Science Fiction & Ecology

Course Number: ENGL 192EF
Prerequisites: Check on GOLD
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 192
Quarter: Spring 2020
Instructor: Jue, Melody
Day(s): TR
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Location: BROIDA 1610
Description:

This course will introduce the literary genre of science fiction (SF) and its engagements with the science of ecology. Beginning with Mary Shelley’s classic text Frankenstein (1818), long considered one of the first texts in the genre of science fiction, we will explore how different writers imagine the relationships between subject and environment. In this examination, we will consider posthuman theories of the subject as an amalgam or patchwork that is radically open to its environment (Swamp Thing, Exhalation). In the second part of class, we will turn to climate fiction and ecological disaster in film, fiction, and short stories (Mad Max: Fury Road [film]; The Collapse of Western Civilization). We will also consider climate allegories like The Fifth Season, which paints a harrowing Anthropocene future that coincides with structural prejudice. The class will conclude with two hopeful texts that imagine forms of engaged citizenship, To Be Taught if Fortunate and the short collection of speeches by climate activist Greta Thunberg, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference. During the quarter, we will consider topics including cybernetics, species extinction, petrofiction, ecological Marxism, Afrofuturism, biopolitics, the Anthropocene, the posthuman, gender, race, collectivity, and dystopia. For English Majors, this course counts for either the “Literature & Environment” or “Literature & Cultures of Information” specializations.