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GH 201: Introduction to the Great Works: Utopia the Quest. Dystopia the Price.

GH 201: Utopia the Quest. Dystopia the Price.

This seminar will examine humankind’s efforts to produce ideal societies - those with maximum liberty or order or happiness or equality - and how such efforts may come at a high price - imprisonment of the body and mind or anarchy or oppression or eugenics. Throughout the semester, you will discuss classical works, historical documents, manifestos, films, novels and an assortment of literary works. You will interrogate the concepts central to utopian and dystopian societies via discussion, free-writes, short in-class reflection papers, in-class research, individual or group facilitation of the subject matter and two 5 page seminar (summary, analysis and connection) papers. To ensure students are critically reading the required materials as well as staying engaged during class discussion, biweekly quizzes will be posted on Blackboard.  Students will have one week to complete each quiz. This class is highly interactive and reading and writing intensive.

Subject matter (sample): Utopia/Dystopia, Ideology/Ideologues, Reproduction/Sterilization/Eugenics, Anarchy, Libertarianism, Liberalism, Classical Conservativism, Socialism and Authoritarianism/Fascism, Systems of Oppression, Disadvantage and Privilege, Wealth Disparity and Wealth Distribution and Redistribution.

Instructor Style: Limited lecture, free-flowing discussion, holistic rather than linear approach to discussion and subject matter.  Views life-long learning as an opportunity for continuous exploration and improvement in terms of critical reading, analysis and writing. Values and encourages intellectual curiosity.

Novels (sample): A Wrinkle in Time, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Road, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, and Wicked.

Excerpts, poems, and short stories (sample): "The Lottery," "The Ones that Walk Away from Omelas," Excerpts from 1984 (George Orwell), Excerpts from Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), Excerpts from Herland (Charlotte Perkins Gilman), Select chapters from the textbook.

Works /Historical Documents/ and Manifestos (sample): A Vindication of the Rights of Women (Mary Wollstonecraft), Ain’t I a Woman? (Sojourner Truth), Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Sentiments, Justice as Fairness (John Rawls), On Liberty (John Stuart Mill), "The Allegory of the Cave," The Republic (Plato), The Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx), The Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes); Two Treatises of Government (John Locke), Utopia (Thomas More), Women, Morality, and Birth Control (Margaret Sanger).

Films and Series (sample): Black Panther, Get Out, The Children of Men, V for Vendetta, Episodes from The Handmaid’s Tale, Episodes from The Man in High Castle.

Instructor: Dr. Linda Maule

Please contact Dr. Maule if you have questions about this course.


Video: Dr. Maule discusses GH 201: Introduction to the Great Works: Utopia the Quest. Dystopia the Price.