When Things Go Wrong: Dystopia and the Place of Writing from "Frankenstein" to "The Handmaid’s Tale".
One day course for teachers of English. Formation continue UNIL-EPFL.
Friday 11 September 2020 (9h00 - 17h30) - TBC - TBC
What would the world be without books? How would that change our apprehension of the world? Fahrenheit 451 and other texts pose that question at a time when we seem to be moving to radically new information technologies and cultural practices. This 1-day course proposes to examine the role of dystopian fiction in addressing contemporary threats and issues. While writers have used fiction to explore imaginative possibilities or to express concerns about real enough forms of social conflict, religious violence, political oppression and ideological manipulation, fiction tends to escape from the safe confines of the book into the world and shape it as a place. It also provides a space in which the reader can reflect on reality, develop critical thinking and forms of resistance. Whether that place is utopia or dystopia, fiction constantly interrogates its blissful and damning force, and its capacity to ask uncomfortable questions, quarrel with the world, and imagine it anew.
- Explore the genre of dystopian literature and see how it may help us read some of our current social, political and ecological questions
- Consider dystopian literature in the vaster context of the Western book culture and history of writing and reading
- Confront different readings of widely received texts and reconsider them in the light of current scholarship and contemporary theoretical questions
- Reflect on the role of (teaching) literature and its visual adaptations (TV, film, etc.)
- Propose ways of reading speculative and dystopian fiction as modes of interrogation in/of the contemporary world
- Consider texts as a place of ideological resistance