English 177

Literature and Philosophy: Ecology and Utopia

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2021 Goldstein, Amanda Jo
TTh 3:30-5 166 Social Sciences

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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.

Size permitting, this course will usually be run as a seminar. Readings will allow us to explore utopian ecologies as they arise in political and moral philosophy, science fiction, biblical and pastoral poetry, anarchist and communist writing, literatures of exploration and colonization, anthropology, and afrofuturism, among other disciplines, genres and perspectives. Texts include Virgil, Thomas More, Gerrard Winstanley, Buckminster Fuller, Herman Melville, Sutton Griggs, Albery Allson Whitman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Blake, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Karl Marx, Margaret Mead, Charles Fourier, Peter Kropotkin, Hannah Arendt, Octavia Butler, Ursula K. LeGuin, and films such as Avatar and Black Panther.

This course satisfies the Philosophy & Values Breadth requirement. 

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