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Master of Liberal Studies
Graduate Seminar, Spring 2020
Monday, 7:00 - 9:50 p.m.
January 20, 2020 – April 27, 2020
MLS 552 Life as We Don’t Know It: The Science of Science Fiction
“It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it!” An interdisciplinary seminar exploring classic and contemporary texts of science fiction from the perspectives of a scholar of literature and a trained ecologist. We will investigate the science behind some of the classic tropes of the genre including alien life, artificial intelligence, the ecology of other worlds, and the political logic of dystopia. How do science fiction stories and films help us imagine the future—and perhaps as importantly, better understand the world in which we now live? Materials will include classic science fiction texts by Frank Herbert, Stanislaw Lem, Ursula K. LeGuin, N.K. Jemisin, and others, as well as films such as Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Alex Garland’s Annihilation.