course info



This course will focus on a genre that has only in recent years been taken seriously as a subject for critical discourse -- speculative fiction -- and in particular will focus on relatively recent developments, as women and writers of color have increasingly found voices within what was seen for decades as a predominantly white and male genre. Throughout the semester, we're going to think about the "cognitive estrangement" that characterizes science fiction and its related subgenres, as these novels create new worlds that readers must struggle to understand. At the same time, we'll bear in mind the suggestion that all such "other worlds" narratives are always about our own world, and that tales of the future are invariably about the present. What kinds of commentary about contemporary culture can this combination of cognitive estrangement and critical perspective make possible? What kinds of political possibilities can be created through imaginative engagement with worlds radically different from -- and yet reflective of -- our own?

schedule changes


Okay, so as I mentioned in class today, I've got to cancel class next Wednesday due to an emergency meeting I have to attend. I want to propose the following options:

peer review

A few notes on the peer review process:

First off, if you don't have a partner as yet, please leave a comment on this post; there are likely other folks looking for partners to work with, too. If we wind up with only one person who seems unpaired, I'd appreciate it if a group would expand to three.

could it be yours?

I've got an annotated bibliography with no name on it; the paper apparently focuses on Snow Crash, and the bibliography includes Pettman, Stockton, Gardner, Wyatt, Dougherty, Haraway, and Lakoff. Anyone care to take credit for their work?

where to start that research?

I've been meaning to bring this up in class for the last week, and only today during office hours, while talking with a member of the class, did I suddenly remember: given that many of you are science/math/otherwise non-English majors, you might want a pointer or two on how to start your research.

presentation signups


A reminder: presentation signups are taking place through the wiki on the Sakai site; if you have not yet signed up for a date, please do so immediately!

term paper assignment


I've just emailed the term paper assignment to everyone, and am going to attach it to the proper places in the syllabus. Please let me know if you have questions.



I see that my intent to have the McHale essay posted on the syllabus in time for you to read it for tomorrow's class has been utterly foiled by my complete failure to follow through. Read the other two essays and the Gibson, and I'll attempt to get McHale up there sometime this week.

reading responses

I'm in the process of reading and commenting upon your reading responses from last week, and wanted to give you all a few pieces of information based on my readings of them.

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