Lesson Plan: The Uncanny Valley

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Ian here

Week 7 of the “Image” section of the U Chicago Humanities Core course “Media Aesthetics” is devoted to Freud’s essay on the uncanny. It’s a tough week: students have to work through the usual trickiness of disentangling Freud’s ideas from the ideas he cites from Ernst Jentsch, and, on top of this, the week has to act as a general introduction to psychoanalysis, which will return in the form of Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” After a tough lecture in the first class meeting of this week, I decided to give my students something that was both more fun, and more hands-on. For the week’s second meeting, I gave them small group work based around Mori Masahiro‘s concept of the uncanny valley.

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