ENGL 262: Culture Under Surveillance
On some level, surveillance and narrative seem to have an awful lot in common: both are technologies reaching across time and space to allow some parties to see into the inner lives of others, to witness and record private moments, to look from the outside in and make the private public. In this course, we will take these similarities seriously, asking how fiction, film, television, and games can and do operate in an era of widespread surveillance. How do textual and visual media confront—or replicate—the dynamics of power and spectatorship we associate with surveillance? What kinds of fictions have been written and produced about surveillance, as surveillance has become more and more central to the interactions between governments, companies, and individuals? How can we attend to surveillance itself as not only a technological or political phenomenon but a psychological and cultural phenomenon? How can we write and narrate under, around, about, within, or against surveillance? In short: what is it like to read, write, film, play, and live in the shadow of a surveillance society?