Saturday, February 16, 2013

Prompts on Gibson (also Marcuse and Dreyfus)

Option #1:  Use a concept from Marcuse's third chapter (I almost simply required you to use "The Great Refusal",  and I'd be fine if everyone used that concept, but I figured - why be unnecessarily restrictive?) to make an argument about the role or meaning of Neuromancer.  For instance:  does Neuromancer engage in the "The Great Refusal" or participate in (a synonym, or near synonym) the "rationality of negation"?  Or does it participate in the one-dimensional society. Use passages from both texts!

1a:  You might argue that Marcuse's concepts simply don't apply well to Gibson - which would presumably result in at least a limited attack on Marcuse.  If you want to make an argument along these lines, you should use Gibson to expose a particular flaw or limitation in Marcuse's thought, which shows a detailed understanding of both Marcuse and Gibson (you need to demonstrate, in other words, not that Marcuse is difficult or boring, but that his concepts don't apply well to Gibson for some particular reason).

Option #2:  Using Dreyfus, investigate the role of embodiment in Gibson's vision of cyberspace, using particular passages from both texts, very likely in relationship to the internet as we know it.  You should, as usual, at least move toward a clear argument.  Possible approaches:  you might argue that Gibson presents a vision of the internet which includes embodiment (and thus, risk, the possibility for true learning, etc.) - or you might take the opposite approach, and argue that Gibson (or Case in particular) falls into the trap of aspiring to escape from the body which Dreyfus discusses especially at the end of the book.

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