ENGL 348 A: Studies In Popular Culture

Speculative Communities

Meeting Time: 
TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
ART 317
Kathleen E Boyd

Additional Details:

How can studying vampires, sentient grizzly bears, cloning, and hyper-empathy syndrome help us better understand our past, and even change our present? What can these subjects teach us about how we structurally value (and devalue) each other, and how we understand ourselves in the so-called “real” world? This course enters into conversations that differently theorize the social value of speculative fiction and considers how, and in what ways, this genre can potentially contribute to, create, and/or incite social change. We will pay particular attention to 1) how, in this genre, language is theorized in relation to protest; and 2) how language shapes the creation of differing speculative communities and the varying contours of what it means to belong and not belong.

Animating Questions:

*How is language—visual, musical, written, and bodily—shaping the terms of belonging and exclusion for the communities in our texts?

*What counts as protest in these differing futures?

*How is social difference and race, class, gender and sexuality differently represented and negotiated within the various speculative imaginations of “community”?

Possible Texts Include:

Parable of the Sower & Fledgling by Octavia Butler
Bailey’s Café by Gloria Naylor
Babel-17 by Samuel Delany
Singularity’s Ring by Paul Melko
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
So Far from God Ana Castillo

Catalog Description: 
Explores one or more popular genres (fantasy, romance, mystery) or media (comics, television, videogames), with attention to historical development, distinctive formal features, and reading protocols. May include study of audience, reception histories, or fan cultures.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 15, 2016 - 3:31pm