ENGL 2212 Science Fiction
Shawn Collins, Instructor
About the Course:
This course introduces students to science fiction through utopian literature, a tradition within the genre that spans five-hundred years. Utopias posit ideal worlds, societies, and technologies. In this course we will explore the social impulses beneath the utopian and their broader implications for our understanding of topics such as perceptions of social and scientific progress and the perennial desire for things to be other than they are. Students will hone their ability to read literature closely, for nuance and various possible interpretations, and ask how literature may help illuminate our world. The writing component of the course aims to teach students to craft well-supported arguments based on textual evidence gleaned from thoughtful engagement with the texts.
Students who read closely and carefully, and who actively participate in the work of the course, will be able to do the following by the end of term:
- Interpret and analyze representative examples of utopian literature, with a particular emphasis on language, structure, genre, and context.
- Describe the philosophical and cultural contexts and the broader implications of utopian literature.
- Craft effective arguments that synthesize course material and students’ original interpretations.
Readings may include works such as Thomas More’s Utopia, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, as well as other novels and selections of utopian theory and applied criticism.
Grading (out of n points): 100