How I Used Doctor Who in One of my College Classes

By Madelaine Elam, Humanities

I was not expecting to be able to use resources such as television shows and movies when I first came to Florida Tech. I thought that I would just be reading huge quantities of books. When I took some of the Humanities classes offered at Florida Tech, however, there were television shows and movies required for the courses! While it was not required, I was able to use a few Doctor Who episodes in both class discussion and a few papers for the Humanities Junior Seminar Class.

The Humanities Junior Seminar class (HUM 3905) is for Juniors who might be approaching the Senior Tombstone – I mean – Capstone project. In this class, we students experienced some of the research techniques that would be used for the Capstone project. The Capstone Project is the Senior Design Project for the School of Arts and Communication. For this year long project, students research a topic of their choice, write a forty page paper, and then present his or her research to the faculty of the School of Arts and Communication. The Humanities Junior Seminar was based on a question: how does society view technology? While the class was mainly instructed by Dr. Lisa Perdigao, many of the Humanities instructors guest lectured, including Dr. Taylor, Dr. Tenga, Dr. Ruane, Dr. Patterson, Dr. Roseine, and Dr. Aberdien. Each of these professors presented different aspects of technology and how people view and interpret these areas of technology. Dr. Perdigao also had us watch various film and television shows, including The Island (2005), Almost Human (2014), and Fringe (2008-13), among others.

So, why did I use Doctor Who in this class? Well, I decided to focus on the topic of cloning technology and how that influenced not only humanity but also the Fine Arts. So, when I tried to think of television or film sources, I realized that there were a few episode of Doctor Who that dealt with cloning, including Season 6 episodes, “The Rebel Flesh” and “The Almost People”. In these episodes, the humans clone themselves in order to prevent harm from their work environment, which raises the problem of originality in that two different people (who are really the same) are claiming one life, one set of memories, and one history.

Similarly, by the technological advancements that are practically in every pocket of people around the world, the originality of art has become compromised, in that a person can go online and find an image of any piece of art instead of actually going to a museum or gallery where that artwork might be displayed. What’s wrong with this? That piece of art is no longer unique – there is an image of it floating around out in the Internet. Similarly, by cloning yourself, as many students would like to do in the weeks leading up to finals, you are no longer unique, dear reader. There is now another one of you walking around campus, claiming all your memories and feelings as his or her own.

If these ideas sound interesting to you, come to the School of Arts and Communication and see if any of the class that we are offering sound interesting to you! I think you will find that some of these classes are the most interesting, educational, and entertaining classes you might have here at Florida Tech!


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