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Listed below are keynote events that are planned and hosted by the Common Reading Program itself. Our Coug Presence page lists both these events and additional events hosted by our partners.

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“The Future Has Always Been Female: Mary Shelley, Ada Lovelace, and the Origins of Science Fiction and Computing”

September 18, 2017 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Presented by Roger Whitman (Dept. of English).  Ready Player One depicts a virtual world filled with 80s references, geek culture, and science fiction tropes. But did you know that both science fiction and computing began in the nineteenth century? This talk looks at two female pioneers of the future: Mary Shelley and Ada Lovelace. Shelley was the author of Frankenstein, depicting the creation of life by a human being; and The Last Man, featuring the destruction of all life on Earth by an unnamed plague. Lovelace, on the other hand, wrote the first computer program. Daughter of the “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Romantic poet Lord Byron, Lovelace became the “countess of numbers” and worked with Charles Babbage on the designs for the analytical engine: the first general purpose computing machine. In the wake of recent struggles in science fiction and video games to recognize the contributions of women, it is important to remember that the future has always been female. Verification of attendance will be provided.


September 18, 2017
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
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CUE 203


WSU Common Reading Program