Science Fiction Course
Englit 0626 @ Pitt-Greensburg
Autumn 2017; Class meets T H 1 -2:15 pm in 111 Powers Hall
Prof. Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
E-mail: ebb8 at pitt.edu
Office Hours in FOB 204: Wed. 3 - 4:30 pm, Thurs. 2:30 - 4:30 PM, and by appointment
Course Information and Policies
Complete readings and assignments before the dates on which they are scheduled below.
Bookmark this page! Updates and revisions will be announced in class and via Courseweb announcements (sent to your pitt.edu e-mail address). This syllabus address: https://ebeshero.github.io/scienceFiction/ Courseweb address: https://courseweb.pitt.edu
2017-08-29 T Welcome to the course! Intro to science fiction and H. G. Wells
- Orson Welles’ Radio Broadcast, 1938 During the 1930s actors Orson Welles and John Houseman presented a radio show, “The Mercury Theatre on the Air.” This show is remembered most for its October 30, 1938 broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells. Although listeners were cautioned that this was only a story, panic ensued across the country as people thought it was a real news broadcast and that the earth was being invaded by Martians.
- Google Map of Locations in War of the Worlds
- Slides: Darwin, H. G. Wells, and the War of Nature
2017-08-31 H Start H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds, Book I, Ch. I through Ch. VIII, pp. 41-68;
2017-09-05 T War of the Worlds, to the end of Book II Ch. III (to p. 154)
2017-09-07 H Finish War of the Worlds; Threaded Writing Assignment 1 due before class Note: Add/Drop ends on F 09-08
2017-09-12 T Start Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chs. 1-4 (to p. 47); Context:
2017-09-14 H Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chs. 5-13 (to p. 153);
2017-09-19 T Finish Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Start Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Foreword (pp. xix-xx) and Chs. 1 - 5 Clips from Blade Runner (1982)
2017-09-21 H 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the end of Ch. 17; Context Slides: 2001 and the Golden Age of Science Fiction: Space Odysseys
Introduce Sound Composition Assignment
2017-09-26 T 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the end of Part IV (Ch. 30)
2017-09-28 H Finish 2001: A Space Odyssey; Quiz.
Audio Assignment 1 due between 9-28 and 10-3
2017-10-03 T Start Alan Moore, Watchmen, to the end of Ch. 1 (including the prose segment “Under the Hood”)
Writing About Comics
2017-10-05 H Alan Moore, Watchmen, to the end of Ch. 5; Introduce Watchmen Graphic Analysis assignment Preliminary Launch: group Timeline Exercise: Groups: set up your TimeMapper Timeline files by next week, and begin collecting events.
2017-10-10 T NO CLASS TODAY (Monday classes meet due to Fall Break.)
2017-10-12 H Finish Watchmen
Kitty Genovese and Bystander Syndrome
*Context reading: “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” *New York Times article, 27 March 1964
Context short video: Friedrich Nietzsche on the Superman
Context reading: translated passages from Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra
Sidelight: Stanley Kubrick’s last-minute decision for the musical score of 2001
The Ending of Watchmen
Context Slides: Alien Invasions, Pulp Comics, and Watchmen
Midterm Exam Review Prep
Midterm Take-Home Exam
2017-10-17 T Midterm Exam due by Courseweb
2017-10-19 H Start Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. I - II (to p. 33);
Context Slides: The Handmaid’s Tale
2017-10-21, Sat. by 11:59 PM: Watchmen Graphic Analysis assignment due
2017-10-24 T Reading Day No class meeting. (I am out of town delivering a presentation.) Continue reading The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. III - VIII (to p. 140) note: MITH Digital Dialogue on 11/24
2017-10-26 H The Handmaid’s Tale Chs. IX - XI (to p. 195) Group Exercise and launch Handmaid’s Tale Threaded Discussion Exercise TimeMappers: Each group member has contributed one entry. These are posted and viewable before class so that we may admire your work.
2017-10-31 T Finish The Handmaid’s Tale (including the Historical Notes, which actually conclude the novel); Threaded Handmaid’s Tale Discussion Exercise
2017-11-02 H start Octavia Butler, Lilith’s Brood: Dawn (through p. 112) Context Slides: Octavia Butler, Science Fiction, and Lilith’s Brood
TimeMappers: Each group member contributes one more entry. Groups take stock. You need to represent events from at least three books we are reading this semester. Make a plan of how to do this.
2017-11-07 T Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) Part II (Phoenix) through Ch. 9 (pp. 313-355) Introduce Analytical or Creative Research Project
2017-11-09 H Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) finish Part II (to p. 417) *Launch Threaded Discussion of *Lilith’s Brood **
2017-11-14 T Reading Day (no class meeting) Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) Part III (to p. 477) *note: TEI Conference (11/11 - 11/15)
TimeMappers: Major installment due here. HALFWAY POINT with at least 12 entries.
2017-11-16 H Re-convene in class Finish Adulthood Rites (Lilith’s Brood) + last two chapters of Imago (Lilith’s Brood), pp. 741-746; *Threaded Discussion of *Lilith’s Brood ** due
2017-11-21 T Start Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl, Chs. 1-5; Context Slides: The Windup Girl
2017-11-23 H Thanksgiving Recess (no classes today)
2017-11-28 T The Windup Girl, Chs. 6-12 Exercise: Language in The Windup Girl
2017-11-30 H The Windup Girl, Chs. 13-26 Context: Buddhism for Beginners
2017-12-05 T The Windup Girl, Chs. 27-35
2017-12-07 H Last Day. Finish The Windup Girl. TimeMappers: Completed TimeMaps due before class: at least 25 entries.
2017-12-11 M Take-Home Final Exam Posted. Longer Assignment (Creative / Analytical) due by 11:59pm.
2017-12-14 H Take-Home Final Exam due by 11:59pm (via upload to Courseweb).