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123211 VO Literatures in English (2014S)

Utopia and Dystopia in North America

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik

Due to conflicting schedules the lecture course will begin with a general introduction on Wednesday, March 19, at 9 a.m. (until 10) in Unterrichtsraum.
Further lectures will take place as scheduled on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. from March 26 onwards.

Details

max. 80 participants
Language: English

Examination dates

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 19.03. 09:00 - 10:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 19.03. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 26.03. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 02.04. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 09.04. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 30.04. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 07.05. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 14.05. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 21.05. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 28.05. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 04.06. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 11.06. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Wednesday 18.06. 14:00 - 16:00 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Since the early accounts of discovery and exploration of the New World the imagination of European writers has been fired by the possibility of finding an Edenic place or of founding a utopian community on the other side of the Atlantic. The accounts of real or imaginary travels composed by Anglophone authors from Thomas More onwards present alternative societies which simultaneously reflect such desires and reveal the shortcomings of the society at home.
The lecture course will survey texts that reflect the perennial human desire to discover or construct such alternative societies. It will include a discussion of the 16th century classic of the genre, More, Utopia, and of some comparable societies reached in fictional extraordinary voyages; and will then focus on 19th and 20th century North American accounts of such societies.
The 19th century saw the attempted realization of utopian projects ranging from ascetic communities to notorious communes and the gradual substitution of the location of such societies in the future rather than in space. The course will contextualize the transformation of the genre by considering the growing social problems in urban North America and the rise of a reform movement but also the introduction of major technological innovations.
Among the texts to be considered will be Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward, 2000-1887, as well as (briefly) notable feminist texts such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland, and the classic international dystopias such as Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and George Orwell, 1984. The heyday of dystopian fiction extrapolating from undesirable trends in contemporary society and often including the depiction of post-nuclear worlds and spaces following an ecological disaster but also attempts to prevent such catastrophes or to survive in eschatological situations will be represented by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, Walker Percy, The Thanatos Syndrome, Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake, and Cormac McCarthy, The Road.

Assessment and permitted materials

written exam at the end of the course. Oral contributions to the discussions will be taken into account in the grades.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

to introduce students to a very productive literary form in North America with antecedents in ancient and Humanist thought, which reveals much about perennial hopes concerning the New World but also about disappointments and well-founded fears considering problematic contemporary trends and developments.

Examination topics

lecture course with several opportunities for short discussions of the general topic and of the texts selected for analysis.

Reading list

The Utopia Reader, ed. Gregory Claeys and Lyman Tower Sargent NY Univ. Press 1999 (for texts and trends from the 16th to the mid- 20th century).
Thomas More, Utopia, 1516; Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward, 2000 - 1887, 1888;
Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, 1975 ; Walker Percy, The Thanatos Syndrome, 1987; Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake, 2003; Cormac McCarthy, The Road, 2006.

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344, ME 812, MA 844;
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.4-321, ME1, MA1. MA7;
Lehrinhalt: 12-0367

Last modified: We 09.09.2020 00:22