Student-Originated Studies: Fantastic Resistances
Spring 2017 quarter
With the increasing prominence of fantastic and speculative fiction in mainstream culture, much recent controversy has erupted over what stories should be told, by and for whom. Some have gone so far as to insist that progressivism is an unwelcome new intrusion into fantastic and speculative genres, ruining them entirely. There is, however, nothing recent or alien about progressive thought in these fictions, it has been integral and even foundational since Captian Nemo set sail against slavery and empire in 1870. Science fiction and fantasy help us envision social change and sustainable alternatives, imagination conjoined to technical knowledge synthesizes powerful new possibilities. This program will excavate the rich traditions and praxes of resistant, oppositional and radical thought arrayed against the imperial and the authoritarian by what-if modes of story-telling (e.g. fantasy, magical realism, science fiction, etc.) in print, cinematic, broadcast and new electronic media.
The program is, in brief, a training dojo for aspiring “social justice warriors”. It will focus upon speculative genres’ critiques of power asymmetries – colonial, technological, economic, raced, gendered, and especially their intersections. How do imagined futures, alternate presents and invented never-were-s challenge existing social and political realities, and postulate alternative ones? Which such realities have been so challenged, and when? And most importantly, how do we continue this rich critical tradition into the future, and in the face of mounting opposition?
Readings will include The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence Krauss, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, Alif the Unseen by G. Willow W ilson, and The Female Man by Joanna Russ. The program will also make extensive use of video materials. In addition to the usual program expectations, each student will develop over the course of the program their own speculative narrative, and present it in completed form as a short story, comic, script, game, or by means of some other media as appropriate.
Fields of Studycultural studies history literature media studies
cultural studies, writing for page or screen, sequential art, and games design.
Location and Schedule
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 1-6pm