Instructor: Josh Shaine
5-10 students, ages 13+
Meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 12pm Pacific Time
The concept of utopia – a society without conflict in which all people’s needs are met and they live in harmony – has intrigued us for more than 2000 years. Just as surely, there are those among us convinced that any place that a substantial number of people would find utopic, others would find unlivable. And worse yet is the certainty that others have that a place set up as a utopia would become, whether quickly or slowly, a dystopia – a place of oppression, good only for the chosen few.
In this course, we will review historical views of utopia, take a gander at some of the attempts to create them in practice, and consider the rise of dystopian fiction, both ~100 years ago and again in the recent past. Along the way, we will explore what we consider to be necessary conditions for a utopia and design our own – or at least, we’ll try to!
Some materials used in this class may have content ratings of PG-13.
Required Text: The Utopia Reader, 2nd Edition
Class 1: Introduction
Class 2: History of Utopias in Fiction and Fact
Class 3: How did We Get from Utopias to Dystopias
Class 4: Building Utopia – Part One (Ideas)
Class 5: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Class 6: The City and the Stars & Against the Fall of Night, both by Arthur C. Clarke
Class 7: Building Utopia – Part Two (Practicalities)
Class 8: YA Dystopian Fiction, Part 1
Class 9: YA Dystopian Fiction, Part 2
Class 10: Building Utopia – Part Three (Execution)
Class 11: Class’s Choice of Topic
Class 12: Wrap up and Presentations of Our Utopias