This course considers the ways in which the future has been conceived in the West since the eighteenth century, through an exploration of utopian hopes and dystopian fears in fiction as well as concrete attempts to realize these projects. Drawing on numerous case studies, it will first aim at understanding what underlying assumptions – about the nature of human mind, family, work, sex, emotions, social boundaries in the community – structure these imaginations of the future. Beyond fiction, this course will interrogate to what extent and how utopias have shaped Western representations such as those regarding science, technology, social norms and the State. From the initial map of Canberra inspired by utopian socialism, to current artificial intelligence designers revisiting by Asimov’s writings, through Western constitutions raised in the Enlightenment ideals, how has our social world been nurtured by utopias?
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Acquire in-depth knowledge about the history of utopias
- Analyze the utopic & dystopic projections to the future as a reflect of current social issues
- Recognize key social patterns and cultural themes in utopias and science fiction
- Examine to what extent directing social change in the West has been inspired by ideals appearing in fictions, critically assessing the links between fiction and actual social change
Indicative AssessmentTutorial participation (10%) Learning Outcomes 1-4
Mid-Term Examination, 1 hour (25%) Learning Outcomes 1-2
1,500 word research essay (30%) Learning Outcomes 3-4
Final Examination, 2 hours, held during the formal examination period (35%) Learning Outcomes 2-3-4
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 35 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 11 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.
b) 95 hours of independent student research, reading and writing
Requisite and Incompatibility
Thomas More, Utopia
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- Unit value:
- 6 units
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