Assignment 1: Thinkpiece

Your first assignment is to bring our class readings into conversation with your own world.

Think about the descriptions and definitions by Le Guin, Delany, and Butler that we have read in class. Which of their ideas appealed to you most? How might they apply to your own engagement with science fiction, social justice, or the connections between the two?

Choose a text or context (it doesn’t have to be from the science fiction genre or explicitly related to social justice, though it certainly can be). and use ideas from our class readings to explore its significance. Perhaps Delany’s work on the science fiction sentence can enhance our understanding of Star Wars? Could Butler’s positive obsession give us a new perspective on Black Lives Matter? Does Game of Thrones demonstrate that  Americans are no longer afraid of dragons?

You should aim to write in the “thinkpiece” genre of popular journalism: imagine that your assignment is going to be shared widely around social media. How would you catch and hold the attention of your peers? Include images and video as appropriate. If you wish to make your post public and share it, or to post on a different platform more appropriate to sharing (such as Medium), you are welcome to do so. (Though you might want to consider the potential consequences of ‘going viral’ if you do.)

Your thinkpiece should be between  400 and 600 words long. It must be posted to the blog by Monday February 12.

I will grade the thinkpieces according to the following criteria:

  • articulation of ideas: are you demonstrating an accurate understanding of the readings on which you are drawing?
  • accessibility: do you explain your ideas in a way that a broad audience can understand?
  • originality: how creative, intriguing, and nuanced is your application of class ideas to the context of your choice?

It’s fine to develop ideas you first came up with in one of your blog posts, but you should not repeat the actual text from the blog.