English 165

Special Topics: The Ecology of Utopia

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2018 Goldstein, Amanda Jo
TTh 2-3:30 174 Barrows


Since long before Thomas More coined the catching term “Utopia” – meaning “no place” or “not-place” – to name his fiction of a perfect island commonwealth, the literature of non-existent worlds has been calling every aspect of actually existing societies into question. This course seeks to investigate the rival ways of thinking about “nature” – human and otherwise – that support utopian visions of political community and to explore the longstanding link between utopian fiction and ecological perspectives on this earth.

The course will usually be run as a seminar. Readings will allow us to explore utopian literature's intersections with science fiction, pastoral, satire and the literature of exploration, and are likely to include: Theocritus, Virgil, Thomas More, Gerrard Winstanley, Margaret Cavendish, Edward Bellamy, William Morris, Henri David Thoreau, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Aldous Huxley, Rachel Carson, Margaret Atwood, Ernest Callenbach, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler.


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