"Whether You Sing or Make a Machine": American Literature, Culture, and Machines

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  • WS 17/18

Course Information

Nr. Kursbezeichnung Typ Zeit Raum DozentIn
154670 "Whether You Sing or Make a Machine": American Literature, Culture, and Machines 2 HS Mi 08:30 - 10:00 R. 0.420 Laemmerhirt

Course Description

From spinning wheels to cars to robots, this course explores representations of machines in American literature and culture from the 17th to the 21st centuries. Closely analyzing poems, essays, novels, movies, paintings, and music, we will discuss if and how the role of machines has changed in American culture. Indeed, machine metaphors and narratives are crucial as they reveal beliefs, anxieties, and desires related to the present and the future. More often than not, these narratives lead to ethical and moral questions that challenge the nature of humanity. Last but not least, we will discuss how technology and machines are transforming literary texts and our perception of literature

Course Requirements

Please make sure to purchase the books and start reading. A reader with additional material will be made availabe at the beginning of semester.

Reading List

Texts to be discussed in class: F.Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby (1925) Gary Shteyngart. Super Sad True Love Story (2010) Movies to be discussed in class:. Modern Times (1936) Blade Runner (1982) Pacific Rim (2013)


Lehramtsstudiengänge: MA Lehramt:1401, 1402, 1403 LPO 2003:
  • GHR: 5b
  • GyGe: 6c, 6d, 7c, 7d
  • SP1. Fach:5b
  • SP2. Fach: 4b
  • BK:6c, 6d, 7c, 7d
LABG 2009:
  • G: 703, 704
  • HRG: 602, 1001
  • GyGe/BK: 602, 701, 702, 1002
  • SP: 703
LABG 2016:
  • G: 602, 703, 704
  • HRSGe: 602, 1002
  • GyGe/BK: 602, 701, 702, 1002
  • SP: 703
Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften/

Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften:

  • B.A.ALK: Kern: 6abc, 7abc Komp: 3abc, 4a
    • PO ab WS 16/17: Kern: 6abc, 7abc Komp: 3abcd, 4a
  • B.A.AS: Kern: 6bc Komp: 4a
    • PO ab WS 16/17: Kern: 6bc Komp: 4a
  • M.A.ALK: 1abc
    • PO ab WS 16/17: 1abcd
  • M.A.AS: 2ab
    • PO ab WS 16/17: 2ab