Topics in World Literature: Utopias and Dystopias (Marlana Portolano)

Course Rationale:

This course is a broad survey of the many types of utopias and dystopias in Western literature, from ancient times to the early 20th century, and a thorough exploration of the nature, purposes, and cultural reception of utopian literature.  Through guided in-class and online discussion, readings and researched writing, students will develop their own viable definitions of what utopia is and is not.  They will investigate the function of utopian ideas in the controlling institutions of a society.  They will ponder the extent to which utopia is dangerous as a particular vision of the perfect world, and to what extent it can be a guiding ideal of human inspiration and creativity.  The class will survey important utopian texts from ancient times to the 20th century and visit a working commune developed on the principles of a utopian text.  In addition to a research paper exploring a particular aspect of utopian thought, students will create their own utopias by negotiating with others to envision a world that embodies an integrated concept of perfection.  Finally, students will critique their own utopias from the point of view of great
utopian writers of the past.

*Click here for the full syllabus. (Coming Soon!)

One thought on “Topics in World Literature: Utopias and Dystopias (Marlana Portolano)

  1. Stephanie S

    Could you please share your syllabus? I’m teaching dystopian literature for the first time, and I would love some ideas/assistance!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *