STS 321
Unsettled Futures: Time, Crisis, and Science Fiction from the Margins
Last Offered Fall 2021
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed STS 321 / AMST 321
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Societies around the globe are now confronting a triple crisis that threatens not only political orders but also the very existence of certain forms of life: (1) financial collapse(s) that have increased the awareness and severity of mass inequality, (2) climate change and mass extinctions, and (3) the rise of white supremacy and ethno-nationalisms that threaten BIPOC lives and representative democracies. These material and political challenges have depleted many of the cultural resources that enable imagining non-apocalyptic futures. Yet, these crises are not novel. Many groups in the periphery–geographic, economic, and cultural–were and are already living through the uneven distribution of the apocalypse. Science fiction (SF) has emerged as a privileged symbolic field for the expression of hopes and anxieties that drive both culture and tech industries. Whether seen as a form of productive pessimism or liberatory theory, SF from the margins is deployed as a political tool for enacting change in the present. In this course, we will survey the history of SF as a variable and theoretical orientation constituted through the unfolding of uneven global encounters. We will analyze SF in the Cold War, Anthropocene, decolonization movements, and postcolonial and Indigenous landscapes, reading major works in SF and science and technology studies (STS) that address the politics of crisis, apocalypse, and global futures. In addition to novels and short stories, this course will incorporate film, graphic novels, music videos, video games, and other science fiction subgenres.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1379
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class discussion, approximately 10 pages of creative writing, 5 page analysis paper of your classmate's creative writing, final paper or project (5-8 page paper or equivalent)
Enrollment Preferences: Students who have taken American Studies 101 and/or Science and Technology Studies 101
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
STS 321 Division II AMST 321 Division II
DPE Notes: This course examines the racial, ethnic, gendered, and sexed dimensions of science fiction and traces how marginalized people have imagined the future amidst an atemporal and unfolding apocalypse. Students will work with postcolonial, Indigenous, queer, and critical race media concerning the future, and will gain the skills needed to read political orders and crises through the lens of the margin.
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives

Class Grid

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  • STS 321 - SEM Unsettled Futures
    STS 321 SEM Unsettled Futures
    Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
    Not offered

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