Seminar: ALS 199:
Is a Better World Possible? Utopian Thinking in Reality & Fiction
Oregon State University, U-Engage

The class will analyze examples from history, political theory, literature, film and television to investigate different ideas about creating a better or even perfect world.

The search for the ideal state has occupied political philosophy since antiquity. From Plato's Atlantis story through More's utopia and beyond, philosophers, writers and filmmakers have pondered how to create a perfect state with perfect citizens which will stand the test of time. Each week will combine theoretical reflections from antiquity through post-modernity with a selection of examples from more or less contemporary fiction that will ideally already be known to the audience.

We will be looking at Plato's Atlantis story, Thomas More's Utopia, Thoreau's Walden, JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, and other examples.

Seminar Information:

Seminar Teaching History:

  • OSU, Fall 2018

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