Reading with Scientists: Isaac Asimov and Driverless Cars

by Abigail Droge
Published November 13, 2018

Which is scarier: a technology that follows human orders or one that acts for itself? After bringing to a close our encounters with Frankenstein’s rebellious Creature, “Reading with Scientists” turned to Isaac Asimov’s classic short story “Runaround” to consider the opposite extreme: a creation that does what it’s told. “Runaround,” originally published in 1942 and […]

Reading with Scientists: Students Imagine New Ways to Teach Literature

by Abigail Droge
Published November 6, 2018

Imagine yourself as a teacher who must engage a scientific audience in a conversation about literature. This is the prompt that I want students to consider for our next assignment in “Reading with Scientists.” In this post, I’d like to share the content of the assignment sheet that I’ve handed out to students, who will […]

Reading with Scientists: Victor Frankenstein, College Student

by Abigail Droge
Published October 29, 2018

Does our current education system tend to produce or prevent Frankensteins? This question has been of central importance to our “Reading with Scientists” class over the past three weeks, and as we close our engagement with Mary Shelley’s novel, I’d like to reflect on some of our key discussions. In the first volume of Frankenstein, […]

Reading with Scientists: Annotate. Advocate.

by Abigail Droge
Published October 22, 2018

The version of Frankenstein central to the “Reading with Scientists” syllabus is “Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds” (MIT Press, 2017). Footnotes by multiple authors, some connecting passages to current scientific issues, others filling in literary or historical context, and still others posing difficult ethical questions or providing explicit moral counsel, are […]

Reading with Scientists: Frankenstein and CRISPR

by Abigail Droge
Published October 15, 2018

We have reached the heart of Frankenstein. This week in “Reading with Scientists,” we paired Shelley’s novel with selections on the genome-editing technology known as CRISPR. Think of it as a tool for DNA customization; CRISPR allows scientists to add or delete certain genetic characteristics, essentially giving us the power to design living organisms to […]

Reading with Scientists, Week 1: Beginning with Frankenstein

by Abigail Droge
Published October 8, 2018

How would you characterize the current relationship between literature and science at UCSB? This question kicked off our first day of “Reading with Scientists: How to Export Literature.” Groups of students came up to the board and mapped out where they see the disciplines converging and diverging; their collective notes opened a number of doors […]

Reading with Scientists: Syllabus Design

by Abigail Droge
Published October 1, 2018

To celebrate the first day of “Reading with Scientists: How to Export Literature,” I’d like to share our syllabus (attached below) and briefly describe the thought process behind it. The purpose of the course is to imagine ways that we might teach literature in non-literary settings, like science classrooms. Our two sessions each week will […]

The Purpose of Interpretation and Theory?

by Dan C. Baciu
Published September 12, 2018

Between dense methodological and theoretical work, the wonderful news reaches me that the writer T. A. Barron just donated to UCSB to establish leadership in the environmental humanities. This is more than great news; it could be the beginning of a larger story of success. My past and present theoretical work leads me to the […]

Five Principles for Teaching Humanities Advocacy

by Abigail Droge
Published September 5, 2018

As I prepare to bring humanities advocacy into the classroom this year, I want to reflect on some initial guiding principles. I intend this list to be malleable – I hope it will grow and change as I move through the teaching process. Let’s start with a definition. What is “humanities advocacy”? For me, the […]