Syllabus - ENGL 191: Introduction to Science Fiction, Fall...

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ENGL 191: Introduction to Science Fiction, Fall 2007 Topic : “Species-being” in Science Fiction and Beyond Instructor: Prof. Laura Shackelford Office: 163 Burrowes Office Hours: . W 3:00 – 4:30, TH 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., or by appointment E-Mail: Required Texts: Gunn, James. The Road to Science Fiction, Vol. 3: From Heinlein to Here Sturgeon, Theodore. More than Human Dick, Philip K. . Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Burroughs, William. The Soft Machine Le Guin, Ursula. The Left Hand of Darkness Disch, Thomas. 334: A Novel Russ, Joanna. The Female Man Butler, Octavia. Dawn Gibson, William. Neuromancer Moriarty, Chris. Spin State Course Description: This course will survey the historical development of the genre of science fiction in print. We will consider how the content, style, and sociocultural status of the genre have shifted over time, asking what is significant about, or at stake in, such shifts. Examining the influence of broader historical and cultural contexts on science fiction, the course will track the genre’s relations and responses to: 1) shifts in modes of magazine and book publishing and distribution; 2) mainstream, “serious” literature and closely related genres such as fantasy; and 3) an ongoing process of self- definition and re-definition by practitioners and literary and cultural critics. As a survey, the course aims to introduce you to a wide range of works within the genre, to provide you with a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, pivotal works, key stylistic or thematic characteristics, and movements in the genre of print science fiction. It is also designed to encourage interactive engagements with these texts, provoking the speculative, imaginative, critical thinking so central to the genre. One of the defining characteristics of science fiction, as James Gunn notes, is its tendency to conceive of people as a species, “not as a tribe or a people or even as a nation.” This semester we will pay particular attention to science fiction’s interest in “species-being”; the different ways in which science fiction addresses, differentiates, and (re)defines humanity as a species on the scale of evolutionary time. The term “species-being” is borrowed from Karl Marx, which helps underscore
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This note was uploaded on 07/25/2008 for the course ENGL 191 taught by Professor Shackelford,laura during the Fall '04 term at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

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Syllabus - ENGL 191: Introduction to Science Fiction, Fall...

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