English 287 - Winter, 2018

Topics in Literature & Media

Class Information

Instructor: Boluk, Stephanie
CRN: 53364
Time: W 12:10-3; 6:10-9
Location: 120 Voorhies


In an E3 interview with John Carmack, id Software’s famed graphics programmer who left the company to join Oculus Rift, he declared how rendering technologies are quickly “converging at the limits of our biological systems.” With graphics technologies exceeding the capacities of the retina, VR has become the latest horizon for thinking about embodied vision. After a flurry of technoutopian speculation in the 90s that resulted in disillusionment and a turn towards theories of augmented reality design in the 2000s, virtual reality has been resuscitated in the form of commercially viable platforms from Valve's Vive to Google Cardboard to “virtual” currencies that de-naturalize perceptions of money. Looking at theories of the virtual ranging from Renaissance theories of optics and Deleuzian philosophy to an analysis of the phenomenology of VR games and their relationship to race, gender, (dis)ability, and class, this course will take a practice-based approach to thinking about the new generation of financial and affective investments in fantasies of immersion, escape, and perspectival realism.

Note: This course could potentially intersect with a class called “First-Person” in which the class will be focusing on learning how to program Unity VR applications (no previous programming experience required).