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Lisa Nocks

Contact Info

Title: Dr.
Office: Cullimore 322
Phone: 973-596-5360
Dept: Federated Department of History


About me:

Member: Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), British Society for the History of Science (BSHS), Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP)

Ph.D. Drew University, Modern History and Literature
M. A. New School for Social Research, Media Studies
B. A. Montclair State College, Fine Arts
Honors and Awards:
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Teaching Development Fellowship 2010 ($12,000).
  • NJIT Excellence in Teaching by Instructional Staff --NJIT College of Science and Liberal Arts 2010.
  • The Robot: The Life Story of a Technology recognized: Choice  journal Outstanding Academic Title.
  • Teaching Fellowship Fordham University Department of Communication and Media Studies 2006-2007.
  • Doctoral dissertation awarded distinction, 2005.
  • Recipient: 2005 Student Recognition Award, Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, Drew University.
  • Grant Recipient: ECHO Workshop: Exploring and Collecting History Online • Center for History and  New Media, George Mason University, February 9-10, 2002.
Professional Service:


  • Committee Member/presenter: NJIT Provost Workshop on Senior Capstone Design 2011.
  • Workshop Participant:  Teaching and Learning Technology Faculty Institutes, 2007-Present.
  • Member: NJIT Moodle Users Group.
  • Course Development: Summer 2010 project to enhance HSS404 Robots in History and Culture (my NEH Teaching Development Award.)
  • Participant, Spring 2010 Open Courseware Consortium lectures and workshops.
  • Participant Spring 2010 Spring 2010 TLT Faculty Institute.
  •  Invited lecturer, March 10, 2008: “The Android Initiative in Fiction and Science.” NJIT  Honors College Colloquium Series
  • Course Development: Developed/taught three senior Humanities capstones: Robots in History and Culture; Controversies in Biotechnology; A History of the Future


Outside Consulting

  • Consultant: reviewed by request: “Imagining Technology” a review for NESTA on the interactions between science fiction and technological development by Jon Turney. 2012.
  • Consultant: Curriculum Development for Communication Major and Freshman English. TCI College of Technology, New York, 2012      
  • Consultant: provided historical information to producers of proposed History Channel projects on the history of robotics.
  • Consultant: Interviewed by outside graduate student Christal Roberts on Journalism, media, and public perception. March 2012.                                                                 
  • Judge: FIRST Robotics Competition, TCI College of Technology, New York, 2007.
  • Peer Review Panelist: Fulbright Teacher Exchange, New York Region, 2003-2006.
  • Committee Member: Business Advisory Committee, Marketing Art & Design Program, Middlesex County College, Edison, NJ, 1996-1999. (as President, Renaissance Studios, Inc.).
Public Lectures/Interviews
Invited Lecturer: “Current Trends and Challenges in Robotics and AI.”TCI College of Technology, New York, NY. Forthcoming: March 13, 2013.
Invited Lecturer: “Biotechnology and the Public: Gattaca and Public Perception.” ByrneLecture Series, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. October 2, 2012. 
Invited Lecturer: “Humanoid Robots from Science Fiction to the 21st Century and Beyond.” 
TCI College of Technology, New York, NY. April15, 2010
Invited Lecturer: “The AndroidInitiative in Fiction and Science.” NJIT Honors College Colloquium Series. March 10, 2008.
Invited Lecturer: “The History of Robotics.” TCICollege of Technology FIRST Robotics Group.
New York, N.Y. July, 2006.        
Invited Radio guest: WFUV with Nora Flaherty. Robots in Engineering andFiction. May, 2006. (enter my name in “search archives” box)
Invited Lecturer: "Gattaca: The Genetic Industrial Complex in Film.” Frankenstein in Our Time Forum. Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ. November 21, 2003.
Scholarly Conference Activities (Most Recent)
Presenter: “What’s the Big Idea? Humanoids, Science Fiction, and Public Perception.”
Science in Public conference, University College, London, July 20-21, 2012.      
Presenter: “Eugenic Fault Lines: Revisiting Gattaca in the Biotech Century.”
Literature/Film Association. Border Visions: Borderlands and Film conference.              
CCSU, New Britain, CT. October 12-14, 2011.                                                                
Presenter: “The Cinematic Android and the Violation of Sacred Human Space in AI: Artificial Intelligence.” American Historical Association (AHA) 125th Meeting.                                        
Boston, MA. January 7, 2011.
Area Chair: “Loving the Machine” area; 2010 Film and History Biennial. Representations of Love in Film and Television.
Milwaukee, WI. November 11-14, 2010.
Invited Commentator: Robots in Practice panel; Society for the History of Technology Annual Meeting. Pittsburgh, Pa. October 15-19. 2009.
Presenter: Practical Matters in Robotics and Science Fiction." Geschichte (n) derRobotik.
Offenbach, Germany. May22-24, 2009.                                                                                                                      
Presenter: “Explaining Science: Willy Ley, Technical Advisor.”
2010 Filmand History Biennial: Film & Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond.
Chicago, Il. October 31-November 1, 2008.                                                                                                
Presenter: “Willie Ley’s Galaxy Pen Pals.” Joint Meeting of the BSHS, CSHPS, and HSS,
Keble College, Oxford, England. July 4-6, 2008.
Presenter: “From Imagination to Invention: The Nineteenth Century Roots of theHumanoid.” Minds, Bodies, Machines Conference. Birkbeck College, Bloomsbury.
London,England. July6-7, 2007.
Presenter: “Steam Men and Electric Wonders: Industry and Imagination in theNineteenth Century.” Joint ACA/PCA Conference, Boston, Ma. April 4-7, 2007.
Presenter: “The Mythic Dimensions of the Android Initiative.” Myth and theNew Science Conference. University of Bristol.
Bristol, England. July 27-29, 2006.



Research Interests

history of science, technology, and media culture; the public perception of techno-science; history of popular science publishing; recent history: robotics, space exploration, biotechnology; Victorian science and culture.


Publications & Projects


Presentation January 15, 2015

On-line class size and the Reality of Humanities Teaching and Learning

Room number: 
Session E (3:45pm-4:30pm)
Online Program Administration
Student Retention
Lisa Nocks
Speaker Bio: 

Dr. Nocks, historian of science, technology, and media culture began teaching in 1989 and moved to NJIT in 2007, where she is senior lecturer in the Federated department of history. She has developed and taught college courses in history, media studies, and the arts in a traditional classroom environment, and began teaching online for the New School in 2010. She consults on historical points for books and documentary projects and is currently working on a book about humanoid robotics. She has authored articles and essays including That Does Not Compute in Science Fiction and Computing (McFarland), T.H. Huxley: The Evolution of the Bulldog in Icons of Evolution (Greenwood), and previously, Frankenstein in a Better Light (Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems.) She is the author of the Choice Outstanding Title The Robot: The Life Story of a Technology (Johns Hopkins UP).

Workshop Title: 
On-line class size and the Reality of Humanities Teaching and Learning
Workshop Description: 

Online space is not unlimited space. High online course enrollment poses challenges to student retention and success. To inspire straightforward discussion about the real cost of this trend, I describe specific humanities course experience, and encourage creative thinking about managing courses that are discussion and writing heavy.


“Robotics in the United States,” forthcoming in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology, edited by Hugh Slotten. Oxford University Press, 2013.
“That Does not Compute: The Brittleness Bottleneck and the Problem of Semantics in Science Fiction.” Science Fiction and Computing: Essays on Interlinked Domains, edited byDavid Ferro and Eric Swedin.McFarland, 2011.
The Robot: The Life Story of a Technology. Johns Hopkins UP, 2008.
               Choice Outstanding Academic Title
“T. H. Huxley: The Evolution of the Bulldog.” Icons of Evolution, edited by Brian Regal. Greenwood, 2007.
“The Golem: Between the Technological and the Divine.” Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems. 21.3: 281-302.                                                                                                                            
“Frankenstein: In a Better Light.” Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems. 20.2: 137-154.                                                                                                                              
Science and its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Gale, 2000.
     “The Development of Writing Materials 2000 B. C. – A. D. 699.” (v. 1)                      
     “The Origins and Development of the Magic Lantern.” (v. 3)                                                
     “The Communication Revolution: Developments in Mass Publishing During the Nineteenth Century.” (v. 5)                                                                                                    
     “A Brief History of Robotics 1950 – Present.” (v. 6)