A dog that begins to walk and talk like a man. A world filled with androids we can't distinguish from humans. A future society of people who have no names, only numbers. Why are we fascinated with letting our imagination wander in literature about encountering other worlds, other forms of life, and alternate versions of our world?
In this course we will think through selections of science-fiction, speculative, and imaginative literature and film, drawing from Russian, German, and American contexts. Our materials will include short stories by authors like Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Phillip K. Dick, and films such as Metropolis and Blade Runner (all readings in English).
Students will work closely with their peers and instructor to develop their critical thinking and writing skills. Writing assignments may include short reaction papers, analytical and comparative essays, and creative work. In addition to these assignments and class discussions, we will conduct small group workshops of student papers. Together, these activities will provide many opportunities for students to receive feedback on their writing and to consider the writing process more generally as a critical intellectual activity.