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seminars > fall 2013 schedule > seminar: Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature: Utopias and Dystopias


Honors Seminars Fall 2013

Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature: Utopias and Dystopias

HON 202 Sec:002  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Tompkins Hall 0G126  
Dr. John D. Morillo
Associate Professor
Restrictions: Restricted to first semester UHP freshmen  

Restricted to first semester UHP freshmen.

Thomas More literally wrote the book on utopia in 1516, and in 1868 John Stuart Mill coined 'dystopia' as the antithesis of More's beautiful nowhere-land. These authors together represent just two of the many contributions of literature, the arts, political science, and philosophy to our current range of possibilities about what might make the world an ideal place, or an utterly horrible one. How have ideas of the good life changed? Where might it be found, or how created? Is a straight, non-satiric utopian vision still possible? Why are some works classified as both utopian and dystopian? This course will explore some dimensions of utopian and dystopian thinking, including treatments of the topic in art, film, and other media. Readings will range from the classical period to the present, and include Plato's Republic, Moore's Utopia, Thoreau's Walden, Marx's Communist Manifesto, Orwell's 1984, Skinner's Walden II, and Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, paired with Ridley Scott's movie treatment of it, Blade Runner. We will also compare male and female visions of the ideal and horrific in works by Margaret Cavendish and Charlotte Perkins Gilman to see how hopes and fears for the future reflect gender issues.