Examines the work of major prize-winning writers or filmmakers. Texts and authors are chosen that have won such prestigious literary awards as the Nobel Prize, the Booker Prize, or the National Book Award, or films that have been feted at major international film festivals. Authors and works vary from term to term. May be repeated once for credit if the specific works studied differ.

Fall 2023

Prizewinners: Science Fiction

Prereq: none
Units: 2-0-4 Can be repeated for credit; first half of term

The American author Octavia E. Butler once wrote: “There is nothing new under the sun; but there are new suns.” This ability to up-end what we consider possible and to allow us to imagine differently is the hallmark of speculative fiction. In this class we will read contemporary literature that makes use of this radical capacity in order to challenge the oppressive structures of race, gender, colonialism/settler colonialism, and capitalism that we currently live under. By tackling the social injustices of the present, the writers we will read invite us to imagine our futures differently.

This sampling class will give you an introduction to 21st-century science fiction. Assessment (presentations, short written responses, and group projects) is based on consistent participation and engagement throughout the semester, rather than a final paper.