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INTR 101

Dolly death mask.jpg

By Manfred Werner - Tsui - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

INTR 101: Proposal and Research Essay

  1. Write a proposal... Your proposal should identify your chosen technology and a theory of technology. It should also pose the research question... The proposal should also identify at least three scholarly sources that you will use in your essay. Briefly introduce these sources and explain how they will help answer your question. Finally, include a Works Cited that lists the work you are focusing on and your scholarly sources.
  2. Write an essay that investigates a technology in either Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake or Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s Time of Eve (イヴの時間 Ivu no Jikan). Your essay should answer the research question that you posed in your proposal. Make an argument for how to understand the specific representation of technology in terms of the late twentieth- or early twenty-first century. The novel or film should be the main focus of your argument. In order to develop a meaningful analysis, you will need to carefully analyze the novel or film and you will need to research your chosen technology (or its broader context)...


Theory and Technology

Choose one of the following theories about technology... Your theory should be explicit in your question and essay...

  • Technological determinism
  • Technology and society
  • Technology as ideology
  • Donna Haraway and the cyborg
  • Posthumanism
  • Actor Network Theory (ANT)
  • Technology as materiality of power
  • Subjectivity and technology least three scholarly articles and additional varied sources.

INTR101: Group Presentation least five varied sources...

from Dexter Palmer's Version Control, on the Causality Violation Device:

"...Here’s the idea: We send Arachne into the causality violation chamber, retrieve her a few moments later, and see if the clock she’s carrying is still synced to the clock in Boulder. If Arachne’s clock is running faster—and if all works perfectly, we’d expect her clock to be about an hour faster— then that’ll mean that she’s existed for a longer period of time relative to the scientists who are observing her. Which would mean, in turn, that we had successfully created a causality violation.”

“In short—” the announcer said.

“Oh no,” said Alicia.

“—if Philip Steiner is successful, he will have built—”

“She’s actually going to say it—”

The announcer gasped. “The world’s first time machine,” she said.

“Goddamn it,” Alicia said. “I knew they’d take that corny angle.”

They saw a rapid series of clips from twentieth-century movies: an open-shirted Rod Taylor rescuing Yvette Mimieux from a rubberfaced Morlock; the USS Nimitz appearing in Pearl Harbor a day before the fateful attack; Michael J. Fox stepping out of the gull wing door of a modified DeLorean.

“This is so embarrassing,” Alicia said, while Philip quietly clenched his fist and the rest of the physicists stared at the television in despair.



Specifics (texts)... technology... theory...
Oryx and Crake GMO's "technological determinism"
  "Organ transplant*"  
Time of Eve "Artificial intelligence" "Actor network theory"
"Exploitive labour practices"

Choice of language may indicate perspective or bias in your sources.

Words that you choose for searching also influence the nature of the information that you retrieve. Being conscious of this can help your search strategy.

Consider the differences in your search results when you use one or another of the phrases in these sets:

  • clone / replicant / doppelganger / parthenogenesis
  • gated communities / walled communities / resort communities / luxury communities 
  • genetically modified / genetically engineered / bioengineered / frankenfood

Key words & concepts


  • broader... regeneration
  • narrower... "limb regeneration" / "organ regeneration" / "regeneration in humans"
  • related... prosthetics / "phantom pain" / transplants / "organ farming"


  • broader... cloning
  • narrower... 
  • related...

Combining concepts

Apply syntax. For example: ​("human cloning" OR replicants) "uncanny valley"

  • quotation marks "keep words together as phrases"
  • use OR together with parentheses to create a combined list of (synonyms OR "words that mean the same")

Try combining words and phrases that represent your key concepts to look for information in these databases:

Limit search results to the kind of information that you need. For example:

  • Refine > Scholarly & Peer Review
  • Content type > book/ebook ; videorecording ; news ; magazine...
  • Date
  • Discipline

Using good sources to find more good sources...

From Google image search:

The news article makes reference to a study: "findings were detailed today (May 20) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

The journal article is available in the Library!

What sources can we trace from this article?

Anderson, Lessley. "Why Does Everyone Hate Monsanto?." Modern Farmer (2014).

"...'The whole debate has gotten so very, very polarized,' says Glenn Stone, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, who has written extensively about GM..."

Not all Internet content can be readily retrieved through search engines such as Google. Much valuable web-based information may be located within databases that are not or cannot be crawled.

As part of your search strategy, consider which types of organizations or agencies might be expected to produce or disseminate the kind of information that you're looking for.

For example: gated communities

> business / corporate > real estate development and sales > e.g. Terra Firma Development Corporation

> local government > e.g. (by laws OR bylaws) "gated communities"

> nonprofit, NGO, user, consumer, or advocacy groups > e.g. "united nations" "gated communities"

For example: GMO's

> business / corporate > ...

> local government > ...

> nonprofit, NGO, user, consumer, or advocacy groups > ...

Long term viability of information ("link rot") is also a consideration in evaluating web sources: how to determine credibility when linked evidence seems to have disappeared or changed, and also to look at changes in representation of information over time.

Services that periodically capture and preserve Internet content, such as the Internet Archive (otherwise known as the Wayback Machine), can be helpful:

For example:

> Monsanto home page in 1996 vs. 2016

e.g. Lamb, Gregory M. "When Workers Turn into 'Turkers'." Christian Science Monitor, vol. 98, no. 237, 02 Nov. 2006, p. 13.


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