21W.730-1 Imagining the Future

Spring 2004

Abstract picture showing space, DNA, chemistry model, and planets.
Abstract picture showing space, DNA, chemistry model, and planets. (Image courtesy of NASA's Fluids and Combustion Facility Web site.)

Course Highlights

This course features detailed essay assignments.

Course Description

Turn-of-the-century eras have historically been times when people are more than usually inclined to scrutinize the present and speculate about the future. Now, the turn not just of a century but of a millennium having recently passed, such scrutiny and speculations inevitably intensify. What will the future that awaits us in this twenty-first century and beyond be like? And how do visions of that future reflect and respond to the world we live in now? In this writing course we will read and write about how some twentieth-century writers and filmmakers have attended to the present as a way of imagining -- and warning about -- possible worlds to come. Guided by our reading and discussion, we will scrutinize our own present and construct our own visions of the future through close readings of the texts as well as of some aspects of contemporary culture -- urban and environmental crises, economic imperialism, sexual and reproductive politics, issues of race and gender, the romance of technology, robotics and cyborg cultures, media saturation, language and representation -- and the persistent questions they pose about what it means to be human at this threshold of a new millennium.
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Staff

Instructor:
Prof. Rebecca Blevins Faery

Course Meeting Times

Lectures:
Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session

Level

Undergraduate