Sunday, December 13, 2015

Vanderbilt University goes cli-fi with Spring 2016 class taught be Prof Edward Rubin

Edward Rubin, University Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt

Visions of the Future in Cli-Fi Novels and Movies

PSCI 1001.01 W 3:10-4:40pm (one 45-min. session: 1/13; seven 90-min. sessions: 1/20-4/6)

Course Description

As a genre, science fiction regularly imagined where society was headed and what our world might look like in near or distant times. Depictions of this sort often served as critiques or satires of current society as well as predictions of a future one. In recent years, political debate has swirled around the issue of climate change, which is inherently about the future, and often about a more distant future than is typically discussed in the policy forum. A new literature has emerged,  called
"cli-fi," that deals with this issue in interesting ways. This course will focus on that literature, as well as on the politics of the underlying issue it addresses.

The course will meet on alternate weeks and will discuss the following novels (all of manageable length): Oreskes and Conway, Decline of Western Civilization; Ian McEwan, Solar; Nathaniel Rich, Odds Against Tomorrow; Maggie Gee, The Flood; Kim Stanley Robinson, Forty Signs of Rain. In addition to participating in the class discussions, students will be asked to write a brief analysis (200-400 words) of two of the books for a leading cli-fi blog and a 5-page paper about any book, movie, TV show or video game that deals with climate change. The papers will be presented in the last two class and I will meet individually with each student to offer suggestions about his or her written work.


Class Participation: 15%
2 Blogs: 20%
Final Paper: Written product 50%; Oral presentation 15%

Required Readings, [subject to change]

Oreskes & Conway, Decline of Western Civilization
Ian McEwan, Solar
Nathaniel Rich, Odds Against Tomorrow
Maggie Gee, The Flood
Kim Stanley Robinson, Forty Signs of Rain
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  • SEE also

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