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Fall 2020 LIT 499-04 Utopia/Dystopia

Seminar in Research and Theory: Utopia/Dystopia
Professor Michael Robertson
Course Meetings: Tuesday/Friday 2:00-3:20pm

Why is dystopian literature so popular right now? Part of the reason is that the dark twins of dystopian and utopian literature address so many perennially urgent issues, including power, oppression, freedom, equality, the environment, gender, sexuality, and many more. This course explores foundational texts of both genres, ranging from Plato’s Republic to Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, and including Thomas More’s Utopia, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Theoretical works by Mikhail Bakhtin, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci and others will be integrated into the course. Students will be able to choose from among a wide range of utopian and dystopian literature for their independent research projects.