Week 1: Key Terms and Introductions. January 31.
Samuel R. Delany. “About 5750 Words”; “The Necessity of Tomorrows(s)”
Ursula K. Le Guin, “Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?”
Unit 1: Foundations. Speculative Politics in the 20th Century
Week 2: Political Utopias and Techno-topias. February 7.
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1880); Selections from Phillip Wegner, Imaginary Communities: Utopia, the Nation, and the Spatial Histories of Modernity: Wegner extract 1 and Wegner extract 2.
Week 3: Feminism, Reproduction, and Eugenics. February 14.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915) and as much as you can manage of With Her in Ourland (1916); Selections from Alys Eve Weinbaum, Wayward Reproductions: Genealogies of Race and Nation in Transatlantic Modern Thought: Weinbaum extract.
Week 4: Speculative Racial Critique. February 21.
Robert Schuyler, Black No More (1931) ; W.E.B. Du Bois, “The Comet” (1920) (Dark Matter); Sheree R. Thomas, Introduction to Dark Matter;
Optional: Derrick Bell, “The Space Traders” (Dark Matter)
Unit 2. Genre Interventions: Thinking with science fiction
Week 5: Genre Foundations: Pulp Science Fiction. February 28.
Research proposal due
John W Campbell, “Twilight”(1934); Lester del Rey, “Helen O’Loy” (1938); Tom Godwin, The Cold Equations (1954); C L Moore, No Woman Born (1944); Selections from Roger Luckhurst, Science Fiction: Pulp Fictions and the Engineer Paradigm, 1945: The Technocultural Conjuncture ; From Atomjocks to Cultural Critique; John Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction: Introduction: The Colonial Gaze.
Optional: Rieder’s chapter on Artificial Humans and the Construction of Race.
Week 6: Feminism Meets Science Fiction: Battle of the Sexes. March 7.
Joanna Russ, “When It Changed” (1972); James Tiptree, Jr.“The Women Men Don’t See”; “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?”; “Love is the Plan the Plan is Death” (all in Her Smoke Rose Up Forever); Justine Larbalestier, “Mama Come Home” and “The Women Men Don’t See” from The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction; Helen Merrick, “Birth of a Subgenre” from The Secret Feminist Cabal.
Optional: Helen Merrick, “FIAWOL: The Making of Fannish Feminisms“; Karen Joy Fowler, “What I Didn’t See”; L. Timmel Duchamp, “Something Rich and Strange: Karen Joy Fowler’s “What I Didn’t See.”
Week 8: spring break. Use this time to read ahead; the Delany needs to be taken slowly.
Week 7 postponed to Monday of week 9: Speculative Gender and Sexual Politics. March 25.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1968); “Is Gender Necessary?” Redux”; Wendy Gay Pearson, “Alien Cryptographies: The View from Queer”
Strongly recommended: Ursula K. LeGuin – Coming of Age in Karhide” (1995; available in 2002 collection The Birthday of the World);
Optional: Theodore Sturgeon, “The World Well Lost” (1953); Samuel R. Delany, “Aye, And Gomorrah” (in Dark Matter)
Week 9: Queering Science Fiction Bodies, Languages. April 4.
5-page paper due
Samuel R. Delany, Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand (1984); Jeff Tucker, “The Necessity of Models, of Alternatives”; Alexis Lothian, “It is not that I have no future: Samuel R. Delany’s Speculative Sex” (work in draft stage, shared by email); Robert Reid-Pharr, “Clean: Death and Desire in Samuel R. Delany’s Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand”
Unit 3. Technocultures: science fiction realities
Week 10: Speculative Media and Fan Technocultures. April 4.
Susan Sontag, “The Imagination of Disaster”; Selections from Constance Penley, Nasa/TREK; Francesca Coppa, “Women, Star Trek, and the Early Development of Fannish Vidding.”
View on Netflix: as many episodes of Star Trek as you like, including “The Cage” (Season 1 episode 1) and “Amok Time” (Season 2 episode 1)
Week 11. NO CLASS. Alexis will be at the Eaton/Science Fiction Research Association Conference in Riverside, CA. Follow the Twitter hashtags for the conference and see how scholars are exploring the course themes!
Week 12: Cyborg Bodies. April 18.
Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto (1991); Donna Reeve, “Cyborgs, Cripples, and iCrip: Reflections on the Contribution of Haraway to Disability Studies” (2012)
Anne McCaffrey, “The Ship Who Sang” (1961); James Tiptree Jr, “The Girl Who Was Plugged In”;
Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild”; “The Evening and the Morning and the Night”; “Speech Sounds”
Optional: Samuel R. Delany, “Aye, And Gomorrah” (in Dark Matter)
Week 13: Cyberspace: Digital Media as Science Fiction. April 25.
Annotated bibliography due
William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984); Wendy Chun, “Orienting the Future“; Samuel R. Delany, “Some Real Mothers”
Watch if possible: Ghost in the Shell
Week 14: Technocultures of Globalization from Below. May 2.
Novel: Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange; Kodwo Eshun, “Further Considerations of Afrofuturism”; Catherine Ramirez, “Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism”
Optional: Social Text Periscope: Speculative Life
Week 15: Final Paper Lightning Talks