Gender and Sexuality in Science Fiction
Science fiction (SF) is a genre that can radically transform how we think about gender and sexuality. In this class, we will read SF that challenges the stability of familiar categories such as man/woman and gay/straight. Readings may include The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Female Man by Joanna Russ, One Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor, “And Salome Danced” by Kelley Eskridge, “Deep End” by Nisi Shawl, ?oku: The Inner Chambers by Fumi Yoshinaga, and “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler.
We will consider how science fiction has opened our understanding of gender and sexuality. We will supplement this literature with scholarly essays. Unsurprisingly, we will approach these texts through the lens of gender, women, and sexuality studies, meaning that we will both analyze the depiction of gender roles in these texts as well as put the histories and experiences of women and LGBT people in the center of our studies.
This course meets daily, Monday through Thursday, and consists of both seminar-style discussion and lecture. In-class participation is mandatory, so please do not take this class if you are unable to attend daily. Because class meetings will be student-centered and discussion-based, in-class participation will be a significant portion of the grade.
Because this course fulfills the University of Washington’s W-requirement, you should expect to write 10-15 pages of graded, out-of-class writing. Assignments should help you improve your writing and critical thinking skills. In your essays, you will also practice the skills of close reading, claim-driven interpretation, and intertextual analysis.