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ENG 2420: Science Fiction

ENG 2420: Science Fiction

English 2420 combines analysis of science fiction as literature with consideration of the questions science and technology raise about past, present, and future societies. In class discussions and essays, students will focus on the basic elements of literary analysis, the historical development of the science fiction genre, and the thematic concerns of each assigned text. Class discussions will address issues of form and will delve into the cultural contexts that have helped shaped some of the core tropes of the genre, such as artificial intelligence and human/machine interactions, the exploration of space and time, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Attention will also be paid to the ways in which authors have used utopian and dystopian societies of the future to comment upon humanity’s present relationship with science and technology. Avatar Image Credit: Georges Méliès [Public domain], Screenshot from Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902), via Wikimedia Commons

ENG3403 D617 Fall 2017 – One Major Writer: Samuel R. Delany

ENG3403 D617 Fall 2017 – One Major Writer: Samuel R. Delany

ENG 3403 One Major Writer – Samuel R. Delany: Science Fiction and the City Credit Hours: 3 credits (3 hours) Prerequisite: ENG 1121 Course Description In this course we will examine the life and work of one of America’s great science fiction writers, Samuel R. Delany, Jr. This course will provide an introduction to Delany’s writing in science fiction and other genres, and we will examine the literary, cultural, and historical influences behind his writing. Students will investigate Delany’s conception of science fiction and fantasy as “paraliterary” genres, as forms of writing which have often been constructed by academic critics as outside, beyond, or beneath, proper “literary” fiction. We will consider Delany’s role in the development of Afrofuturism, a field comprised of black artists whose work engages with themes of science fiction, fantasy, speculation and futurism (in visual art, literature, music, film and other media). Delany has also won awards for his writing on LGBTQ issues and the HIV/AIDS crisis, and often depicts transgressive sexuality in his work. His work serves as an important record of queer life before and after Stonewall, and he was one of the earliest fiction writers documenting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The texts assigned for this course represent a cross-section of Delany’s writing in science fiction, literary fiction, memoir, cultural studies and criticism. In particular we will focus on Delany’s contributions to science fiction, and the significance of his hometown, New York City, in his writing. (Profile picture: Painting of the author by Mia Wolff. From Bread and Wine by Samuel R. Delany)

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