All readings should be completed prior to class.

Unit 1: Technologies of genre: why science fiction?

Week 1
Thursday January 25:
In class: Ursula K. Le Guin’s 2014 National Book Award Acceptance Speech
By Monday January 29: respond to confidential questionnaire

Week 2
Tuesday January 30
Ursula K. Le Guin, “Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?” (1974) and “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” (1975).
Content note: child abuse

Thursday February 1
Samuel R. Delany, “About 5,750 Words” (1978) and “Aye, and Gomorrah” (PDF version) (online version with podcast) (1967).
Content note: sexual oppression

Friday February 2: blog comments due.

Week 3
ADD-DROP DEADLINE: Tuesday February 6
Tuesday February 6
Octavia E. Butler, “Positive Obsession” (1989) and “The Book of Martha” (2003).
Student-led discussion: Nathan and Matthew

Thursday February 8
Shelley Streeby, Imagining the Future of Climate Change (2018): introduction

Friday February 9: blog comments due.

Assignment 1. Thinkpiece: Science Fiction Now.

Unit 2: Reimagining gender in feminist science fiction

Week 4
Tuesday February 13
Justine Larbalestier,  The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (2002): chapter 1 and chapter 4.
Joanna Russ, “When It Changed” (1972)

Thursday February 15
James Tiptree, Jr., “The Women Men Don’t See” and “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?
Content note: sexual violence (not graphic)
Student-led discussion: Julianna and Suzie

Friday February 16: blog comments due.

Week 5
Tuesday February 20
Jeff Smith (ed.), Khatru Symposium: Women in Science Fiction (1975/1993). Read all of the original Symposium and the 1993 commentaries by Russ and Le Guin. The rest of the 1993 material is optional (but interesting and recommended).

Thursday February 22
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness: chapters 1-6 (1969)
Student-led discussion: Shannon and Abigail

Friday February 23: blog comments due.

Week 6
Tuesday February 27
Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness: chapters 7-16
CLASS CANCELED; blogging still required!

Thursday March 1
Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness: chapters 16-end
Content note: torture and medical violence
Student-led discussion: Shweta and Arley

Friday March 2: blog comments due.

Week 7
Tuesday March 6
Ursula K. Le Guin, “Is Gender Necessary? Redux” (1976/1988)
Ursula K. Le Guin, “Coming of Age on Karhide” (1995)
Aren Aizura, “Communizing Care in The Left Hand of Darkness” (2017)
Student-led discussion: Max and Mary

Thursday March 8
Note time and space change: ESJ 1215 at 3.45pm

micha cárdenas, “Imagining a Trans World” (2017)
Tuesday Smillie, “Radical Imagination and The Left Hand of Darkness” (2017)
Supplementary background reading: Sylvia Rivera Law Project, “Trans 101” (2018)
Guest speaker: Tuesday Smillie

Friday March 9: blog comments due.

Assignment 2. Adaptation.

Unit 3: Race, Empire, and the Human

Week 8
Tuesday March 13
Andre Carrington, Speculative Blackness: Introduction (2016)
Derrick Bell, “The Space Traders” (1992).
N.K. Jemisin, “Valedictorian” (2014)
Content note: systemic racial violence

Thursday March 15
Streeby, Imagining the Future of Climate Change: chapter 1
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, “gezhizhwazh” (2016)
Student-led discussion: Jillian and Jessica

Friday March 16: blog comments due.

SPRING BREAK (use to read and listen ahead)

Week 9
Tuesday March 27
Ytasha Womack, excerpts from Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture (2013)
Janelle Monae, the Metropolis saga: Metropolis (The Chase Suite) (2008); The ArchAndroid (2010); The Electric Lady (2014).
Phil Sandfler, “A Short Guide to Janelle Monae and the Metropolis Saga” (2015)

Thursday March 29: class in Room 1611, The Choreography Studio, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Nisi Shawl, “Deep End” (2004)
Christine Hands, “Thinkpiece: Can Dance be Sci-Fi?
Dance/movement workshop with Christine Hands

Friday March 30: blog comments due.

Week 10
Tuesday April 3
Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon (2014): Part 1
Okorafor, “Sci-fi Stories that Imagine a Future Africa” (TED Talk)

Thursday April 5
Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon:  Part 2
Student-led discussion: Shireen and Matt

Friday April 6: blog comments due.

Week 11
Tuesday April 10
Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon: Part 3
Student-led discussion: Rakha and Luis

Thursday April 12
Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon: finishing up discussion
Manifesto workshop: bring a note of the key point you want to make (on index card)

Friday April 13: blog comments due.

Assignment 3. Manifesto.

Unit 4: Visionary fictions

Week 12
Tuesday April 17
Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown, Octavia’s Brood: “Introduction” and “Outro” (2015)
Streeby, Imagining the Future of Climate Change: chapter 2
Student-led discussion: Vaishnavi and Justin

Thursday April 19
No class! Blog discussion only.
Sign up for Octavia’s Brood groups by today.

Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower (1993): chapters 1-5
Content note: some scenes of graphic violence

Friday April 20: blog comments due.

Week 13
Tuesday April 24
Butler, Parable of the Sower: chapters 6-20
Content note: some scenes of graphic violence
Student-led discussion: Rafee and Chris.

Thursday April 26
Butler, Parable of the Sower: chapters 21-end
Content note: some scenes of graphic violence

Friday April 27: blog comments due.

By Thursday April 26:
Select stories to focus on for Week 14. One or two stories per group, two groups per class. We will all read the selected stories and the groups will lead discussion.

Week 14
Tuesday May 1
Octavia’s Brood
Group 1: Brown, “Small and Bright”; Burton, “Aftermath”
Group 2: Imarisha, “Black Angel”; Wilson, “22XX: One-Shot”

Thursday May 3
Octavia’s Brood
Group 3: Vagabond, “Kafka’s Last Laugh”; Abu-Jamal, “Star Wars and the American Imagination”
Group 4: Walker, “The Token Superhero”; Phi, “Revolution Shuffle”

No assigned blogging this week: if you missed a blog or comment earlier in the semester, use this week to catch up.

Assignment 4: Visionary speculation.

Week 15
Tuesday May 8
Streeby, Imagining the Future of Climate Change: chapter 3
Catching up, revisiting, and preparing for final projects

Thursday May 10
Workshopping final projects

Final exam session
Friday, May 18 10.30am-12.30pm
Presenting final projects

Final project (post on blog; if not bloggable, email files to Dr Lothian)
Participation evaluation questionnaire