• Genre in Film and Literature – Science Fiction—Encountering The Other

    131T 001 | CCN: 31441

    Science Fiction—Encountering The Other

    Instructor: Michael Dalebout

    Location: Wheeler 20

    Date / Time: Tu/Th 5:00pm - 6:29pm

    4 Units

    “If you deny any affinity with another person or kind of person, if you declare it to be wholly different from yourself—as men have done to women, and class has done to class, and nation has done to nation—you may hate it, or deify it; but in either case you have denied its spiritual equality, and its human reality. You have made it into a thing, to which the only possible relationship is a power relationship. And thus you have fatally impoverished your own reality. You have, in fact, alienated yourself.”

    —Ursula K. Le Guin, “American SF and The Other” (1975)

    This class examines encounters with The Other in the Science Fiction genre. Ursula K. Le Guin, writing in 1975, questions how Science Fiction reifies, but also has the potential to dismantle, boundaries between The Self and The Other. Le Guin writes that The Other “can be different from you in its sex; or in its annual income; or in its way of speaking and dressing and doing things; or in the color of its skin, or the number of its legs and heads. In other words, there is the sexual Alien, and the social Alien, and the cultural Alien, and finally the racial Alien.” Tracing how Science Fiction film, television, short stories and novels negotiate encounters with The Other, we will see how the genre adapts and evolves in order to respond to historical anxieties and fears. And, we will evaluate how some Science Fiction seeks to break down sociocultural and political discourses that contribute to othering and alienation.