Utopian moments : reading utopian texts

Dystopias Now
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Juxtaposing historical views on utopian diagnoses, prescriptions and on the character and value of utopian thought with more modern interpretations, this volume explores how our ideal utopia has transformed over time. Challenging long-held interpretations, the contributors turn a fresh eye to canonical texts, and open them up to a twenty-first century audience. From Moore's Utopia to Le Guin's The Dispossessed , Utopian Moments puts forward a lively and accessible debate on the nature and significance of utopian thought and tradition.

Each essay focuses on a key passage from the selected work using it to encourage both the specialist and the reader new to the field to read afresh. Written by an international team of leading scholars, the essays range from the sixteenth century to the present day and are designed to be both stimulating and accessible. Davis and Miguel A. George M. Logan, Thomas More's "Utopia" tbc 3. Davis, Reading "Utopia" 5. Edward Thompson, Johann Valentin's "Christianopolis" tbc 8.

Wells's "A Modern Utopia" Laurence Davis and Peter G. Stillman, Utopian Journeying: Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" Lyman Tower Sargent, Conclusion. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter. Gilman has style, but how is it limited by utopian conventions in characterization, viewpoint, even content?

Specifically, the visiting, messed-up men are far more individualized than the more admirable women of Herland: what do we learn about utopian and fictional characterization? Also, how convincing are the domestic or sexual relations?

Utopia and Dystopia: an overview of the most popular books

Written in , so what limits to representation? What advantages to telling the story from men's perspective? What conventions or innovations distinguish a feminist or women's utopia? Associate Gilman and Herland with the Progressive Era, periods of progress as spawning utopias? Herland appears in , a half-century after Darwin's Origin of Species How does Darwinian or evolutionary thought appear in both the men's and women's attitudes and behavior—e.

Instructor will direct. Equiano 1. Readings: Anthem. Discussion starter : Melissa Bray. Web review : Ayn Rand biography, institutes, ideology : Joan Gray. Model Assignment highlights research posts : instructor. Agenda: assignments; Herland?

Is Utopia Always Dystopia? Is Utopia Possible?

How explain, defend as feminist or women's utopia? What automatic appeals or "readability" do dystopian texts enjoy over utopian texts, at least for a modern American audience? Rand's status in the literary canon is controversial, but Anthem offers some strong if limited literary appeals. How may we characterize Rand's style? Continue discussion of Rand's style and its potential appeals or demerits. What do utopian texts scant or blur that Rand emphasizes and develops? What consciousness does she demonstrate of utopian texts and structures? Obviously she despises them, but her text shows occasional knowledge of utopian forms.

Why do Americans and American schools emphasize dystopias or satirical utopias? What literary and ideological appeals? Laura Miller, "Fresh Hell: What's behind the boom in dystopian fiction for young readers? What resemblances or differences relative to teen dystopias, zombie apocalypse, etc.? How does Prometheus's new home resemble modern suburbia or exurbia? How would you like Prometheus for a neighbor? Can "planned communities" be related to utopias or intentional communities? Among many ideological issues raised by Rand's writing, what to make of a woman writer who exalts patriarchy?

Since Anthem is a woman-authored text, how deal with masculine privilege and womanly devotion? Is "Man" for "humanity" a period-style, or does it really mean man? Compare and contrast Herland. Discuss Rand's style and its potential appeals or demerits. Readings: Ecotopia read app. Discussion starter : Jenna Wood.

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Instructor's Presentation : 60ss Utopian fictions, esp. Marge Piercy , Woman on the Edge of Time How does Ecotopia immediately connect to our other utopian texts as a representative of the genre? What audiences are involved or excluded? Re obj. Compare to earlier utopian texts for character, sexuality, narrative-dialogue mix.

How is Ecotopia "dated? What remains impressive? What surprises? Callenbach varies the utopian narrative by combining Weston's learning about Ecotopia with sexual learning or initiation. How convincing is this use of sexuality for narrative and social structure? Does it help characterization, or is it just embarrassing and hippie? Observe social mores in Ecotopia, esp.

About Utopian Moments

Readings: complete Ecotopia. Instructor's presentation: Utopian thought and experiments in American History. Agenda: Assignments handout , midterm handout instructor on American historical utopias web: Patrick re 'burbs Ecotopia discussion: Grant Discussion Questions: 1.

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Utopian Communities and Texts list. This observation provides the fourth term of the Greimas rectangle, often mysterious, but in this case perfectly clear: one must be anti-anti-utopian. Laursen ed. As a literary genre, how much does Handmaid's Tale as a dystopia and aspiring utopia emphasize reading, literacy, and free exchange of thought as essential to humanity? What problems rise from a utopian story that minimizes conflict and maximizes equality and harmony? Two giants of revolutionary thought passed from this world in

In the final episodes of Weston's initiation, can the Ecotopians' behavior be compared to that of a cult? How effective is the coordination of Weston's love story with Marissa and the narrative of his ideological initiation? How multicultural is Ecotopia? Or any utopia? Does the "Soul City" description seem as tacked-on to you as to me?

Ecotopian literature, p. At first the stories seemed puzzlingly vapid to me. How come they didn't have that exciting nightmare quality? Some of them even have happy endings. After a while, they seem more like life—okay to spend time with, reassuring. Come to think of it, Ecotopia itself is beginning to feel a good deal more reassuring: when I needed care, I was taken care of.

E mail midterm submission due by Friday 8 March to whitec uhcl. Wednesday, 13 March: No class meeting—Spring Break. Wednesday 20 March: begin The Dispossessed lecture notes. Readings: Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed , through ch. Margaret Atwood, "The Queen of Quinkdom. Stories by Ursula K. Discussion starter : Clark Omo. Instructor's presentation: William Morris, News from Nowhere Agenda: assignments, research post review midterms discussion: Clark [break] web: Sara News from Nowhere , B.

Le Guin as the greatest science-fiction or speculative-fiction author, though many popular- sf fans have never heard of her. How does her style or genre conform to science fiction or speculative fiction , and how does it conform to expectations of literary fiction? Wells also ranks high. Le Guin's breakthrough prestige as a woman science-fiction writer and a feminist is complicated by male protagonists and other assertively characters in many of her works.

Relate to Perkins Gilman's use of male characters and narrators in Herland? How are feminist views expressed, directly or indirectly, through utopian or dystopian principles and behaviors? Discuss Le Guin's style as contemplative, aphoristic , with grand moral themes, vast intellectual schemes, and use of dialogue as utopian-fiction device. Le Guin and Atwood are both admired and widely-published lyric poets.

How do their fictional styles integrate features of lyric poetry? Both Dispossessed and Handmaid 's tale recur to symbols of walls. How does The Dispossessed conform to utopian fiction as a Literature of Ideas? Wednesday 27 March: The Dispossessed. Le Guin, The Dispossessed , complete. Discussion starter : Cynthia Cleveland.

Web review : Kibbutzim of Israel : Patrick Graham. Model Assignment highlights research posts :. Instructor's presentation: B. Wednesday, 3 April: complete Dispossessed ; begin Handmaid's Tale lecture notes. Readings: The Handmaid's Tale through p. Wednesday, 10 April: continue The Handmaid's Tale. Discussion starter : Bill Clouse. How identify Handmaid's Tale as a dystopia cf.

Anthem not only in content but gains in readability, characterization, narrative action? Identify typical dystopian features: whole person divided, families separated, hierarchy represses equality, age represses or exploits youth. As in Anthem , how does the dystopia manifest utopian purposes or stylings, even acknowledging possible benefits of before?

How much does Gilead's concern over births anticipates recent white panic over low white fertility rates and high fertility rates among immigrants, Muslims, Africans, etc.? Compare Handmaid's Tale as a feminist dystopia with Herland as feminist utopia. Potential feminist issues: the body dismembered; masculine gaze.

Does Atwood's sensory emphasis on smell counter the masculine gaze? As a literary genre, how much does Handmaid's Tale as a dystopia and aspiring utopia emphasize reading, literacy, and free exchange of thought as essential to humanity? Include computer literacy. Utopia humanizes? Readings: The Handmaid's Tale complete. Discussion starter : Arnecia Harris. Opening question: How does human chattel slavery fulfill conventions of dystopia? Wednesday, 24 April: begin Oryx and Crake. Discussion starter : Sara Stevens. Genre s : As the novel opens, what genre or genres appear operative? As a novel, how much is any utopian or dystopian passage rendered ironical by the presence of differing passages or voices?

Bakhtin on dialogic of novel How does speculative fiction either distinguish itself from or hybridize with other genres? What advantages or points-of-diminishing-returns for classifying genres or introducing new genre labels like "speculative fiction? Style: For a serious writer who is widely respected in the higher education curriculum, Atwood's prose style is surprisingly accessible or readable.

How does her writing reconcile being intellectually challenging but fluent and compelling to a wider audience? If a partial answer is her novels' socio-political relevance, how does Atwood's writing avoid automatic categorization as ideology or propaganda? Consider literary features, e.

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Contrast with formulaic style of popular science fiction. Is the intelligence of Jimmy's character consistent enough to be realistic? Atwood frequently resorts to olfactory or smell images. Relate to humans as mammals, or other purposes? Content: How does Atwood criticize corporate capitalism realistically instead of hysterically? Religion in fiction may appear less as a supreme voice than as one of many voices or worldviews whose interplay generates creation of a social world.

How does religion or the "sacrilege" of "playing God" through bio-engineering appear in the novel, with what degree of authority? Readings: Oryx and Crake complete? Wednesday, 8 May: final exam due by email before or by midnight Thursday 9 May. Final grade reports will be emailed approximately a week after due date.

Instructor's Presentation : Ursula K. Ernest Callenbach's website.

About Utopian Moments

Our texts within Western and American history:.