Saturday, January 26, 2013

Prompts on Philip K. Dick & Marcuse - Week 1

Prompt 1:  

Clearly quoting or citing a location in Marcuse's text (just citing the chapter number, or prologue, is fine for Marcuse, since we all have access to the electronic text), identify an idea or concept, used by Marcuse, which you believe can and should be used to better understand some aspect of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.  Then, do exactly that:  show how and why that concept from Marcuse can be used to understand the novel.  Be sure to show and understanding of, and cite material from, both texts.  Our discussions of how Heidegger can be applied may be relevant here.

Prompt 2 (Research):  

Using academic sources only, probably from Pitt's library (that is, an actual book, or an article from a peer-reviewed journal), present research relating to Marcuse that you think would help the class, and that is at least moving toward an argument.  To put it another way:  it's fine to spend most of your space simply presenting one or several interesting sources, but you need to also, at the very least, show us the beginning of an argument, or to pose a question or series of questions which would lead to an argument.  A 75%/25% division between research and argument would be fine, although I'd be skeptical of a 90%/10% division.

Your sources should be obviously serious and substantive - at least 20 pages of academic writing, and probably more.  If you're using a book, you shouldn't necessarily read the whole thing, but read at least the introduction, and whatever material deals with a topic of interest to you.

Example topics:  how was Marcuse's work received and used when it was published?  How did Marcuse use, and react against, Heidegger?  How can/should we understand Marcuse using either the history of philosophy, or the history of technology?  What was the role of Marcuse's thought in American politics of the 1960s?  Etc.

Recommended book:  Andrew Feenberg's The Catastrophe and Redemption of History, which relates Heidegger and Marcuse, and is even available as kindle book, if you're too lazy to go to the library.

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