Sci-fi renders the familiar unfamiliar and in so doing provides us, as readers, with the opportunity to perceive the world and ourselves in new ways.
In this course we will take advantage of sci-fi’s imaginative scope—in depicting utopic and dystopic societies—to consider portrayals of power and control, and the significance of language and symbols. We will focus on rhetorics of individuality and collectivity and question how they are used to include or exclude. We will investigate representations of stewardship and ownership and their relationship to destruction and sustainability, as well as ponder instances of despair and euphoria. How do authors convey hope and meaning despite creating scenarios of immense destruction, totalitarianism, and pervasive futility?
We will engage in close readings and both class and small-group discussions to unpack our texts. We will consider these texts cross-culturally. How do the texts reflect different cultural perspectives? To guide our inquiry we will draw on
a variety of critical methods, such as eco-criticism, feminism, and post-colonialism. To learn to write well is to learn to think clearly, a process that is greatly helped by engaging with the ideas of other thinkers.
The goal of the course is to develop and strengthen critical reading and writing skills through responses to works of literature. To this end, we will practice how to articulate a point of view that relies on textual support.
Genesis. Bernard Beckett. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2006) ISBN: 978-0-547-22549-4.
Shikasta. Doris Lessing. Shikasta: Re, Colonised Planet 5 (Vintage International) Paperback (1981) ISBN: 978-0-394-74977-8
The Swan Book. Alexis Wright. Giramondo Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-922-14641-0