LANG 260 International Science Fiction and Utopia: Shaping of Ideological Landscapes


We are living through a time of great socio-political transformations, and history shows us that many cultural products labeled “science fiction” have become perfect metaphors of our fears and hopes (eg: Brave New World and 1984). Up to a point, science fiction allows us to objectively see the aspirations and taboos of our intellectual and ideological landscape. But what is then the relation between science fiction and utopia? In this course, we will widely question the limits of these two concepts by bringing together the expertise of a whole variety of scholars from both Rhodes and the Memphis community, from the fields of Modern Languages, Physics, English, Russian, Biology, Neuroscience, Gender Studies and Film Studies. We will go far beyond the limits of Anglo-Saxon cultural production and engage a body of international cultural texts and films, which could help us understand the limits and points of contact of each tradition/culture. The possibility of bringing into the picture of cultural analysis not just humanists, but also scientists from different fields, will allow us to expand the concept of “utopia” beyond its understanding within the literary tradition and to explore the “utopic” component of the different sciences as well.