• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Sociology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Rachael Bloul
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

Why do bleak visions of the future recur in the twentieth century, despite the progress and human betterment promised by science, technology, and the expansion of liberal values? This course considers the ways in which the future has been conceived in the West since the eighteenth century. It presents an eclectic, intensive exploration of utopian hopes and dystopian fears in the West. Topics include: ambivalence about science, reason, and machines, scientific management, bureaucratisation, eugenics and fears of racial decline, mass conformity and robots, dictatorship, surveillance and the loss of freedom, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, and the euphoric collapse of conventional boundaries.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • To examine the Western obsession with directing social changes from the Enlightenment to contemporary times
  • To show how the hope for better societies has been linked with modernisation and faith in scientific progress
  • To trace the turn from utopias to dystopias in the 20th century
  • To analyze the utopic & dystopic projections to the future as a reflect of current social issues
  • To contrast scientifically based dreams of the future with religiously based ones in contemporary societies
  • To strengthen students' ability to recognize and critically assess key social patterns and cultural themes
  • To reflect on the links between modernization, individualism and the scientific critique of tradition
  • To encourage critical and innovative thinking about modernization and the role of science in social changes

Indicative Assessment

1,500 word essay (35%), 2,500 word essay (55%) and tutorial participation (10%).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Two 1-hour lectures per week and 10 1-hour tutorials.

 Lectures will be taped.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 48 units of 1000 level ANU courses including 6 units of SOCY or HIST courses; or permission of the convenor

Preliminary Reading

To be advised.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3132
2006 $3132
2005 $3132
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8895 21 Jul 2014 01 Aug 2014 31 Aug 2014 30 Oct 2014 In Person N/A

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