The scholarly work of Kevin LaGrandeur proves that the humanities and sciences have more in common than meets the eye.
His book, Androids and Intelligent Networks in Early Modern Literature and Culture: Artificial Slaves, awarded a 2014 Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Prize honorable mention, was was the product of interdisciplinary research that also led to a number of articles over the past several years. His latest research on medicine and literature, in collaboration with two physicians, explores an alternate theory of how Shakespeare and some of his fellow playwrights may have died. The project is funded by an Institutional Support for Research and Creativity grant from NYIT. Dean Olsen, D.O., an adjunct professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, is one of the consulting doctors.
LaGrandeur started out as a pre-med student but later changed course to earn degrees in English and economics. He then sought a career unencumbered by disciplinary restraints sometimes found in higher education. "For someone like me, who has a strong interest in multiple disciplines, especially sciences, philosophy, and English studies, a university like NYIT is a great fit," he says.
In his class, "Intelligent Technology, Ethics and Literature," LaGrandeur is experimenting with new ways to engage students. They use mobile devices to find and send him links on topics as they're discussed in the classroom, and he posts the most interesting ones on the class syllabus or in a Blackboard discussion area.
His next endeavor is to research the philosophical dimensions of current efforts to build an artificial conscience in robots. He has been appointed Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, an international technology think tank, and is also a member of The Modern Language Association, and the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. He served on the executive board of the last organization for two years.
In addition to his book, LaGrandeur is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, as well as conference papers and presentations.
An avid outdoorsman, LaGrandeur enjoys skiing, cycling, hiking, camping, fishing, and birdwatching with his wife. He's a stalwart football and soccer fan who has season tickets for the Green Bay (Wisc.) Packers (though he lives in New York), and traveled to Germany in 2006 to watch the World Cup soccer tournament.
His role models are as disparate as his interests—Albert Einstein; Sir Richard Burton, the 19th-century explorer and writer; and Packers quarterback Bart Starr—and yet they make perfect sense for someone who finds connections in unlikely places.
LaGrandeur says, "The best part of my job is engaging with people and ideas from various disciplines at an intimate, forward-thinking institution."
- Book in progress and under contract at Palgrave Press: Robonomics: Avoiding Technology-Based Job Loss (with sociologist James Hughes, U Mass Boston)
- Interview with Mel Brooks about his film Young Frankenstein for an article connected with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Shelley’s Frankenstein
- Researching the philosophical and social dimensions of current efforts to develop an artificial conscience for robots (in connection with a European Union EACEA Grant)
- Androids and Intelligent Networks in Early Modern Literature and Culture: Artificial Slaves. (Routledge, 2013)
- “Posthumanism and Contemporary Art.” (Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], 24 March 2016.)
- “Androids and the Posthuman in Television and Film.” The Palgrave Handbook of Posthumanism
- In Film and Television, Eds. Michael Hauskeller, Thomas D. Philbeck, Curtis Carbonell (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015):111-119.
- “Emotion, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethics.” Beyond Artificial Intelligence: The
- Disappearing Human-Machine Divide. Eds. Jan Romportl, Eva Zackova, Jozef
Kelemen. Book Series: Topics in Intelligent Engineering and Informatics Volume 9. (Berlin: Springer Press, 2014): 97-109.
- "Digital Images and Classical Persuasion." The Routledge Reader on Writing Centers and New Media. Eds. Sohui Lee, Russell G. Carpenter. (Routledge, 2013)
Honors & Awards
- Winner of a 2014 Science Fiction and Technostudies award for my Book on androids and intelligent networks (see above)
- Won European Union EACEA Grant (2013-2016)
- Appointed Fellow, Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology, an international think tank
Courses I Teach/Have Taught at NYIT
- Strange Creations: Intelligent Technology, Ethics, and Literature
- Writing for the Web: Web Design