Spring 2004 (as revised 4/24)
IAH 206
Self, Society, and Technology

INSTRUCTOR: Larry Hauser
Office: 508 S. Kedzie  Phone: 353-9372
Office Hours: M
and by appointment
Angel: https://angel.msu.edu/frameIndex.htm


Required Texts and Materials:

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks
  • The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (available online)
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
  • Course materials online and on Angel

Course Description:  How does technology affect who we are as individuals and what we are as a society?  Does it enrich our lives, or does it encroach on our souls?  Conversely, how do our aspirations and identities as individuals and as a society express themselves through and shape the technologies we create and use?  Do new technologies allow us to discover who we are and what more we can attain?  Do new technologies allow others to inordinately influence who we are and what we pursue?  This complex web -- self, society, and technology -- is the subject of this course.  To explore this subject we will be paying special attention this semester to biotechnology, creative (e.g., music and film) technologies, and information technology.   We will draw on material from several disciplines, including philosophy, literature, history, art, music, and film.  Many of the issues and problems we will confront in this course have scientific besides social content.  We will be working at the interfaces of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts.

MSU Academic Integrity Policies: http://www.vps.msu.edu/SpLife/rule32.htm


Due Date




see course calendar below


1/4 of course


as assigned

atttendance + forum contributions on Angel and other "free writing"

1/4 of course

Term Paper

consultation: prior to 4/18
topic & thesis: 4/18
abstract: 4/20
paper: 4/27

2000 words (approx. 8 dbl-spaced pages)
Topic open:  This paper should defend a thesis.

1/4 of course

Final Exam

Wed. 5/4
3:00-5:00 p.m.

Mixed: "Objective" & Essay

1/4 of course

Important Note
Elements of this course will require the use of Angel, an online course management system.  You will need to access Angel for course informantion, links to relevant websites and other course resourses, for some required readings, and  to participate in the online forums as required.
 If you do not have easy Internet access you should not take this course.

IAH Goals: Integrative studies at MSU seeks to assist students to become more familiar with ways of knowing in the arts and humanities and to be more  knowledgeable and capable in a range of intellectual and expressive abilities.  IAH courses encourage students to engage critically with their own society, history, and culture(s) or to learn more about the history and cultures of other societies.  They focus on key ideas and issues in human experience; encourage appreciation of the roles of knowledge and values in shaping and understanding human behavior; emphasize the responsibilities and opportunities of democratic citizenship, highlight the importance of language and the value of the creative arts, and alert us to important issues that occur and re-occur among peoples in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world.


My classroom is rated R: lectures & discussion may include adult themes and language.
Class Meets MW
3:00 - 4:50, 209 Berkey Hall
Approximate Course Calendar





Show & Tell
A Well Spent Life 44

Jan. 11

The Lonely 25
Readings Online

Jan. 13

MLK Jr. Day
No Class

Jan. 18

Frankenstein 71
Frankenstein 1/3

Jan. 20

Bride of Frankenstein 75
Frankenstein: 2/3

Jan. 25

Discussion: Quiz #1
Frankenstein 3/3

Jan. 27

Manufacturing Consent 84
Brave New World 1/4

Feb. 1

Manufacturing Consent 84
Brave New World 2/4

Feb. 3

Aldous Huxley: The Gravity of Light 70
Brave New World 3/4

Feb. 8

Modern Times 87
Brave New World 4/4

Feb. 10

The Corporation 57
Communist Manifesto 1/2

Feb. 15

The Corporation 85
Communist Manifesto 2/2

Feb. 17

Battleship Potemkin 74
1984 1/4

Feb. 22

Animal Farm 72
1984 2/4

Feb. 24

1984 110
1984 3/4

Mar. 1

Discussion & Review
1984 4/4

Mar. 3

Spring Break
No Class

Mar. 8

Spring Break
No Class

Mar. 10

Quiz #2 | Blade Runner (pt.1) 57-59
Do Androids Dream ... 1/3

Mar. 15

Blade Runner (pt. 2) 57-59
Do Androids Dream ...

Mar. 17

Freaks 62
Do Androids Dream ... 3/3

Mar. 22

The Measure of a Man 45
Turing 1950: §§1-3, §§6-7 (Linked on Angel)

Mar. 24

Secrets of a Wild Child 60
Flesh & Machines 1-2

Mar. 29

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control 80
Flesh & Machines 3-4

Mar. 31

2001: A Space Odyssey 87
Flesh & Machines 5-6

April 5

2001: A Space Odyssey 53
Flesh & Machines 7-8

April 7

A Brief History of Time 80
Flesh & Machines 9-10

April 12

Lecture: Flesh & Machines
 Read "Did HAL Commit Murder?" (online)

April 14

Quiz #3:  The Battle of Algiers (pt. 1): 61
Topics & Theses Due

April 19

The Battle of Algiers (pt. 2): 61
Abstracts Due: read "Imperialism" (online)

April 21

Lecture & Discussion:
Imperialism and Globalization

April 26

Final Review: Term Papers Due:
 Official Forum Post Deadline

High Noon
April 28

Finals Week

.May 3

Final Exam
3:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.

May 5