Call for Papers
Technologies of Frankenstein: 1818-2018
7-9 March 2018, Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, New Jersey USA)
Co-sponsors: Stevens Institute of Technology and IEEE History Center
The 200 anniversary year of the first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus has drawn worldwide interest in revisiting the novel’s themes. What were those themes and what is their value to us in the early twenty-first century? Mary Shelley was rather vague as to how Victor, a young medical student, managed to reanimate a person cobbled together from parts of corpses. The imagination of the novel’s readership outfitted Victor’s laboratory with the chemical and electrical technologies that brought the creature to life. Subsequent theatrical and cinematic versions of Frankenstein have been, like the creature, patched together from the novel and from contemporary popular press as well as public demonstrations of medical, chemical, and electrical research. Mary Shelley’s contemporaries arguably exploited her novel to their own purposes, including George Canning (leader of the British House of Commons in 1824) who drew an analogy between the prospect of freeing West Indian slaves and Victor’s “monster” who is left in the world with no master to curtail his criminal instincts. Some of Mary Shelley’s biographers characterize the story of Victor Frankenstein’s reanimation experiment as a cautionary tale against techno-science run amok while others emphasize Victor’s irresponsible behavior toward his subject. In what ways might our tools of science and communication serve as an “elixir of life” since the age of FrankensteinFor more information about the conference and to register please visit http://frankenstein2018.org.
Michael Geselowitz (IEEE History Center) and Robin Hammerman (Stevens Institute of Technology, College of Arts and Letters)