start this module. He promises
    more to come.
  • Exercise Gloria McMillan has submitted a Ray
    Bradbury Martian Chronicles handout, dealing with
    social issues in the text and film version of the
    collection of stories. Students consider the
    human political and cultural issues of planetary
    exploration.

23
Module 2 Literary science (not science fiction
per se)
  • Cantor's Dilemma by Carl Djerassi, about the race
    for a Nobel Prize, about how credit for
    scientific discoveries is given, and how
    competition, politics, and ego play a major role
    in many scientific inquiries. 
  • Intuition by Alegra Goodman, set in a research 
    laboratory and involves possibly falsified data
    on an important discovery.
  • Nice Work by David Lodge, novel involving an
    engineer and a humanities-based girlfriend. Each
    character is weak in some areas.
  • Heavenly Intrigue by Joshua Gilder (Re Tycho
    Brahes/Keplers rivalry) and Kepler by John
    Banville. Students compare stance of writers
    toward subjects and science.
  • The Professors House by Willa Cather.
    Relations bet. Scientist and historian. Politics
    of museum collecting. Exercise Nicole
    Bennett-Bealer
  • Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck.
    Writer changes mind about science due to marine
    biologist friend.
  • Einstein's Dreams by MIT physicist Alan Lightman
    bridges the science and humanities gap.
  • Mr. Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald. Dead as
    a Dodo by Jane Langton. Mystery novels involving
    Darwins theory.
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides discovery of
    reductase deficiency that causes a person to be
    intersexed.
  • "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall"
    by Edgar Alan Poe
  • The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis. Ethics of medical
    research.

24
Module 3 General culture, historical context,
and the philosophy of science
  • Night Thoughts of a Classical Physicist is an
    artful experiment in writing the history of
    science. The book is a sort of prose poem,
    consisting of the ruminations--part memory, part
    dream--of the fictional Victor Jakob, an elderly
    theoretical physicist.
  • "Crucifixus Etiam" (1953) by Walter M. Miller,
    Jr. is a science fiction text about teraforming
    Mars from sophisticated religious writers
    perspective.
  • Science and Scientists in Victorian and Edwardian
    Literary Novels Insights into the Emergence of a
    New Profession by Nicholas Russell.
  • Animating Space Disney, Science, and
    Empowerment
  • by J. P. Telotte. Science Fiction
    Studies. 35.1 (Feb. 08) Disney allowed safe
    speculation about the future, while reframing
    some of the more disturbing or intractable
    problems as science fiction, thereby reassuring
    and empowering viewers in a time of nuclear and
    Cold War anxiety.

25
Module 4 Women in science and space
  • Lesson plan Comparisons between some real women
    in space program such as the first African
    American astronaut, physician Mae Jemison and
    their representations in fiction and on film.
  • Lesson Plan Comparing fictional depiction of
    women in science over time.
  • Frederica Quartet by A. S. Byatt. Women caught
    up British science, British academic life,
    British culture in the 1950s.
  • Small Changes by Marge Piercy, 1972.
  • 1960s setting. One of the two main protagonists,
    Miriam Berg, is a computer scientist.
    Professionally, she does not survive the
    collision between her own isolated, human-centred
    viewpoint, and the military-industrial complex.

26
Module 5 Poetry
  • When I Heard the Learned Astronomer Walt
    Whitman, 1865
  • Canis Major Robert Frost, 1928
  • ---. Choose Something Like a Star
  • ---. Stars
  • ---. The Star Splitter
  • Arcturus in Autumn Sara Teasdale, 1926
  • Peace On Earth William Carlos Williams, 1913
  • Aldebaran at Dusk George Sterling, 1911
  • Tent Song Witter Bynner, 1917
  • Evening Star Edgar Allan Poe, 1827
  • Lightly Stepped a Yellow Star Emily Dickinson
  • ---. The Moon upon her Fluent Route
  • I Am Like a Slip of Comet Gerard Manley
    Hopkins,1864
  • White Dwarf John Updike
  • Wanderers Walter de la Mare
  • Martian Landscape Poems Richard L. Poss
  • "LIfe in an Expanding Universe" by Pattiann
    Rogers
  • ---. Achieving Perspective

27
Module 6 Theatre
  • Life of Galileo (Leben des Galilei) by Bertolt
    Brecht, first theatrical production at the Zurich
    Schauspielhaus, opening on 9 September 1943
  • Return to the Forbidden Planet by Bob Carlton,
    a musical version of film Forbidden Planet
    (inspired by Shakespeares The Tempest) produced
    on Broadway at Variety Arts Theater, 110-12
    Third Avenue, at 14th Street, Manhattan October
    1991.
  • Voyage Producer (Dirk Maggs)
  • Apollo alternate history and manned Mars
    mission. 1st Broadcast 12th April - 10th May 1999
    BBC Radio 4
  • Copenhagen by Michael Frayn. opened on Broadway
    at the Royale Theatre on April 11, 2000. In 1941,
    a meeting between the physicists Niels Bohr and
    Werner Heisenberg decided the future of atomic
    science.

28
Module 7 Film studies re space exploration
  • Lesson Plan Comparing specific films of the
    1950s and early 1960s with actual progress and
    politics behind the Apollo missions. EX What
    rhetorical situation does the filmmaker see as
    the reality of these missions and how does this
    depiction compare with what is written in memoirs
    of astronauts? Films Destination Moon (1950),
    Rocket Ship X-M (1950).
  • Lesson Plan Essay comparing the role of women
    in a 1950s-60s film with reports of how women
    were being taken into the astronomy and aerospace
    professions Films Conquest of Space (1955),
    The Angry Red Planet (1960), Beyond the Time
    Barrier (1960).
  • Lesson Plan Exobiology. How probable is it?
    Using films to explore how likely ETs are and the
    effect on human identity, if such beings exist.

29
Module 8 The rhetoric of space exploration
  • Module 8 the scientific writing module.
    Students will be given lesson plans that both
    challenge them to create technical writing and
    that analyze the rhetoric of existing texts.
  • Lesson Online Faith Mareck in Humanities at
    Michigan Tech has a web site designed to analyze
    audience and rhetoric of the Voyager spacecraft
  • http//www.hu.mtu.edu/afmareck/F04_UN2001/21revis
    ions.htm

30
Thanks to the Ad Hoc Group
  • Susan George Schorn, University of Texas
  • Anne Faith Mareck, Michigan Tech U
  • Deborah S. Bosley, U. N. Carolina
  • Dorene Ames, W Washington U
  • Adam Turner, Hanyang U, S. Korea
  • Alfred E. Guy Jr., Yale U
  • Stephen Burt, Harvard U
  • Bob Markley U Ill. Urbana
  • Nichole Bennett-Bealer SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Michelle Sidler, Auburn U
  • Karla Armbruster, Webster U, St. Louis, MO
  • Marcia Ribble, U of Cincinnati
  • Kathy Fitch, College of DuPage
  • Ron Scott, Walsh U
  • Patrick Ewing, UCSB
  • Jason S. Todd, Xavier U, Louisiana
  • Lowell T. Frye, Hampden-Sydney College
  • Richard H. Haswell, Texas AM
  • Jane Nelson, U of Wyoming
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