anti-utopia

All posts tagged anti-utopia

We started class by having each of you create a “Follow Friday” tweet, where you recommend accounts for other folks in class to follow. Keep working to curate your Twitter timelines so when it comes time to research, you have a wide variety of resources available to you.

Next I walked you through some sample infographics and we talked about what infographics can do well, where some of the ones we looked at fall short, how to keep audience in mind and how to balance images and text. Hopefully some of these examples gave you some ideas and inspiration for your own infographics.

I walked you through some of the key terms from CCUL – it is important that you have a strong grasp on some of the key terminology we are using in this course (utopia, anti-utopia, dystopia, science fiction, cognitive estrangement) as we move forward into some of the assignments. We talked about the historical evolution of dystopia as well as the way the CCUL formulates the overlaps between science fiction, romance and utopia/dystopia. It is important to note that the scholars who wrote these chapters in the CCUL are asserting their arguments and definitions of these terms; you are certainly welcome to disagree with those definitions provided you can support your own argument with reliable sources.

We finished class today with some time spent working on your infographics with your partners. If you were out today you should check in with your partner about this project as soon as possible.

HOMEWORK

  1. Read CCUL Chapter 8
  2. Read “Burn with Us: Sacrificing Childhood in The Hunger Games,” Susan Shau Ming Tan, The Lion and the Unicorn, Volume 37, Number 1, January 2013, pp. 54-73 (Article). DOI: 10.1353/uni.2013.0002
    • Access the article through the Project MUSE database through the Georgia Tech library.  Use the Library Ask a Librarian feature if you have trouble finding or accessing the database.
    • Be sure to LIVETWEET + tweet a Discussion Question for this article and CCUL 8
  3. Continue reading independent reading selection – you should be at least halfway finished by this point
  4. OPTIONAL: We will be screening The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 on Monday, to discuss on Wednesday (3rd film). If you have not seen Catching Fire (2nd film), you might want to watch it on your own.

We’ll discuss The Hunger Games pt 3 and your excellent discussion questions on Monday

 

Webster defines a utopia as either a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions or an impractical scheme for social improvement. A dystopia, oversimplified to the extreme is a failed Utopia.

The mix of dystopian characteristics with other genres, such as, science fiction, romance, apocalypse, young adult, or any other do not work to diminish it as a genre. Each of these subgenres instead acts to expand dystopian characteristics. In the Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature, we look at the evolution of Utopian literature. The definition throughout it’s beginning with Thomas’s “No Place” has expanded to our perfect, advanced, futuristic society with unknown faults.

That being said, it is very easy to confuse dystopian literature with science fiction. They share some key characteristics: overly powerful governments, awesome technology, and the tendency to take place in the future. The constant overlap does not merge them into one genre however. Most dystopian novels may be science fiction but not every science fiction book is utopian.

Typically, in a Young Adult dystopian novel, we are introduced to a hero or heroine who is chaffing against the constraints of their too-strict , but otherwise ideal society. After their coming of age and joining the ranks of the society they live in, the protagonist then discovers some dark secret that makes them realize that their Utopia is in fact a dystopia and somehow they bring about it’s destruction.

The success of the YA dystopian genre can be attributed to it’s target group of 12-24. This is the group that identifies most with the want of rebellion. We emphasize with the lack of control the characters feel in their strict societies and when the protagonist takes the chance to rebel against their oppressors, we are empowered through. The message is sent to us that we, as young adults, can make the change we want in the world. This is especially important because we will be the architects of the future. This holds with the trend of Utopian writing being a warning.

 

Works Cited-

The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Edited by Claeys, Gregory, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

“Merriam-Webster.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystopia.