ENGL 407 A: Special Topics in Cultural Studies

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
MOR 221
Tom Foster
Tom Foster

Syllabus Description:

Schedule of readings:

All stories and essays not included in the books ordered for the class are available on the Canvas site for the course, in the form of pdf files, unless otherwise noted below.  Links to readings available online can be found below.  Suggested readings are not required; I will not assume you have read the suggested materials, but will refer to them in class. They are included primarily for students who are especially interested in the topic of the day’s class.


Week 1.

March 26: Introduction to the course


March 28: Lyman Tower Sargent, “Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited”; available online at https://www.jstor.org/stable/20719246

                    Darko Suvin, “Defining the Literary Genre of Utopia,” chapter 3 from Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction



Week 2.

April 2: Sofia Samatar, “The Red Thread”; available on the "Files" page, but also available online at http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-red-thread/      

              Bruce Sterling, “Maneki Neko”

              James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), “The Women Men Don’t See”

              Ted Chiang, “Liking What You See: A Documentary” 

Suggested only: Benjamin Rosenbaum, “The Guy Who Worked for Money,” available online at http://www.shareable.net/blog/the-guy-who-worked-for-money


April 4: Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000-1887



Week 3.

April 9: Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000-1887


April 11: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland, in Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, Herland, And Selected Writings



Week 4.

April 16: Gilman, Herland


April 18: Joanna Russ, The Female Man

Suggested only: Frances Bartkowski, Feminist Utopias, “Introduction”



Week 5.

April 23: Russ, The Female Man

                Tom Moylan, “The Literary Utopia,” chapter 3 of Moylan, Demand the Impossible

Suggested only: Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”


April 25: Terry Bisson, Fire on the Mountain



First papers due, by email, by 5 p.m., on Friday, April 27



Week 6.

April 30: Bisson, Fire on the Mountain\


May 2: Nisi Shawl, Everfair



Week 7.

May 7: Shawl, Everfair

Suggested only: Kodwo Eshun, “Further Considerations on Afrofuturism”; available online at https://muse.jhu.edu/article/48294


May 9: Lavie Tidhar, Central Station



Week 8.

May 14: Tidhar, Central Station


May 16: Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower



Week 9.

May 21: Butler, Parable of the Sower

                Tom Moylan, “The Critical Dystopia”



May 23: N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season


Week 10.

May 28: No class; Memorial Day holiday

May 30: Jemisin, The Fifth Season



Final papers due, by email, by 5 p.m., on Wednesday, June 6

Catalog Description: 
Advanced work in cultural studies.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 10:20pm