English N180Z

Science Fiction: Speculative Fiction and Dystopias

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2014 Jones, Donna V.
MTuTh 10-12 note new location: 180 Tan

Book List

Dick, Philip, K. : Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Hoffmann, E.T.A. : Tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann; Shelley, Mary : Frankenstein; Strugatsky, Arkady and Boris: Roadside Picnic; Whitehead, Colson : Zone One

Other Readings and Media

Fiilms: The Matrix; Stalker; Bladerunner 


This course will examine in depth the history of speculative fiction and its engagement with the thematics and topoi of the new life sciences—representation of cloning, ecological dystopias, hybrid life-forms, genetic engineering dystopias. While science is the thematic point of departure of speculative fiction, the concerns of this course will be the literary. How does literature’s encounter with the projected realities of the new biology revise our conceptions of the subject? Could there be a Leopold Bloom of the genetically engineered, a subject whose interior voice is the free-flowing expression of experience? Behind the endless removes of social, material and technological mediation stand the construction of a flesh and blood body, separated from itself through the workings of consciousness. If indeed the post/modern subject requires a psychic space shaped by the authenticity of ‘being’, a consciousness deeply rooted in the human experience, then how do we represent that being whose point of origin is the artificial, the inauthentic? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this course. 

This course will be taught in Session A, which runs from May 27 to July 3.

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