English 190

Research Seminar: Utopia and Anti-Utopia


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2020 Lee, Steven S.
MW 10:30-12

Book List

Anzaldúa, G.: Borderlands/La Frontera; Bellamy, E.: Looking Backward; Hawthorne, N.: The Blithesdale Romance; Le Guin, U.K.: The Dispossessed; More, T.: Utopia; Platonov, A.: Soul; Stoppard, T.: Arcadia; Whitehead, C.: Zone One; Zamyatin, Ye.: We

Description

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.  And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail.”                      

-Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man” (1891)

Utopia brings to mind the elusive dream of heaven on earth, and a better place in the form of “no place.”  It captures the desire not only to reimagine and remake the world, but to use literature to achieve these ends.  However, this literary genre is inextricably bound to an anti-utopian tradition that has portrayed utopian thought as naïve, dogmatic, even murderous.

Over the semester we will encounter a wide range of utopias and anti-utopias—from imagined islands and planets, to communal societies and communist states, to theme parks, gardens, and borderlands.  Our goal will be to understand the variety of political projects and literary techniques associated with utopia and anti-utopia, which we will also consider in relation to science fiction and post-apocalypse.  We will see how the romantic socialist utopias of the nineteenth century gave way to the mass industrial utopias of the early twentieth century, and then the ecological, ethnic, and neoliberal utopias of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  Throughout the semester, we will consider the viability of utopian thought  and vision for our current, anti-utopian times.

Note: Since the reading list may change, please don't purchase texts until after the first class.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

fall, 2020

190/2

Research Seminar: Eco-crisis and Climate Refugueeism

190/3

Research Seminar: The Spy Novel

190/4

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Movies

190/5

Research Seminar: Is It Useless to Revolt?

190/8

Research Seminar: Anatomy of Criticism

190/9

Research Seminar: James / Baldwin

190/10

Research Seminar: Medieval Sexuality

spring, 2020

190/1

Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

190/2

Research Seminar: William Faulkner’s Temporalities

190/3

Research Seminar: American Romanticism

190/4

Research Seminar: Poetry and the Virtues

190/5

Research Seminar: British Fiction Since 1945

190/6

Research Seminar: Hollywood in the Thirties

190/7

Research Seminar: Jane Austen

190/8

Research Seminar: James Joyce

190/9

Research Seminar: Victorian Versification

190/10

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Film

fall, 2019

190/1

Research Seminar: Creative Sentences

190/2

Research Seminar: Shakespeare and Company

190/3

Research Seminar: American Transcendentalism

190/4

Research Seminar: Cli Fi (Climate Change Fiction)

190/5

Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial

190/6

Research Seminar: Literature on Trial: Romanticism, Law, Justice

190/8

Research Seminar: Ideology

190/10

Research Seminar: Inventing Nature and Constructing Race

spring, 2019

190/1

Research Seminar: Flann O'Brien and Irish Literature

190/2

Research Seminar: Transsexual Literatures and Cultures

190/3

Research Seminar: James / Baldwin

190/5

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/6

Research Seminar: Carnal Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Literature

190/7

Research Seminar

190/8

Research Seminar: Edgar Allan Poe

190/9

Research Seminar: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

190/10

Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson

190/11

Research Seminar: Willa Cather

190/13

Research Seminar: Sixties Cinema

fall, 2018

190/1

Research Seminar: Melville in the 50s

190/2

Research Seminar: Laughter and Vision: Explorations in the Novel of Ideas

190/3

Research Seminar: Representations of Coercion and Resistance in African American Slave, Jim Crow, and Neo-slave Narratives

190/4

Research Seminar: William Blake

190/7

Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial

190/8

Research Seminar: Repression and Resistance

190/9

Research Seminar: Mark Twain

Griffin, Ben

190/10

Research Seminar

No instructor assigned yet.

190/11

Research Seminar

No instructor assigned yet.

190/12

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/13

Research Seminar: The Jamesian Novel

190/14

Research Seminar

spring, 2018

190/1

Research Seminar: Trials of Literature: Romanticism, Justice, and the Law

190/2

Research Seminar: James Joyce

190/3

Research Seminar: Hawthorne & Melville

190/4

Research Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully

190/5

Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance

190/6

Research Seminar: Sixty Years Since: The Historical Novel

190/7

Research Seminar: Contemporary Historical Fiction

190/8

Research Seminar: Literary Theory and Its Objects

190/9

Research Seminar: The Faerie Queene: The Ethics of Imagination

190/10

Research Seminar: Pagan Fictions in Christian Literature

190/11

Research Seminar: Andrew Marvell

190/12

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/13

Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock


Back to Semester List