- Course Number: ENGL 192SF
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- Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 192
- Quarter: Fall 2022
This class examines science fiction as a literary genre. Emphasis throughout is upon the nature and development of the genre in its historical and cultural context. Over the last century, science fiction has become one of the more influential, intellectually rigorous and pleasurable ways to speculate about the accelerating changes in our world. Our discussions will engage (but not be limited to) the following questions: how might science fiction be said to redefine “the human”? How might our texts manipulate notions of paranoia (paranoia associated with the Cold War, but also with a sense that people are becoming corporate and media instruments)? Although science fiction is most often thought of as future-oriented, these texts also frequently re-imagine the past; what are the implications of this temporal re-visioning? Why is slavery (in various forms) a prominent aspect of the contemporary science fiction landscape? How are various anxieties about social and biological reproduction put into dialogue in these works? What happens to notions of gender and sexuality when technological innovations, such as genetic manipulation and cloning, come into play? This course will offer a selective survey of the themes animating the genre since the beginning of the twentieth century, in short stories, novels, and film.