Category Archives: Class Notes

Class Notes 12/20/2018


  • This is the final day of classes.
  • This is also the last day of presentations.
  • People that are set to present are:
    • Justin
    • Phoenixx
    • Sajida
    • Mohammad

Justin’s Presentation: Genetic Memories 

  • Questions?
    • How can advanced tech help us to adapt to future psychological problems we face today?
    • And can we learn from our past ancestors?
  • Genetic Memories is a memory that is present at birth and that existence in the absence of sensory experience.
    • Sir Francis Galton’s did the first experiments work in 1865
    • The concept of genetic memories developed in 1921 and started experiments in the mid 1950s.
  • Examples used:
    • Assassin’s Creed
      • Animus: decode genetic memories of past ancestors.
    • Stargate SG-1
      • SYFY TV Show
        • Alien race known as Goa’uld.
        • Possesses the power to pass their knowledge through genetic memory.
  • Consequences
    • It is unethical
      • Changing a person’s DNA
  • Benefits
    • Resiliency to physiological problems like depression, anxiety, mental abuse.
    • Offspring can learn the history through their ancestors history.

Phoenixx’s Presentation: Into The Mind of Science Fiction Writers: How Sci-Fi Authors Use Architecture to Visualize Their World

  • Questions
    • How do science fiction authors use architecture to better illustrate the world they describe? Are words just enough?
  • Realism is a key to the artwork in science fiction works.
  • Use of similes and metaphors to jog the reader/viewer’s mind of things we do not know
  • Architecture helps build a scene to show emotion in a setting.
  • Realism in architecture serves as developmental tool for authors.
  • It also shows how technological advancements improve humanity.
  • Examples:
    • Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains”
  • Another use for architecture in Science Fiction, is t challenges the meaning of ‘what is home’
  • Sometimes an image can really put things into persepctive.

Sajida’s Presentation: Artifical Intelligence Use in the Army

  • She provided a breif overview of artifical intelligence, contrasting it to human intelligence.
  • The use of Artificial Intelligence can lead to hyperwar, which is more deadly than human war. Hyperwar involves machines.
  • Artificial intelligence shows no emotion whatsoever.
  • Artificial Intellgience in the army, can help improve decison making, less casualties.

Mohammad’s Presentation: Terraforming

  • Mohammad spoke about the history behind Terraforming.
    • Coined by Jack Williamson
    • The term appeared on the 1942 edition of Astounding Science Fiction
  • Definintion:
    • A process of making an environment safe for human life.
  • Example:
    • Rover on Mars collecting information that could possibly help them terraform Mars.
  • Importance:
    • Human population is increasing everyday.
    • By 2050, estimated around 9.9 billion humans.
  • Overpopulation’s effects on environment:
    • No clean water
    • plant and animal extinction
    • lower life exprectany
    • climate change increase
  • Is it possible?:
    • NASA say no because technology is not that advanced.
    • Elon Musk says otherwise

The class also discussed scenes from Westworld.

  • Reveraries: are a class of gestures that were initially thought to have been developed by Robert Ford.
    • Example: Clementine Pennyfeather
  • These gestures allows access to previous builds.
  • Shakespearean Quotes:
    • Much of shakespearean quotes was said by Peter Abernathy.
    • “These violent delights have violent ends”
  • We discussed about the park’s creation.
    • Only for the rich.
      • Ex: The Man In Black
  • Hosts are objects to the customers.
  • The implanting of memories into robots/androids is common in science fiction.
  • We discussed about the hosts realizing that there world is not real.
  • We discussed about the love connection between Dolores Abernathy and Teddy Flood.
  • We discussed about the scene with defective hosts.
    • Similiar to the film I, Robot.

Notes 12/18/18


Today was the first day of the final presentations. Chris, Tyler, Vishal, Sheng, and Pedro went today. On Thursday its:

  1. Justin
  2. Phoenixx
  3. Sajida
  4. Stanley
  5. Mohammad

We might discuss West World on Thursday if we have time so make sure to bring your notes. Also don’t forget the final course reflection is due on Thursday.


  1. Chris- The connection between Star Wars and China. His presentation talked about how the teachings of taoism is related to the force and how the powers of the force were influenced by teachings of the taoism.
  2. Tyler- Life Extension. He basically talked about life extension is, and the flaws.
  3. Vishal- The cruel truth of Uplifting. He talked about what is Uplifting. The pros and cons of Uplifting, also, gave examples of Uplifting going wrong. 
  4. Sheng- Human Genetic modification. She talked about how with genetic modification you can create a human with whatever gene you want but it is going to cost you a lot of money.
  5. Pedro-The Influence of Science Fiction on the perception of Real World Technology. He talked about how science fiction influenced the inventions of robots and A.I. Also how movies and shows made a negative perspective for robots and A.I.

If you want to check their presentations out you can click on the titles and it will bring you to a pdf version of the presentation.




Final presentation 

Tuesday 12/18/18.                  Thursday 12/20/18

  1. Chris                                         1. Justin
  2. Tyler                                         2. Phoenixx
  3. Vishal                                       3. Sajida
  4. Shange                                     4. Stanely 
  5. Pedro                                        5. Mohammad


Points to remember while doing research:

  • Could you say a little more about your topic 
  • Introduce your topic and your name 
  • explain what you’re doing 
  • Explain the significant 
  • Be more specific why is it important 
  • Connection to the sci-fi world
  • Don’t take anything for granted  
  • Give background on your topic
  • Set a timer and keep a timer for yourself 
  • In text situations 
  • Images must be sighted 
  • Bring the research in 
  • Have a hook 
  • Part of your grade is being a good listener 
  • speak loud and clear
  • own your topic 
  • Make sure to site and it won’t be excepted if there is now inside the citation 
  • 5 W’s 

Questions you should think about before the presentation 

things to keep in mind before and during the presentation:


It’s connection to sci-fi 

Be prepared to ask questions 

You should know your topic  

Connect the dots for the reader 

Print your slides and notes out 

You can only put work sited if you talk about the work

Extra work consulted 

Class Notes: 12/6/2018

Due Tuesday

  • Lightning presentations on your research project. Come prepared with your PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.
  • Work on final course reflection
  • Work on research project


Class Notes

  • Sajida will take extra credit class notes on the 18th.
  • Vishal will take extra credit class notes on the 20th.


About the Lightning Presentations                                         

  • They are a quick overview on what your project is about.
    • They are short, clear and straight to the point.
    • 2-3 mins long and roughly 3 slides.
    • Include citations, titles, pictures and works cited page.
    • Be prepared to take questions at the end.
  • Make sure everything in your presentation makes sense, including your sources and topic.
  • The presentations files will not be collected, so bring them in via flash drive or email
  • Although this presentation is ungraded, 20 points will be deducted from the final presentation if you do not do it (thank you, Stanley).
  • Email the professor before meeting if you want to talk more about your project (including the abstract, cover letter and presentation).
    • Although there are no classes next Thursday, the professor is still available to meet.


Suggestions for the Lightning and Final Presentations

  • During the presentations, video tape yourself so you can see how to improve yourself.
  • Record and talk to yourself if you can’t figure out what to say for your topic. Simply ask yourself questions and create a discussion, then play it back and listen.
  • Practice your presentation so that you do not go over the 3 min mark.


About the Cover Letter and Abstract

  • In the cover letter, you may discuss how the peer reviews, meetings and revisions changed your thinking process for the project.
  • The abstract summarizes your main points/arguments. It is 3rd person and approximately 350 words (315 to 380 words)

During class, we discussed the guest editorial and gave our own point of views on it.


Announcements :                                                                                                                             Thursday 12/6/18 work on research projects                                                                                             analog editorial and class discussion due  Wednesday 12/5/18                                                              (bring west world notes)                                                                                                                          Tuesday 12/11/18 : lighting presentation (preview)                                                                                  Thursday 12/13/18 reading day  (NO CLASS)                                                                                            Tuesday 12/18/18 and Thursday 12/20/18 (presentations) ALL PRESENTATIONS ARE DUE TUESDAY                                                                                                                                           Thursday 12/20/18 final course reflection (no exam)                                                                              * conference with Prof.Belli this week                                                                                                      also available next week                                                                                                                            Tuesday: before 2:30pm                                                                                                                              Wednesday: 12:30-2:30                                                                                                                                  Thursday: 12:30 and on

Research:                                                                                                                                                           -background (key terms, definitions, context)                                                                                             research/ summary heavy                                                                                                                           – development / so what / argument (claims/ analysis- heavy)                                                               – evaluate/ operational sources                                                                                                                     – help (peers, online, Prof.Belli, library, learning center)

Notes for class 11/29/18


  • Initial stage is stressful, but do more research and you’ll understand more about your topic.
  • Bring 4 copies of revise proposal to class on Tu. 4.
  • Should not know their arguments yet at the beginning.
  • Bring in devices to work on the research project.
  • More help email prof. to schedule a time given that some work is already done. Make sure to sign up for conference after class on Tu/ Thur.

3 Things To Ask Yourself When Drafting Proposal:

  1. Is the topic clear and specific? The narrower the better.
  2. Is the topic worth doing?
  3. Is it directly related to science fiction? How can it be explore through lens of sci-fi.

Thur. 12/6:

  • Analog edition + OL Discussion
  • Symposium debate/ Westworld.

Class Notes 11/27

Today in class, we attended The Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction. We were presented with a panel from students that read the book named ” Shaping the Future: A Student Roundtable on Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower”. Below is the notes that was taken about the book during the panel discussion. 


Main character name was Keith that lived  behind a gated community. Lived in an dystopia where people attacking each other was normal.The setting of the community has not rain in years and the crime is at its highest. They call that area the  survival of the fittest. Throughout the book before he went into the world of reality, everything was spoon fed to him. The sister in the family named Lauren has a lot more say in the family than Keith. Keith went through a situation where he stepped outside the community and took the important keys that opened the gate to the community. These keys he took was so crucial and essential to the story, he went outside and put the lives of the people in the community at stake. He wants to be the man of the house but he has not faced reality yet, he went outside and was badly injured. He was taken for all his clothes and other valuables, and Keith is shown selfish. He went back out again and brought his father’s gun, he goes back out and joined a gang and paid his price for his consequences

MARVIN – PAST OF LIFE ( Lauren’s life )

People relied on God for everything

Lauren was aware of how messed up the world was

She prepared for it

Took manners into her own hands

Started to question if God is real

Put people in guidance that leaves a lot of confusion throughout the progress

She wrote down journals

Went up north to look for freedom

She did not believe in the religion everyone else believed in

She went places to find a job , and nobody would give her a job

Her friends and family is gone, so she followed God guidance’s through all her situations


Everything you touch changes

Taylor Franklin Banko ( Lauren’s love )

People would rather live in fear  and not be aware of what is going on


Class Question:

What would you do when the world is pratically over ?

Class Notes 11/15/18

Today in class we began our discussion on the Show adaptation of The Handmaids Tale. These are the notes from today and the questions/topics/quotes we interpreted and analyzed as a class.

Free Writing Prompt #1: What does it mean to be Human?

Thought Process for writing prompt:

Understanding one’s history to move on forward in life Self-awareness/ Self-regulation  Sustained well being without infringing on other feelings                                               Feel/Emotions/To Love                                                                                                                       Individuality                                                                                                                                              Creativity                                                                                                                                                Empathy                                                                                                  Potential/Growth/Desires/Conscious of Surroundings                                                                        Free will/ Respect/Unselfish/Culture

Group Discussion: Humanity within The Handmaids Tale

Free will is stripped away from all people living in The Republic of Gilead. Thus giving people especially handmaids structurally made choices. Like the decision to be a Handmaid or become unwomen and live in colonies filled with toxic waste tasked to clean it all till death. An obvious choice from a survival standpoint. Which leads to the Anatomy of a woman the handmaids being used for a “higher purpose”. An empty vessel of sorts used to carry Gilead’s purpose. Survival and the social classes set by Gilead creates an immense division between the women in Gilead. These social classes blind them from the actual problem laying in front of them (Social Division – /Stronger Together +).

Second Freewrite: Analyzing Quotes within Handmaid Tale

”There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to now you are being given freedom from don’t underrate it” (24)

“Freedom like everything else is relative”

These quotes speak on the world before and after Gilead. In the first quote, Aunt Lydia refers to two freedoms. Freedom to, Freedom from. Freedom to refers to society before Gilead where there was freedom to do whatever one pleased (disregarding consequences). One could kill, steal, cheat, have a different sexual orientation/preferences, etc. Which meant everyone was exposed to the fact of being killed, stolen from, cheated on, and have had a different sexual orientation and or preference. The anarchy that leads to low infertility rates and high toxic levels. Freedom from is referring to life within the Gilead republic where all of these “Freedoms” are crimes punishable by death. Freedom from being killed, cheated on, stolen from, with no freedom of will to decide or even have a sexual orientation or preference. Thus Aunt Lydia saying not to underate being saved from these actions by the Republic of Gilead.

The Second quote tackles the “Freedoms” within the Republic of Gilead through Offred’s lenses. “Freedom like everything else is relative”. The freedom she speaks of are the ones handmaids hold. Although they may not seem as “freedoms” but overall necessities to live a functional life, in the Republic of Gilead they are somewhat freedoms. And what makes them relative is that their actions within Gilead determine their fate. Good behavior is awarded in a sense with being able to survive another day whilst bad behavior or unethical behavior under Gilead republic will have fatal repercussions.

Next Tuesday (11/20) we will continue our discussion on the Handmaids Tale and start our discussion on Westworld. Bring in Scenes that you want to discuss for both (H.T, W.W).

Two Peoples Choice due by Monday midnight (11/19)

For Our Westworld discussion have this question in mind. How is Humanity redefined in Westworld?

Freewrite about this question/ take notes from the episode that answer this question and bring in those scenes as well. This will help in preparation for our upcoming discussion.

Next Class, we will also have a  discussion about our final project. Be sure to attend this Tuesday class before break.

(Please comment any information you would like to add or I might have missed.)








Class Notes: 11/13/2018

Homework for Next Class

  • Watch the very 1st episode of Westworld and post a blog about it. As you watch it, you must take note of when events you would like to discuss in class occur. When creating the blog, be sure to make reference to the video and cite correctly (01:30:50).


Extra Credit

Three different extra credit opportunities will be coming in the near future, including events about:

  • The symposium
  • Frankenstein exhibit
  • Performance Space New York – will discuss post-humanism

To receive extra credit, you must attend an event and post a blog about it. The blog could be about what you learned and what you thought were the most important takeaways. Remember, these are 3 different extra credit events. More information will be available soon.


 Literature Courses 

Level 2000 and 3000 literature courses will be available in the Spring of 2019. The Professor specifically mentioned the Major Topics in Writing and One Major Writer courses. For more information on literature courses, visit the Openlab site or check the photos below.




Andrew Marvell’s Poem

We briefly mentioned Andrew Marvell’s poem “to his coy mistress.”



  • Extrapolate: To take circumstances to the future and then speculate on what could happen.
  • Pedantic: To be preachy and lecturing.


The Image of Women in Science Fiction Article

This is an article that discusses how women have been stereotyped in science fiction. The main points the author makes include:

  • How science fiction sometimes creates a matriarchy in their stories. This occurs when authors attempt to reverse the roles of gender as opposed to abolishing them. Matriarchies are static and hierarchical by nature.
  • Science fiction can imagine all things technological, but lacks creativity when discussing human relations, especially gender-roles. For example, women are always shown to be weak and require rescuing. This is a common trend in soft science fiction.
  • The absolute value of progress is one of the most common things in science fiction, but it is probably wrong.
  • Gender-roles have a straitjacket attached to them. In a broad sense, a straitjacket is something that constrains possibilities. Gender-roles are described in this manner because “there are no real women in science fiction” because they are just stereotypes.


Science Fiction’s Women Problem Article

This is a controversial article that discusses women in science fiction. We touched on several points about the article:

  • Groups such as Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies complained about how people look at science fiction to “vivisect” society. This is exactly what our class does.
  • They also complained about the forced diversity in the the science fiction awards ceremony.

The author’s main points include:

  • Science fiction needs different mindsets to broaden views.
  • Gender equality is essential to sci-fi being important.
  • Women are underrepresented in the science fiction field. This includes the writing and book reviewing fields. This means that balance is lacking.
  • Representation is important because it will determine who creates the stories and reviews the books.
  • Sci-fi has an ethical responsibility to balance things.

We also talked a bit about hard science fiction and soft science fiction:

  • Most men write hard science fiction while most women write soft science fiction.
    • Women are not represented well in STEM fields, so they do not create hard science fiction.
  • Hard science fiction is more respected.
  • There is a perceived hierarchy in these types of science fiction.


The Handmaid’s Tale

Why was this novel recreated 30 years later (2016)?

  • A big reason was because of the election, Donald Trump, the Alt-Right movement, the huge resurface of racism and the presence of misogyny.

How did this world came to be?

  • There was a decrease in childbirth (infertility) due to the radiation and toxic waste around the world. Apparently, there was enough destruction to warrant a new system. A real-life example of this is 9/11.  As a result of the terrorists attack, a war began and the Patriot act was enacted to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.

Fun fact: The author of the book, Margaret Atwood, makes a short appearance when she slaps the main character.

11/8/18 Class Notes


  • Please see Professor Belli if you have not done so to discuss your mid semester grades. It is absolutely important for those who got a borderline (BL) or unsatisfactory (U) grade.
    • For those who don’t remember how to check it, visit the OpenLab ENG 2420 course site, scroll down under the Categories drop down menu, where it will say Course Gradebook and a line underneath that “Students, check your grades here!” Click on ENG 2420 which will show you your mid semester grade. The other grades (Midterm and Essay 1 will be posted here later)
  • Next week we’ll be discussing the first episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld, to discuss the equality and political-social issues. Tuesday for The Handmaid’s Tale, Thursday for Westworld.  We’ll also spend more time discussing the theme of Gender in science fiction so continue reading “The Image of Women in Science Fiction” and “Science Fiction’s Women Problem”.  We’ll be spending a few minutes on wrapping up “The Image of Women in Science Fiction” and more of time analyzing “Science Fiction’s Women Problem”.
  • Based on the comments from “World-Building in Political Elections”, we need to state the link or source explicitly (Links appear as images on this site, explain underneath the image what it is and where it’s from).  This goes for future assignments as well, when uploading or using a source, don’t just place the source anywhere. Help readers understand why it’s there. Keep this in mind for our final research project which will be coming soon.  Learn to find sources but keep track of the ideas. As you research, these ideas may change.
  • In the future, we will return to the theme of Artificial Intelligence.


Next week we’ll have two reading response blogs due. Check the schedule to see the assignments.

  • For our next class on Tuesday, November 13, you must watch the episode “June” from the Hulu series, The Handmaid’s Tale. A reading response blog will be due by the start of class. Treat the assignment similarly to how we did with Metropolis (evidence with proper citations and bring in annotations for Tuesday).
  • Next Thursday, November 15, will be focused on the HBO series, Westworld.

“Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society”

Quote we analyzed last Tuesday, November 6 was from “Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society” by Ruth Levitas,

“Utopia also entails refusal, the refusal to accept that what is given is enough.  It embodies the refusal to accept that living beyond the present is delusional, the refusal to take at face value current judgements of the good or claims that there is no alternative.”

11/6/18 Recap

  • From the freewriting responses, everyone had different thoughts and opinions on what this quote meant as well as a different definition of utopia
  • Misrepresentation of Utopia, Although commonly thought as better, every individual has their own idea of a utopia.


  • What is your impression of labeling someone else’s utopia as impractical?
    • Stops people from dreaming, believing, being motivated
    • Prevents free thinking and progression
    • No individuality
    • Shuts things down, narrows people’s views, lowers expectations, constrains what we can achieve or desire.
  • People view Utopia as better but it’s also a way of showing refusal of the current state of our society
  • “Living beyond the present is delusional” – condescending, something that is frequent in gender equality
  • “The refusal to take at face value current judgements of the good” – believing in a utopia indicates that a person can’t accept the way things currently are.
  • “There is no alternative.” – quote used frequently by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
  • Can be seen in politics, gender relations, race relations

“World Building In Politics”

  • Given our current political climate, what are defining features of the current administration?/What characterizes them?
    • Fear and Discrimination – an example would be the caravan from Mexico that is making its way to Mexico City
    • Misinformation
  • What vision/world does that build for us?
    • Lead people to ignorance. What is truth? Hard to tolerate other people’s ideas
  • “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell became re-popularized by President Trump because of it was reminiscent the world.
    • Famous quote “two plus two equals five” – the State constructs different versions of reality to make people believe a certain thing.
    • Doublethink, Newspeak – Thought control
    • Trump’s behavior encourages lack of respect or truth.
  • Online Discussion
    • Republicans and Democrats have differing views. What happens if the Democrats take back the House?
    • Letitia James, first African American woman to to be elected as attorney general has made many breakthroughs. Science Fiction and politics both are fields where women are heavily underrepresented.
  • People who openly ran for progressive/diverse ideas still lost.  This is because the moment needs to be right before enacting something.  Speculative fiction pushes what might be possible and what is currently possible.

Gender and “The Image of Women in Science Fiction”

  • “The Image of Women in Science Fiction” is part of the Vertex magazine and was published 44 years ago around the height of feminism and the science fiction genre.  Even today it’s still relevant.
  • Science fiction has a lot of portrayal of women yet very little women involved in the field.
  • “Science fiction is What if literature… offend against what is known to be known.” (Page 54, First Column)
    • It tries to speak against the mainstream.
    • Quote considers the way things are, the way things might/could be, and the way things should/ought to be.  The way things should be is like an ethical desire.
    • The What If is speculative and considers all sorts of possibilities (even borderline fantasy ones) whereas The Serious Explanation is essentially staying grounded to reality and considering the more likely possibilities.
    • “Utopia concerns what is not (yet).  It is intrinsically evaluative, concerned with what ought to be and the process of conforming the world to that standard.” (Levitas) – A utopia means to desire otherwise.  It indicates that you want the world to look like something else.
  • “One would think science fiction the perfect literary mode… does not exist at all” (Page 54, Second Column)
    • Women are subject to extrapolation for science fiction works.
    • Although science fiction is a speculative genre, there is no assumptions of speculation about the gender roles to be found in science fiction because the differences are clear in real life.
    • Alternative roles for women aren’t even being imagined.  Science fiction should accommodate different ideas but it hasn’t been when it comes to gender roles.
  • “It has been easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” (Frederic Jameson)
    • The idea that humans would destroy themselves is more believable than changing the fundamental structure.
  • Column 3 quotes
    • “This is not the case… into is future Galactic Empires.” – Instead of the difference between women and men being changing with time, science fiction authors just took the current standards and made it like these inequalities would exist in the future.
    • “In general, the authors who write reasonable… and that world is never questioned” – Even famous authors don’t try to challenge the gender role ideas.  These gender roles reproduce common assumptions.
    • “In short, the American middle class with a little window dressing.” – science fiction works create superficial presentations of gender inequality.
    • “In science fiction, speculation about social institutions… technology is easier to understand than people.” – A lot of science fiction authors can imagine technology that can adapt to the point of taking over the world but the idea of women having equal rights is unheard of to them.  They can’t imagine people in different roles.

Vocabulary and Terms

  • Cherry Picking (verb) – A selective form of researching.  Act of picking certain things but obscuring others.
  • Delusional (adjective) – crazy, mistaken, believing something to be true even though it’s not.
  • DoubleThink (noun) – “Nineteen Eighty-Four” term for believing two contradictory things at the same time
  • Innate (adjective) – inherent, natural
  • Intrinsically (adjective) – in a natural way
  • Newspeak (noun) – “Nineteen Eighty-Four” term for the official language of oceania.  Heavily controlled by restricting certain words.
  • Status Quo (noun) – the current situation or way things are (can relate to social and political issues as well)


If you see any mistakes or missing information feel free to call me out on it in the comments.