Puppet, Automaton, Robot

They are us, and not us: puppets, automata, and robots are toys or machines that look like us (or parts of us). From antiquity to the present, we have imagined, and then invented, organic and inorganic versions of ourselves, sometimes for entertainment, sometimes to perform essential tasks. This course will draw upon an interdisciplinary range of materials –from philosophy, the history of science, anthropology, and psychoanalysis to literature, popular culture, and art. Instead of separating the “scientific” from the “poetic,” this course will introduce and explore ways in which we can think about what we want from our “artificial life,” and how the boundaries between the living and the non-living require constant rethinking

Credits: 3.00

Course Code: HUM 325

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.