ENGLISH 242 - Interdisciplinary Studies in English
Fall 2022, Section 001 - Where is the Science in Science Fiction
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


How do science and science fiction help to shape our ideas about who we are, the function of our bodies, our relation to the nonhuman, our place to the universe, and our engagements with the environment? To what extent are works of science fiction anchored in real science, and what are the implications of their divergences from the scientifically possible? This course will give students the opportunity to explore these questions in an interdisciplinary context.

Since its emergence, science fiction has encouraged us to imagine possible futures toward which technological innovation might lead. The genre, initially given shape by Romantic critiques of Enlightenment thinking, has helped us to explore the imaginative possibilities enabled by science and the ethical implications of new technologies. This course shares the attitudes of exploration and critique embodied by its double subject matter.

In this class, students will learn about the history of science fiction and will track historical trends and movements within the genre as they relate to the history of science and to concepts and problems in contemporary science. Students will also study how science fiction has brought into everyday language terms and tropes derived from the discourse of science—black holes and wormholes, warp speed and hyperspace, cloning and cryogenics, teleportation and terra-forming, cyborgs and androids, hive minds and the multiverse. The class gives students the opportunity to investigate the scientific roots and meanings of such concepts, while looking at the ways that these ideas are elucidated and challenged in science fiction, and considering how science fiction explores their ethical and practical implications.

Course Requirements:

Canvas discussions, short science assignments, reflection assignments, take-home exam


ENGLISH 242 - Interdisciplinary Studies in English
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM

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