2020 Special Lecture: Technology and art

Font size  SML

Register update notification mail Add to favorite lecture list
Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Bektas Yakup 
Class Format
Lecture    (ZOOM)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

(In place of "Technology and Art in Heidegger," the following course will be offered in Q4-2019):


Is technology all good? Does it always help create a better world, a better life? Does human ingenuity sometimes go out of control, producing the monstrous or deinon (the sublime), the most beautiful and most terrible things? Do human beings then become slaves to their creations? In addressing these questions, visionary authors have created scary monsters in their works to symbolize the unintended consequences of technological innovations, scientific endeavors, and human over-cleverness in general. These also warn how technology may become an uncontrollable force, bringing about catastrophes, disruption, destruction, fear, and angst.

This course will study the literary critique and questioning of technology and science through notorious "monsters" such as Leviathan, Frankenstein’s Monster, Mr. Hyde, and Godzilla. It will explore the original stories and literature where they first appeared and their subsequent evolution in the popular imagination into symbols and metaphors that warn of technology’s potential threats -DDT to nuclear energy, GM foods to cloning. We watch Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein create life, observe Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Goethe’s Faust grasping for knowledge and power, see Robert L. Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde exchanging identities, land on H. G. Well’s sinister Island of Doctor Moreau, finally viewing the sea monster Godzilla (1954) sinking ships and attacking Tokyo. We will also reflect on the more recent story of the long-extinct dinosaurs brought to life in Jurassic Park.

Purpose: To highlight in more accessible ways the unintended consequences of science and technology, the uncertainty and potential dangers of technological contrivances. To make students familiar with the original stories of the monsters and how they evolved to ideas and metaphors symbolizing technological enterprises going out of control and threatening human life and nature. To make the study and questioning of science and technology more appealing.

Student learning outcomes

Be able to question technology and science, and critique freely and effectively their unintended consequences. Be better acquainted with well-known stories of monsters symbolizing technology going out of human control, scientific and technological innovations and enterprises threatening human life and nature. Be familiar with the related metaphors and terms.


Technology, creativity, evil, monster, knowledge, power, pride, immortality, control, virtue, fame, social responsibility, fear, destruction; Mad Scientist, the Faustian Bargain, Frankenstein’s Monster, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Godzilla, Jurassic Park

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Format: Conducted generally in a lecture style and when possible in seminar style.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Thinking of science and technology through "monsters" None
Class 2 Faust and the Faustian Bargain Goethe, Faust.
Class 3 Frankenstein’s Monster I Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.
Class 4 Frankenstein’s Monster II Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.
Class 5 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde R.L. Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Class 6 Doctor Moreau (and Jurassic Park) H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park
Class 7 Godzilla Godzilla (1854)

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

1- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818; revised edition in 1831)
2- Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
3-Cristopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (written between 1589 and 1592; 1620)
4- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Faust I in 1808, and Faust II in 1832)
5- H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896)
6- Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park (1990)

Audio-Visual (not complete):
Godzilla (original film in 1854, directed by Ishirō Honda)

Assessment criteria and methods

Based on attendance, performance, and writing assignments (short essays); roughly %80 for participation and performance, and %20 for writing assignments.

Related courses

  • To be determined later

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


Office hours

One hour after every class. Other times by appointment by email or call.

Page Top