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Semester: Winter term 2021

3.02.141 S Representations of Shark Science/Scientists in Anglophone Literature and Culture -  


  • Monday: 14:00 - 16:00, weekly (18/10/21 - 31/01/22)
  • Friday: 09:00 - 11:00, weekly (19/11/21 - 17/12/21)
  • Friday: 09:00 - 11:00, weekly (07/01/22 - 04/02/22)


"Apparently, a great white shark has staked a claim to the waters off Amity Island. And he's going to feed here as long as there is food in the water. [...] A shark is attracted to the exact kind of splashing and activity that occurs whenever human beings go swimming. [...] What we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat ... and make little sharks." This is how marine biologist Matt Hooper describes great white sharks in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster Jaws (1975). Arguably, Hooper thus simultaneously drew on long-established ideas about sharks but also reconfigured this machinistic image as a scientifically accepted "fact." At the same time, Hooper represents a textbook example of a scientist: intelligent, idealistic to the point of seemingly spending more money on his science than earning from it, white, and male.

In addition to reading actual shark science, we will discuss a selection of representations of shark scientists in fiction and nonfiction, from what could be labeled "the original shark documentary," Blue Water, White Death (1971) and both the Jaws novel (1974) and film to postcolonial examples such as Kojo Laing's Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters (2006) to trashy rollercoaster rides such as Steve Alten's Meg (1997), and reality television shows such as Shark Wranglers (2012).

Of course, we cannot disentangle the representation of shark scientists from their Other, sharks, which is why we will also explore sharks as material bodies and representations in this undergraduate seminar.

This seminar will be online. There will be a few weeks of input via video presentations (and quizzes based on the video presentations) at the start of the semester before we will get together to discuss the novels, films, etc.

You may participate either synchronously or asynchronously (you may also switch on a weekly basis). Groups for synchronous participation will meet on Mondays, 2pm, and Fridays, 9am. You may join either group. These weekly meetings won't start before November.

You will need to collect 50 (of 100) points during the term to have "participated actively," which you need to qualify for the "Prüfungsleistung."



  • Studium generale / Gasthörstudium


Art der Lehre
Ausschließlich Online


empfohlenes Fachsemester

Anzahl der freigegebenen Plätze für Gasthörende

Für Gasthörende / Studium generale geöffnet:

Hinweise zur Teilnahme für Gasthörende
Sichere Beherrschung des Englischen auf dem CEF-Niveau C1

(Changed: 2022-01-16)