Humanities Forum: Tony Pennino, “Science Fiction as Inspiration for Science: The Case of Edward Bellamy”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 ( 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm )

Location: Morton 324

Humanities Forum: Tony Pennino (Assistant Professor, Literature)
“Science Fiction as Inspiration for Science: The Case of Edward Bellamy”

In 2013, the Center for Science and Imagination at Arizona State University announced the launch of the Hieroglyph Project, founded with Neal Stephenson, in “an effort to get science fiction writers talking with scientists and engineers about the future”. For this paper, Professor Pennino will discuss the importance of science-fiction, not strictly within the confines of the discipline of literature, but rather at the intersection of individual inspiration (both artistic and scientific) and societal and technological progress. He will specifically examine Edward Bellamy’s novel Looking Backward (1887) and how it might serve as a model text for the center’s mission. In particular, this novel provides an excellent illustration as to the role humanities in general can play in scientific inspiration.

Anthony P. Pennino is an assistant professor of literature and theater at Stevens Institute of Technology where he has taught since 2007. He holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the University of London. He was a Fulbright Scholar for which he served as a senior lecturer at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. He was the recipient of a 2005 Fellowship from the New Jersey Council of the Arts. His current research centers on the evolution of William Shakespeare’s work in late twentieth-century theatre. Earlier this year, his paper on Shakespeare and the Chartist Movement was published by Monograf.