ENG31940 Global Science Fiction

Academic Year 2023/2024

“Who more sci-fi than us?” asks Junot Díaz’s narrator in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, characterizing the historical experience of Antilleans in the Caribbean as marked by all the tropes of science fiction: from alien invasion, to apocalyptic species extinctions, to radical environmental transformation. The past two decades have seen an explosion of speculative fiction from the Global South, taking up sf film director Alex Rivera’s call for a “science fiction from below” that imagines the future not from the perspective of Los Angeles, London, or Washington, D.C., but rather from Mexico, the Caribbean, India, and Africa. This module will examine contemporary short stories, novels, film and media from speculative fiction writers and artists from postcolonies across the world, including the Caribbean, Africa, and India, as well as Afro-futurist and Latinx writers from the US.

We will draw on critical frameworks including world-literary criticism, postcolonial ecocriticism, and energy humanities in order to explore how these fictions foreground problems of race, class, and gender in relation to the legacies of (neo)colonial domination, uneven development and resource imperialism, and the challenges of planetary environmental crisis as they are experienced across the Global South. We will examine a range of emergent genres such as cli-fi and eco-punk in relation to climate change, and investigate how global speculative fiction often combines or hybridizes aesthetics from different cultural contexts and genres, including magical realism, hard science fiction, the fantastic, and literary realism, in order to construct their counter-hegemonic visions of the future.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

-Deeper understanding of the aesthetics, form, and key tropes of global science fiction
- Increased awareness of environmental crisis and how it is mediated in speculative fiction genres such as cli-fi, eco-dystopia, eco-punk, and post-apocalypse
- Familiarity with world-literary criticism, postcolonial ecocriticism, and energy humanities frameworks
- Attentiveness to the intersection of race, class and gender in forms of oppression
- Ability to critically evaluate texts in conjunction with theory and social context
- Wider exposure to postcolonial and world literature

Indicative Module Content:

Examples of potential authors include Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, Lauren Beukes, Vandana Singh, Paolo Bacigalupi, Tobias Buckell, Junot Díaz, Octavia Butler, and Omar El Akkad.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities

76

Autonomous Student Learning

100

Lectures

0

Seminar (or Webinar)

24

Total

200

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Approaches to learning may include student presentations and group-led discussion, critical writing, peer and group work.

 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Includes a close reading exercise, in-class participation and group work, student presentation questions, and a creative reflection. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No

45

Essay: End of term essay comparing two texts. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No

55


Carry forward of passed components
Yes
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
 
Spring
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32 Tues 15:00 - 16:50