Auditor Only Series

We are fortunate to have Professor Bendixon and Debbie Bisno back with us this fall.


ASC 100 – Contemporary Science Fiction

Professor: Alfred Bendixon, Lecturer in English


An exploration of the variety, diversity, and power of recent science fiction through the study of four recent critically acclaimed and best-selling novels:
 In Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation (2018), the Zombie Apocalypse occurs during the Battle of Gettsyburg and our young protagonist has to navigate racial, social, and political hierarchies to survive this pandemic.  Alternate history assumes a different form in Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars (2018), which won the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus awards for best novel.  Kowal’s narrative of the first Lady Astronaut reimagines a space program in which women earn an important place in a nation devastated by a meteor strike.  Naomi Alderman’s The Power (2017) shows a world turned upside down when women acquire the electrifying power.  The classic adventure form of space opera moves into new dimensions with the brilliant character studies in Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (2015), the first volume in the Wayfarers series which recently won the Hugo award for best series.
These four novels exemplify the ways in which recent works of speculative fiction have engaged the most pressing issues of our time in a variety of imaginative ways.

October 9, 2020:    Justina Ireland, Dread Nation (zombie pandemic, slavery and racism).

October 23, 2020:   Mary Robinette Kowal, The Calculating Stars (an alternate history featuring the first lady astronaut).

November 6, 2020:  Naomi Alderman, The Power: (the most intriguing feminist s/f novel of our time).

November 20, 2020: Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (space opera redefined).

Time: 10:00-11:30 am

Dates: October 9, 23, November 6, and 20, 2020

Alfred Bendixen received his Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of North Carolina and taught at Barnard College, California State University, Los Angeles, and Texas A&M University before joining the Princeton faculty in 2014.  Much of his scholarship has been devoted to the recovery of 19th-century texts, particularly by women writers, and to the exploration of neglected genres, including the ghost story, detective fiction, science fiction, and travel writing. His teaching interests include the entire range of American literature as well as courses in science fiction, graphic narrative, and gender studies.

Professor Bendixen may be best known as the founder of the American Literature Association, the most important scholarly organization in his field, which he continues to serve as Executive Director and as a frequent director of its national conferences.


ASC 200 – Behind the Scenes, Beyond the Script

Professor: Debbie Bisno, Resident Producer, McCarter Theater

Description: Join us for a Lunch and Learn!

What does it mean to be an artist or a theatrical producer in a COVID world? Peek into the lives and careers of established and award winning theater professionals amidst the backdrop of halted productions, commissions-in-progress, rehearsals relegated to ZOOM, and suspended Broadway shows. 

Live performance is in limbo, and the entertainment industry is facing its greatest challenge – pivoting and reinventing how to create and deliver content, and how to connect with an audience. 

Grab your lunch and dive into a conversation about theatrical work and the performing arts in this moment – what’s happening in the world of “virtual performance” from the artists’ and the critics’ POV, and what the future holds for creative professionals in both the non-profit and commercial sectors. 

You’ll have an opportunity to read a play script, hear music demos composed in quarantine, view a theatrical budget/or Broadway Tour schedule, explore virtual performance/experimentation, and engage with a range of special guests & established artists and industry leaders working in stage & film (ie. an actor, director, designer, playwright, composer, agent, Broadway & West End/London producer, a journalist.) 

Bring your lunch!  The artists will too!

Time: 1:00-2:30 pm

Dates: Friday's, October 2, 16, 30 & November 13

Debbie Bisno (Resident Producer) joined McCarter in 2016. Her experience spans Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End, regional and nonprofit theater. Broadway highlights include the 2019 revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon. Other Broadway: Grace, War Horse, HAIR, Merchant of Venice, Annie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Off-Broadway and London: Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly starring Carey Mulligan, Passion Play, and Merrily We Roll Along. Debbie was Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Chicago’s Roadworks Productions with residencies at Steppenwolf and Victory Gardens theaters, producing over 20 Midwest and World Premieres by playwrights including Mike Leigh, Kenneth Lonergan, Chuck Mee, Eric Bogosian, Phyllis Nagy, and more. She’s an Advisory Member of NYC’s Playwrights Realm and on the Board of FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.) Debbie lives in Princeton with her husband David and their Portuguese Water Dog, Bernice.