ENGL 100/017: Strange Creatures – Gisèle M. Baxter
Term 2 TTh 2:00-3:30 p.m.
“Have you ever retired a human by mistake?” – Rachael to Deckard, Blade Runner
From V for Vendetta to The Hunger Games to The Walking Dead, the near-future landscapes of literary and popular culture are terrifying places. In this course, we will consider dystopian speculations that reflect on the present and recent past, especially concerning the threats of mass surveillance, profit-motivated technology, environmental crisis, and redefinitions of human identity. Our core texts will be John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and the Director’s Cut of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (though you will be encouraged to introduce other relevant texts). Through readings in current criticism and theory, we will develop strategies for textual analysis in literary and cultural studies. We will also consider the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reaching a “fixed” or consensus reading of any text. You will write two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary research, and a final examination, all focused on literary textual analysis, and will contribute to in-class and online discussion.
© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.