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Science Fiction for the Moment

Class at Faculty of Arts |



Departing from Carl Freedman's argument concerning the conjunction of science fiction and critical theory, in this course we consider the present from the perspective of selected Anglophone science-fiction prose and poetry published in the past four decades. Novels under review include Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home, Marge Piercy's He, She and It, Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring and Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140. Poetry sessions focus on selected poems by Le Guin, Piercy, Ken MacLeod and Darko Suvin. Key cultural concepts important for the discussion of these artistic works are introduced in the course through a selection of theoretical texts by Fredric Jameson, David Harvey, bell hooks and Silvia Federici, among others.


Byrne, Deidre. "'What is Not Owned': Feminist Strategies in Ursula K. Le Guin's Poetry." Foundation 114 (Spring 2012/13).

Ðergović-Joksimović, Zorica. "The Poetry of Estrangement or Utopia Suviniana." Utopian Studies 28.1 (2017).

Federici, Silvia. "The Body, Capitalism, and the Reproduction of Labor Power." Beyond the Periphery of the Skin: Rethinking, Remaking and Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

Freedman, Carl. "Definitions." Critical Theory and Science Fiction. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.

Garforth, Lisa. "Green Utopias: Beyond Apocalypse, Progress, and Pastoral." Utopian Studies 16.3 (2005).

Haraway, Donna J. "A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, "Empire, Twenty Years On." New Left Review 120 (2019).

Harvey, David. "Marxism, Metaphors, and Ecological Politics." Monthly Review, Mar. 3 (1998). hooks, bell. "The Politics of Greed." Where We Stand: Class Matters. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Hopkinson, Nalo. Brown Girl in the Ring. New York: Warner Books, 1998.

Jameson, Fredric. An American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army. London: Verso, 2016.

Kabo, Raphael."'Life! Life!': The Precarious Utopianism of Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140." Utopian Studies 32.2 (2021).

Le Guin, Ursula K. Always Coming Home. London: Gollancz, 2016.

MacLeod, Ken and Iain Banks. Poems. London: Little, Brown, 2015. (selected poems)

Miéville, China. "Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory." Red Planets, ed. Mark Bould and China Miéville. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press,2009.

Milner, Andrew and J. R. Burgmann. "A Short Pre-History of Climate Fiction." Extrapolation 59.1 (2018).

Moylan, Tom. "Marge Piercy's Tale of Hope." Scraps of the Untainted Sky: Science Fiction, Utopia, Dystopia. Boulder: Westview, 2000.

Piercy, Marge. He, She and It. New York: Fawcett, 1991.

-----. Selected poetry from The Monthly Review.

Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140. London: Orbit, 2017.

Suvin, Darko. "On Communism, Science Fiction, and Utopia: The Blagoevgrad Theses.” Mediations 32.2 (2019) and selected poetry from

-----. "Of Starship Troopers and Refuseniks: War and Militarism in U.S. Science Fiction, Part 2." Extrapolation 48.1 (2007).

-----. "What and How Are Poets for in Our Age of Want: Cognition, Emancipation, Communism." Minnesota Review 91 (2018).

Wood, Sarah. "'Serving the Spirits': Emergent Identities in Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring." Extrapolation 46.3 (2005).


To receive their credits, students must attend at least 70% of seminars, deliver an oral presentation and submit an essay of 3000-4000 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 June 14, 2024.

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