ENGL 1100-D1: Composition and Rhetoric: Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
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In the twenty-first century, utopian and dystopian fiction is everywhere. This type of fiction portrays imaginary worlds that are either “utopian”—societies that are ideal but that may not be realistically achievable in the real world—or “dystopian”—societies that intensify the most troubling aspects of the real world and serve as warnings for audiences. Sometimes, however, artists will create worlds that blur the boundaries between utopia and dystopia, prompting us to question our own preconceived notions about individual morality, social justice, and the power of fiction itself. In this course, we will engage with a sampling of utopian and dystopian poems, short stories, and films, and you will learn the fundamentals of college-level writing as you compose argumentative essays about these works.¶ Course Objectives and Goals ¶This course is an introduction to college-level writing that will teach you to develop, organize, and present your ideas. It will begin with a close reading essay of a poem: either Wisława Szymborska’s “Utopia” or Alicia Ostriker’s “Utopian.” Following this will be an essay comparing Ursula Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” to N.K. Jemisin’s “The Ones Who Stay and Fight,” a reimagining of Le Guin’s story. The course will conclude with a research argument about one of the primary sources covered in the course, including the film adaptation of The Hunger Games. Throughout, we will emphasize that writing is an ongoing process of thinking and learning. This process begins when you ask questions about a text or subject, continues through note taking and other forms of pre-writing, and develops into a presentable product through cycles of drafting, feedback, and revision. These techniques will apply to writing beyond this course, to any subject demanding clear, logical, and cogent exposition. By the end of the course, students will: • Become more effective writers in their academic and professional lives • Learn to assess the content and quality of their own ideas • Develop sound research skills to structure and inform their thinking • Practice critical thought in relation to classic works of literature
Spencer, S. (2022, Fall). Syllabus, ENG 1100-D1: Composition and Rhetoric: Utopian and Dystopian Fiction. Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
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