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Course Information

Year 2019  School School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Course Title
Lecture in English Studies: Ideas in Context 1


Instructor CHAN, Edward K.
Term/Day/Period spring semester  Thur.4
Category Lectures Eligible Year 2nd year and above Credits 2
Classroom 34-151 Campus Toyama
Course Key 2421680001 Course Class Code 01
Main Language English
  Course Code LITE281L
First Academic disciplines Literature
Second Academic disciplines Literature in English
Third Academic disciplines Others
Level Intermediate, developmental and applicative Types of lesson Lecture

Syllabus Information

Latest Update:2019/03/05 16:54:16

Subtitle Utopianism in Western Culture
Course Outline  This course will survey the idea of utopianism in Western culture. The term “utopia” references, among other things, a generalized notion of paradise, a “philosophy of hope,” and a dream of planned political and social transformation. People are often ambivalent about the idea, using it to express both their deepest desires for an ideal society, as well as a denunciation of overly optimistic naiveté; a compelling vision of human potential and capability, as well as a nightmarish fear of totalitarianism. Officially coined in 1516 by Sir Thomas More in England, precursors stretch back to ancient times with dreams of the good life, heaven, and perfection. Thomas More constructed the term from the Greek root words “ou” (“no” or “not”) and “topos” (“place), thus suggesting “no place”; however, his neologism simultaneously signifies “eu-topia” (or “good place”). Scholars often begin the written tradition of utopianism with Plato’s Republic (381 B.C.E.), and since then writers have continuously tried, and continue to try, to envision a perfect society. Utopianism encompasses philosophical tracts, fiction, satire, architecture, social planning, and intentional communities. On the other hand, the tradition has also generated a parallel stream of thought that we know as “dystopia,” or the “bad place.” The dystopian tradition has historically been as, if not more, compelling for audiences than the original. The course will be conducted entirely in English and is structured as a series of lectures with occasional reaction papers, video screenings, and written exams. Students should have a reasonable level of English language ability.
Objectives  Students will learn the basic tradition of utopia in Western culture and will be able to identify the key issues related to it. Students will also exercise their English language skills.
Course Schedule  (subject to change)
 Week 1  Course introduction
 Week 2  Ancient ideas of paradise
 Week 3  Plato’s Republic and the Greco-Roman tradition
 Week 4  Sir Thomas More and Early Modern utopias
 Week 5  Enlightenment utopias
 Week 6  Nineteenth-century utopias
 Week 7  Gender and utopia
 Week 8  Exam 1
 Week 9  The dystopian tradition
 Week 10  Twentieth-century utopias
 Week 11  Critical utopias and dystopias
 Week 12  Afrofuturism
 Week 13  Utopia in popular culture
 Week 14  Dystopia in popular culture
 Week 15  Exam 2
Evaluation  Exams (2 x 40 points)    80%
 Reaction papers (4 x 5 points)  20%

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