Course: ENGL 2130Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Science Fiction Literature
Semester Approved: Summer 2021
Five-Year Review Semester: Spring 2026
End Semester: Spring 2027
Catalog Description: This course is designed to give students an appreciation of science fiction, a literary genre that is often overlooked by the literary establishment. The course examines the contemporary history of the genre using several representative texts.
General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: TBA
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0
Justification: This course allows students to explore a variety of political, philosophical, and social viewpoints reflected in science fiction literature. Because science fiction is very reflective of the time in which it was created, the course enables students to see historical developments through the lens of this fiction. Finally, the class enables students to appreciate the aesthetic value of science fiction.The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: languages, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.
General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum has a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world. Students will learn about culture and the physical world by reading and discussion science fiction literature.
Students will demonstrate their ability to create arguments (i.e., make extrapolations) based on their reading on exams, writing assignments, and in class discussion.
2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read and research effectively within disciplines. Students will read texts closely. They will demonstrate their careful reading of literature through class discussions, quizzes, and written assignments.
3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can draw from multiple disciplines to address complex problems. Students will make connections between science fiction readings and various areas of the physical and life sciences. Connections will also be made with social sciences.
They will demonstrate these connections through class discussions, quizzes, and written assignments.
4: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively. Students will be able to confront issues in their reading, often difficult issues, and struggle to make sense of these issues. Students will demonstrate their ability to think critically about philosophical, social, and moral issues on exams, writing assignments, and in class discussion.
5: A student who completes the GE curriculum can communicate effectively through writing and speaking. Students will write clearly about the genre of science fiction and literature. They will learn how to find credible sources and format them according to MLA conventions. Their learning will be demonstrated through written assignments.
General Education Knowledge Area Outcomes:
1: Students will be able to discuss core questions about the genre of science fiction. Students will demonstrate their insights through class discussion, journaling, and quizzes/exams. Students will be able to discuss core questions about the genre of science fiction. Students will demonstrate their insights through class discussion, journaling, and quizzes/exams.
2: Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy. Students will be able to read texts closely to examine how the language, time period, political messages, etc. affect how we understand a text in the present. Students will demonstrate their ability to analyze through class discussions, journaling, and quizzes/exams.
3: Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present. Students will deepen their understanding of how a text represents a cultural and historical moment in time, even though we might read it and enjoy it in the present. Students will use several texts as a basis for analysis. Students will demonstrate their close readings skills through class discussions, journaling, quizzes/exams, and papers.
4: Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities’ perspective. Studentts will be able to closely read a variety of texts from different time periods and written by diverse authors. They will use these texts as the basis for their analysis. Students will demonstrate their close reading through class discussion, journaling, quizzes/exams, and papers.
5: Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments. Students will write both to respond to and create arguments. They will write about course readings and class discussions, and they will demonstrate these skills through journaling, critical thinking questions on quizzes, and on several papers throughout the semester. They will also demonstrate writing skills by responding to instructor feedback while revising.
Centering on close reading of literary works and class discussion, ENGL 2130 will focus on key authors and texts in the science fiction canon. While the works may change each semester, their historical/philosophical/aesthetic importance will not. Through reading and discussing these texts, students will explore important questions such as how literature both reflects and shapes cultural currents, what it means to be human in a technological age, how technology is changing our understanding of the world, etc. Science fiction also allows for the discussion of current issues such as class, race, and gender.
Key Performance Indicators:
Student learning outcomes will be assessed by two or more of the following key performance indicators:
reading response papers 10 to 30%
class discussions/participation 5 to 25%
journaling 5 to 10%
literature papers 10 to 40%
quizzes/exams 10 to 20%
Representative Text and/or Supplies:
H. G. Wells, The Time Machine
George Orwell, 1984
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland
Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game
John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
There are a range of pedagogical concerns for this class. Course concent will be delivered through short lectures, class discussions, journaling, and writing assignments to ensure an engaged and interactive classroom. Some form of accountability for reading will be established: reading quizzes, discussion boards, bell work, etc. The course will build to a signature assignment that will allow students to demonstrate their learning related to the HU GE outcomes. Exams can have some focus on recall and content but should also be opportunities for critical thinking and synthesis of concepts across literary texts.
The course content will include authors and perspectives representing a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, reflecting the value of diversity. The professor functions as a guide, asking students to engage with the literature and historical moments as they move from initial impressions to informed analysis, close reading, interpretation, and critical thinking.
Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 25