Literature, Cyberspace & Virtual Reality

Subject 673-341 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually 12.5 points of first year English.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Peter Otto
Subject Overview:

This subject provides an introduction to recent accounts of the virtual, virtual reality and cyberspace, and of the implications of these phenomena for our understanding of the self, the body, performance and literature. Drawing examples from printed books, hypertext novels, email, film, virtual art and the Internet, it studies some of the diverse relations in contemporary culture between fictional and 'virtual' realities, belief and the 'suspension of disbelief', print and digital media, the actual and the virtual. The view (widely held in the 1980s and 1990s) that new digital media herald the death of the author, of narrative and of the book, will be juxtaposed with more recent accounts that describe a less apocalyptic, more dynamic, relation between 'old' and 'new' media, genres, and forms. This subject aims to help prepare students for reading, writing and performing in cultures where the virtual and the actual have converged.

Assessment: An essay of 1500 words 40% (due mid-semester) and an essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of the semester).
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader including Virtual Art - Charlotte Davies,Labyrinths (Jorge Luis Borges) The Man in the High Castle (Philip Dick) Neuromancer (William Gibson) Invisible Cities (Italo Calvino), Picador Plowing the Dark (Richard Powers) Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson) Patchwork Girl, 1995 (Hypertext 1995: Shelley Jackson) Afternoon, a story, 1990 (Hypertext 1990: Michael Joyce) Twelve Blue, 1997 (Hypertext 1997: Michael Joyce) The Matrix, 1999 (Film: Andy & Larry Wachowski,)
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • acquire skills in research through competent use of library, and other (including online) information sources and through the successful definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;

  • acquire skills in critical thinking and analysis through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through the questioning of accepted wisdom and the ability to shape and strengthen persuasive judgments and arguments; through attention to detail in reading material; and through openness to new ideas and the development of critical self-awareness;

  • acquire skills in theoretical thinking through use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through a productive engagement with relevant methodologies and paradigms in literary studies and the broader humanities;

  • acquire skills in creative thinking through essay writing and tutorial discussion; through the innovative conceptualizing of problems and an appreciation of the role of creativity in critical analysis;

  • acquire skills in social, ethical and cultural understanding through the use of recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion; through the social contextualisation of arguments and judgments; through adaptations of knowledge to new situations and openness to new ideas; through the development of critical self-awareness in relation to an understanding of other cultures and practices;

  • acquire skills in intelligent and effective communication of knowledge and ideas through essay preparation, planning and writing as well as tutorial discussion; through effective dissemination of ideas from recommended reading and other relevant information sources; through clear definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research; through confidence to express ideas in public forums;

  • acquire skills in time management and planning through the successful organization of workloads; through disciplined self-direction and the ability to meet deadlines.

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