• Class Number 4134
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Baptiste Brossard
    • Dr Baptiste Brossard
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

What drives individuals to generate Utopian imaginaries? How are Utopias produced? Can we build a sociological theory of Utopia production? This course investigates these questions through research-based teaching: students will be invited to participate in ongoing research that aims to develop a theory of Utopia production. Drawing on numerous case studies, the course will introduce students to the ways in which the future has been conceived in the West since the sixteenth century. It will explore Utopian hopes and dystopian fears in fiction as well as concrete attempts to realize these projects.

Learning Outcomes

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:
  1. explain the history of Utopias;
  2. evaluate theories of utopianism;
  3. carry out case study analysis of Utopian novels; and
  4. develop and articulate critical understanding of the relations between Utopian thinking, social change, and fiction.

Research-Led Teaching

What drives individuals to generate Utopian fictions, and how does this process take place? How are utopias produced and what makes positive visions of the future to emerge? Can we build a sociological theory of utopia production? This course proposes to grapple with these questions as a research based-teaching: students will be invited to participate in an ongoing research, with a view of developing a theory of utopia production. Drawing on numerous case studies, the lectures will consider the ways in which the future has been conceived in the West since the sixteenth century, through an exploration of Utopian hopes and dystopian fears in fiction as well as concrete attempts to realize these projects. Tutorials will include both theoretical discussions and research activities depending on the needs of the research project. 

Mandatory readings:

Thomas More. 1516. Utopia. (any edition).

Baptiste Brossard. 2019. “Elements for a Theory of Utopia Production” Utopia Studies 30(3): 422-443

Recommended readings:

- Sargent, Lyman Tower. 1976. "Themes in Utopian Fiction in English before Wells", Science Fiction Studies, 3(3): 275-282 [link]

- Sargent, Lyman Tower. 1994. "The Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited". Utopian Studies, 5(1), 1-37 [link]

- Mannheim, Karl. 1936. Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge. New York: Harcourt

- Krishan Kumar.1987. Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

- Ruth Levitas. 1990. The Concept of Utopia. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The First Utopias - Introduction
2 Utopianism in the 16th century Tutorial Participation;
3 Utopianism in the 17th century Tutorial Participation;
4 Utopianism in the 18th century Tutorial Participation;
5 Utopianism in the 19th century Tutorial Participation;
6 Utopianism in the 20th century Tutorial Participation;
7 Theorizing Utopia Production; Tutorial Participation; Mid-Term Examination
8 The Birth of Science Fiction Tutorial Participation;
9 Islamic Utopias Tutorial Participation;
10 Socialism and Utopianism Tutorial Participation; Assessment 3 due
11 Feminist Utopias Tutorial Participation;
12 Conclusion

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation 15 % * * 3-4
Mid-Term Examination 20 % 21/04/2020 * 1-2
Research Essay 35 % 12/05/2020 * 1-3
Take-Home Exam 30 % 22/05/2020 12/06/2020 2-4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is required during tutorials, where collective research activities will be conducted.


Assessment 1 is tutorial participation (15%); Learning Outcomes 3-4

Assessment 2: Mid-Term Examination, 1 hour (20%) Learning Outcomes 1-2

Assessment 3: 2,000 word research essay (35%) Learning Outcomes 1-3

Assessment 4: 1,000 word take home examination, held during the formal examination period (30%) Learning Outcomes 2-4

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 3-4

Tutorial Participation

Tutorial participation will require students to engage with the case studies collectively conducted during tutorials (LO3) and debate the content of the course (LO4); 15%

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 21/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1-2

Mid-Term Examination

The Mid-Term Examination will essentially assess the knowledge of the utopias (LO1) and theories (LO2) studied during the lectures; 20%

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 12/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1-3

Research Essay

The research essay requires students to develop their own case study of an utopian text, which will further their knowledge of the history of utopias (LO1) and their ability to realize case studies (LO3); 35%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 22/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 12/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2-4

Take-Home Exam

The final examination will requires students to reflect on the content of the course and the broader social issues it raises, which involves some insights on the theories of utopianism (LO2) and critical reflections on the relations between Utopian thinking, social change and fiction (LO4); 30%

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Baptiste Brossard

Research Interests

Utopia Studies; Sociological Theory; Qualitative Methods; Mental Health

Dr Baptiste Brossard

By Appointment
Dr Baptiste Brossard

Research Interests

Dr Baptiste Brossard

By Appointment

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