Symposium: Reading Frankenstein: Then, Now, Next

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81 St Mary St

81 Saint Mary Street

Charbonnel Lounge

Toronto, ON M5S 1J4

Canada

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On Friday, October 26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Charbonnel Lounge, the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto will host an “academic campfire” titled Reading Frankenstein: Then, Now, Next. This three-part symposium will gather literary scholars, historians, ethicists, computer scientists, science fiction writers and futurologists—and invite students to participate in discussions about the ethical dimension of their technological practices. You can read a full itinerary for the event here, and read more about Frankenstein's bicentennial celebration at St. Michael's here.

Will our technological progeny turn into monsters? Will we repeat the mistakes of Victor Frankenstein? Will artificial brains and deep learning software piece together what it means to be human, or shall humanists collaborate with scientists to instill, rather than design, “humanness” in our creatures? Can we imagine a future when humans read to machines, instead of letting them read us?

With Alan Bewell, Dav Clarke, Jeffrey N. Cox, Yulia Frumer, Paolo Granata, Sonia Hofkosh, Mark McCutcheon, Jean-Olivier Richard, Terry F. Robinson, Michael Sims, Avery Slater, Catherine Stinson, Karen Weisman, Daniel White, and more!

Keynote speakers:
MARK CANUEL, University of Illinois at Chicago
JOSEPHINE JOHNSTON, Hastings Center, New York
JASON S. ROBERT, Arizona State University

* * *

SYMPOSIUM PROGRAM

8:30-9:00 a.m. Welcome Coffee and Refreshments | Registration
9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks: Paolo Granata, Jean-Olivier Richard, and Terry F. Robinson

Frankenstein THEN
9:00-10:20 a.m. Keynote | Introduction: Karen Weisman (UofT)
Mark Canuel (U of Illinois Chicago), “Frankenstein and the Progress of Civilizations”

10:20-10:30 a.m. Break

10:30-11:45 a.m. Roundtable | Chair: Terry F. Robinson (UofT)
Jeffrey N. Cox (U Colorado Boulder), “Reading Frankenstein in the Theatre”
Sonia Hofkosh (Tufts U), “Frankenstein and the Question of Genre"
Dan White (UofT), “Reading Frankenstein’s Reading”

11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Lunch

Frankenstein NOW
1:00-2:15 p.m. Keynote | Introduction: Alan Bewell (UofT)
Josephine Johnston (The Hastings Centre, NY), “Responsible Science: Confronting Today’s Monsters”

2:15-2:30 p.m. Break

2:30-3:30 p.m. Roundtable | Chair: Jean-Olivier Richard (UofT)
Marc A. McCutcheon (Athabasca U), “The Marshall and Mary Chain: How We Talk about Technology Now”
Catherine Stinson (Western Ontario U), “Frankenstein’s Progeny: AI’s Culture of Exceptionalism”
Dav Clarke (Gigantum | PI, Glass Bead Labs, Washington D.C.), “Frankenstein and Cybernetics”

3:30-3:45 p.m. Coffee & Refreshments

Frankenstein NEXT
3:45-5:00 p.m. Keynote | Introduction: Paolo Granata (UofT)
Jason Scott Robert (Arizona State U), “Frankenstein and Our Uncanny Future”

5:00-5:10 p.m. Break

5:10-6:10 p.m. Roundtable | Chair: Avery Slater (UofT)
Michael Sims (Non-Fiction Writer), “The Future is Past”
Yulia Frumer (Johns Hopkins U), “Fear or Fondness: The Historical Construction of Attitudes towards Robots”

6:10-6:15 p.m. Closing Remarks

* * *

THANK YOU to all participants, as well as special thanks to the sponsoring units and the academic committee: Alan Bewell (Department of English, UTSG), Randy Boyagoda (University of St. Michael’s College), Markus Dubber (Center for Ethics), Yiftach Fehige (Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology), Paolo Granata (Book and Media Studies program), Brian Jacobson (Cinema Studies Institute), Charlie Keil (Innis College), Jean-Olivier Richard (Christianity and Culture program), Terry Robinson (Department of English and Drama, UTM), Avery Slater (Department of English and Drama, UTM), Dan White (Department of English and Drama, UTM).

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81 St Mary St

81 Saint Mary Street

Charbonnel Lounge

Toronto, ON M5S 1J4

Canada

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