Eng 101: Virtual Reality & Composition

Course Description

In this course, we will focus on writing in its most basic form as a means of simulation.  Ironically enough, the idea of the ‘eerily life-like’ simulation has long been the material for paranoid science fiction writers throughout the 20th century, fueling stories of androids silently replacing their owners, organ-harvested clones, and ‘false’ sensations so real and permeating one can no longer sense what is “real” and “virtual.”  Using this overlap, we will look at texts by the our primary ‘simulators’ in William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and Philip K. Dick, and find inspiration for our own ‘ideal selves’ manifested through the intentionally artificial mode of writing.  Using this idea of ‘perfected selfhood’ as our filter, we will move through a series of composition exercises and workshops to construct or promote our ideal self, or at least a convincing enough self to win over an audience.


As this course ultimately centers around the practice of writing, and learning tactics for our own writing, various texts on “Virtual Reality” will merely serve as the foundational base, or raw material, for discussions about the selected authors’ (as well as our own responses to these authors’) choice of rhetoric, opinion, and stylistic execution.  We will increasingly come to terms with our own stylistic mode as a natural evolution of assignments and exercises, ultimately reaching fruition in a final research paper.  The ‘scaffolded’ assignments leading to this research paper will involve various proposals, drafts, and research assignments discussion in further detail under Evaluation.


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