Program Courses

Please note that course schedules may be amended due to low enrollment, faculty availability, and/or other factors.

Online Sync Sessions are an integral part of the online learning experience. Additional information about learning concepts and assignments may be discussed and sync sessions offer valuable opportunities for students to interact with their faculty and peers during the term. We encourage all students to attend live, but if they are unable to, sync sessions will be recorded and posted within Canvas to allow for an asynchronous model of success as well.

LIT 492-0 : Special Topics: The Utopian Imagination in Science Fiction Literature and Cinema


How do we reimagine the world we live in? How can we envision it in radically new ways and not just as a better version of the present one? Since Thomas More’s inaugural text, Utopia (1516), this endeavor of the imagination has developed together with and as a response to the changes that have defined modernity (from colonialism to industrialization) and affirmed the question of the future as one that is indissolubly aesthetic and political. While tapping into this longer tradition, this course will explore the ways in which contemporary writers and filmmakers in the West have employed the science fiction genre to challenge notions of historical progress, individualism, and humanism. In these works, more often than not, utopian and dystopian visions find themselves intertwined, upsetting the boundaries between hope and despair, violence and redemption. Together with key essays by Ernst Bloch, Donna Haraway, and Fredric Jameson, we will read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, and China Miéville’s The City & the City. We will also watch Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, and Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. Throughout the course, we will foreground questions relating to technology and daily life, climate change, and social justice. (This course may count towards the American Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies program. This course may count towards the American Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Film, Literature and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature program. It may also count as a literature requirement or elective in the creative writing program. Additionally, this course may count towards certain certificates of graduate studies.)

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