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Fall 2018 Course Supplement IAP 2019 Spring 2019 Course Supplement
Show Descriptions

Introductory

21L.003 Reading Fiction: Literary Storms Anna Abramson TR 11:00 - 12:30 56-167

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Fiction

In this course we will weather famous literary storms featured in major fictional works from the late 19th century to the present day. We will use this thematic lens to think critically about the basic building blocks of fiction, and the way that fictional storms blur lines between setting, plot, characterization, suspense, and narrative structure. Short stories and novels include Kate Chopin’s “The Storm,” Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes were Watching God, Ernest Hemingway’s “After the Storm,” James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, Ben Lerner’s 10:04, and Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones. Some of our storms will be based upon actual events, including Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Irene; this will raise complex questions about the boundaries between fictional and historical events. We will also use this topic to think about how fiction engages science, and to trace the ways in which environmental catastrophes intersect with racial and socioeconomic disparities.

Intermediate

21L.434 Science Fiction and Fantasy: Twenty-First Century Science Fiction Laura Finch TR 2:00 - 3:30 5-234

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H
Topics: Fantasy, Fiction

The course that North America is on in the present moment can make imagining a liveable future seem like an impossible task: an increasing gap between rich and poor, continued warfare, and the looming disaster of environmental collapse. One response to this by writers has been to represent an apocalyptic future, often including zombies, climate catastrophes, and biological pandemics.

This seminar is not about these writers. Rather than the relative luxury of being able to imagine a future-world that is worse than ours, some writers – typically minority writers – argue that the world is already pretty apocalyptic in 2018. These writers choose to use the imaginative potential of science fiction and speculative fiction to rewrite our collective future. By tackling the social injustice of the present, these writers invite us to imagine our future differently.

Specifically, this intermediate literature class will focus on global science fiction from the last two decades, including short stories, novels, and films. Our texts will address topics such as: race, indigeneity, LGBTQIA+ and gender rights, mass incarceration and police violence, immigrant rights, and environmental devastation, and colonialism/settler colonialism.

21L.512 American Authors: Weird Americas Joaquín Terrones MW 7:00 - 8:30 PM 4-253

Prereq: One subject in Literature, permission of instructor
3-0-9 HASS-H; Can be repeated for credit
Topics: Fiction, New Media

Christopher Columbus’s initial description of the Americas featured rivers of gold and man-eating monsters. From the moment settlers and conquistadors first encountered its endless frontiers, abundant nature, and alien cultures, the New World has often stood as otherworldly counterpart to European worldliness. This course will examine how contemporary North and Latin American authors have reflected on their national identities through horror, magical realism, and science fiction.

Our first unit will consider hauntings and ghosts stories as attempts to make sense of the hemisphere’s violent past. In the second, we will explore divergent worlds, geographies, and timelines that reimagine otherness and cultural plurality. The final unit will study genetic and cybernetic splicings that blur the carefully guarded lines between man, animal, and machine.

Some of the texts we will read include Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, as well as short stories by Borges, Poe, Lovecraft, and Ocampo. We will also analyze the Brazilian graphic novel Daytripper, the Canadian television series Orphan Black, the film Jupiter Ascending, and the music of Janelle Monáe.