Film Genre – Weird Science: Technology and the Body in Science Fiction Cinema
108-003 | CCN: 32582
This course investigates how contemporary science fiction cinema redraws boundaries between human and non-human flesh, natural and artificial intelligence, living and non-living matter. Beginning with the body-horror science fiction of the late 1970s and early 1980s, we will examine how Hollywood SF films define the category of the human and against and through its Others: aliens, replicants, Robocops, Terminators, clones, virtual entities, software, hardware, and germs. We will pay special attention to how these texts do cultural work by situating their characters in discourses of race, gender, sex, and class. After establishing the critical currents of the genre in foundational texts from the 1970s and 1980s, we will jump to the 21st century to examine recent trends in the gendering and radicalization of working bodies in science fiction cinema. Readings will include scholarship by J. P. Telotte, Barbara Creed, Donna Haraway, Adilifu Nama, and others. Films will include Alien, The Thing, Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, Sleep Dealer, and Advantageous.