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The Sixties and Seventies Through Utopia

Class at Faculty of Arts |



This course will explore utopianism in postwar American literature and culture, particularly in the “turbulent” decades of the 1960s and 1970s. We will focus on several fictional and theoretical works by authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Ernest Callenbach, and Marge Piercy. Towards the end of the semester, more recent interventions into the genre of utopia will be addressed as well.


Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower. New York: Warner Books, 2000.

Callenbach, Ernest. Ecotopia. Berkeley: Banyan Tree Books, 1975.

Chan, Edward K. "Utopia and the Problem of Race: Accounting for the Remainder in the Imagination of the 1970s Utopian Subject." Utopian Studies 17.3 (2006).

Claeys, Gregory and Lyman Tower Sargent, eds. "Introduction." The Utopia Reader. New York: NYU Press, 1999.

Franko, Carol. "Kim Stanley Robinson: Mars Trilogy." A Companion to Science Fiction, ed. David Seed. Malden: Blackwell, 2005.

Goodwin, Barbara. "Fragment from the Future." Justice by Lottery. Exeter: Imprint Academic, 1992.

Harvey, David. "Appendix: Edilia, or 'Make of It What You Will.'" Spaces of Hope. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Jacobs, Naomi. "Failures of the Imagination in Ecotopia." Extrapolation 38.4 (Winter 1997).

Jameson, Fredric. "Periodizing the 60s." Social Text 9/10 (Spring-Summer 1984).

Jameson, Fredric, Anders Stephanson and Cornel West. "A Very Partial Chronology." Social Text 9/10 (Spring-Summer 1984).

Jones, Gwyneth. "Year Zero Art: A Lost Generation Finds Its Voice in The Female Man." Joanna Russ. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019.

Kumar, Krishan. "Utopia and Anti-Utopia in the Twentieth Century." Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987.

Le Guin, Ursula K. "The New Atlantis." The Norton Book of Science Fiction. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.

-----. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." The Wind’s Twelve Quarters. London: Golancz, 1975, and essays about the story from Utopian Studies 2.1/2 (1991).

Levitas, Ruth. "For Utopia: The (Limits of the) Utopian Function in Late Capitalist Society." Philosophy of Utopia, ed. Barbara Goodwin. London and New York: Routledge, 2001.

Marcuse, Herbert. "The End of Utopia." Five Lectures: Psychoanalysis, Politics, and Utopia. Boston: Beacon, 1970.

Moylan, Tom. "On the Utopian Standpoint of Nonviolence." Becoming Utopian: The Culture and Politics of Radical Transformation. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021.

-----. "Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time." Demand the Impossible. London: Methuen, 1986.

Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time. New York: Ballantine, 1976.

Robinson, Kim Stanley. The Martians. New York: Bantam Books, 2000. (extracts)

Russ, Joanna. “A Few Things I Know About Whileaway.” The Norton Book of Science Fiction. New  York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.

-----. "When It Changed." Again, Dangerous Visions, ed. Harlan Ellison. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1972.

Sargisson, Lucy. "Strange Places: Estrangement, Utopianism, and Intentional Communities." Utopian Studies 18.3 (2007).

Suvin, Darko. "Defining the Literary Genre of Utopia: Some Historical Semantics, Some Genology, a Proposal, and a Plea." Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979.

-----. “Parables of De-Alienation: Le Guin's Widdershins Dance.” Science Fiction Studies 2.3 (1975).

Wagner-Lawlor, Jennifer. "Learning the Way of the World, and Beyond." Postmodern Utopias and Feminist Fictions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.


To receive their credits, students must attend at least 70% of seminars, deliver an oral presentation, and submit an essay of 2000-3000 words. Please consult “Essay Guidelines” at for general writing guidelines and submit an approximately 100-word proposal in advance (a preliminary bibliography should be included as well). Essays must be submitted by February 10, 2023.