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31.03.2023 01:18:17
Seminar: 3.02.141 S Representations of Shark Science/Scientists in Anglophone Literature and Culture - Details
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General information

Course name Seminar: 3.02.141 S Representations of Shark Science/Scientists in Anglophone Literature and Culture
Course number 3.02.141
Semester WiSe21/22
Current number of participants 35
expected number of participants 40
Home institute Institute of English and American Studies
Courses type Seminar in category Teaching
First date Monday, 15.11.2021 14:00 - 16:00, Room: (online)
Lehrsprache englisch
ECTS points 6

Räume und Zeiten

Monday: 14:00 - 16:00, weekly (10x)
No room preference
Friday: 09:00 - 11:00, weekly
Friday: 09:00 - 11:00, weekly

Module assignments


"Apparently, a great white shark has staked a claim to the waters off Amity Island. And he's going to feed here as long as there is food in the water. [...] A shark is attracted to the exact kind of splashing and activity that occurs whenever human beings go swimming. [...] What we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat ... and make little sharks." This is how marine biologist Matt Hooper describes great white sharks in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster Jaws (1975). Arguably, Hooper thus simultaneously drew on long-established ideas about sharks but also reconfigured this machinistic image as a scientifically accepted "fact." At the same time, Hooper represents a textbook example of a scientist: intelligent, idealistic to the point of seemingly spending more money on his science than earning from it, white, and male.

In addition to reading actual shark science, we will discuss a selection of representations of shark scientists in fiction and nonfiction, from what could be labeled "the original shark documentary," Blue Water, White Death (1971) and both the Jaws novel (1974) and film to postcolonial examples such as Kojo Laing's Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters (2006) to trashy rollercoaster rides such as Steve Alten's Meg (1997), and reality television shows such as Shark Wranglers (2012).

Of course, we cannot disentangle the representation of shark scientists from their Other, sharks, which is why we will also explore sharks as material bodies and representations in this undergraduate seminar.

This seminar will be online. There will be a few weeks of input via video presentations (and quizzes based on the video presentations) at the start of the semester before we will get together to discuss the novels, films, etc.

You may participate either synchronously or asynchronously (you may also switch on a weekly basis). Groups for synchronous participation will meet on Mondays, 2pm, and Fridays, 9am. You may join either group. These weekly meetings won't start before November.

You will need to collect 50 (of 100) points during the term to have "participated actively," which you need to qualify for the "Prüfungsleistung."

Admission settings

The course is part of admission "Anmeldung gesperrt (global)".
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The following rules apply for the admission:
  • The admission is locked.