SCIENCE FICTION AND THE CLASSICS

Professor: Dr. Jennifer A. Rea

Office: Dauer Hall 142

E-mail: jrea@ufl.edu

Office Hours: Wednesdays 1-3 pm and by appt.

Teaching Assistants: Seth Boutin (sethbout@ufl.edu, 5th period M/W) and Bryan Sansbury (bsansbury1@ufl.edu, M/W 1:45-2:30). 

TA Office Location: Bryant Hall 301 

Course Goals and Objectives:  To explore the influence of classical texts on modern science fiction. Students can expect to learn more about  the common ground between the Greek and Roman literature which tells us about the ancients' hopes and fears for the future and the social commentary science fiction offers to a modern society today.

Grading and Exam Format: Your grade will be based on three equally weighed exams. The exam format will be multiple choice and short answer.  

Microthemes: Twice during the course of the semester, you will have the opportunity to write a microtheme on a subject related to our class discussion.  You must be present in class to participate and hand in your essay at the end of the class period. Each microtheme you write will have the ability to raise your final grade one full point. Opportunities for writing microthemes will be assigned to you based on the letters of the alphabet I have chosen for the evening; I will select random letters of the alphabet each week and if the first letter of your last name corresponds to one of the letters of the alphabet, then you may write an essay if you choose.

Required Texts: I have asked the UF Bookstore to order the following texts:  A Canticle For Leibowitz (ISBN # 0-06-089229-4); Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (ISBN# 0-345-40447-5) and Hunted (ISBN# 0-380-80209-0)

Grading Scale (Grading will be traditional, i.e., only excellent work will recieve a grade of A, etc.)

A = 100-93; A- = 92-90; B+  = 89-88; B = 87-83; B- = 82-80;  C+ = 79-78;  C = 77-73; C- = 72-70; D+ = 69-68; D =  67-63; D- = 62-60; E (below 60) 

N.B. UF does not consider C- to be a passing grade. 

Make up Exams: Make up exams are given only for excused absences, such as required student participation in a  university-sponsored event (you must submit official documentation to the professor from the appropriate faculty or staff member before the event); religious holidays (notify the professor within the first two weeks of class); medical emergencies (with documentation from a health care provider); family emergencies (with valid written documentation).  Regarding medical and family emergencies, it is your responsibility to notify me as soon as possible that you will need a make up exam.  Students with a valid excuse have one week after a missed exam (or one week after recovering from an illness) to take the make up exam. 

This course is in compliance with all UF policies regarding special needs and academic honesty. For details, see http://www.dso.ufl.edu/drc/ (special needs); http://www.dso.ufl.edu/studentguide/studentrights.php (academic honesty).

COURSE SYLLABUS

UNIT ONE:

August 24rd “What is Science Fiction?”

Course Introduction

Apollodorus (Library and Epitome), Daedalus (E. 1.12–13) and Hephaestus (1.9.26)    

Viewing: Star Trek “Bread and Circuses”

August 31st  "A Sense of Wonder"

Readings: ; Homer’s Odyssey (selection) and Lucian, A True Story (selections). As you read these  excerpts consider the following: How do both authors  convey a  sense that they are far from home?  What  do you learn about Greek culture and society from reading these works?  See also this reading  guide for the Odyssey.  

Viewing: 2001: A Space Odyssey (selections)

September 7th "The Golden Age"

Reading: Vergil’s Aeneid (6.791–7; 8.1–369), Hesiod (WD 109–201) and Eclogue 4. Here is the reading guide for Hesiod and Vergil.

Viewing: Star Trek: "Idiocracy"

September 14th  "Technology and Society, Part I"

Reading: A Canticle for Leibowitz, Part I (Chapters 1-14) Click here for the reading guide for parts I and II.

Viewing: Star Trek: "This Side of Paradise"

September 21st "Technology and Society, Part II"

Reading: A Canticle for Leibowitz, Part I I  (Chapters 15-end)

Viewing: "The Book of Eli" (excerpts)

September 28th  "You Can't Stop the Signal/Signum"

Viewing: Serenity

October 5th

Exam I

UNIT TWO:

October 12th

Reading: Plato’s Republic (summary and selections: justice, education, and women) Reading Guide for Plato

Viewing: Star Trek "Plato's Stepchildren"

Dr. Ginway's Powerpoint

October 19th

Reading: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  Reading Guide for Androids

Viewing: Star Trek: TNG "The Masterpiece Society"

The Personal Identity Game

October 26th

Reading: Plato and the Soul

Guest Lecture by Dr. Julian Chambliss of Rollins College. Dr. Chambliss's powerpoint

Viewing: Bladerunner

November 2 

Reading: Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Viewing: The Matrix

November 9th

Exam II

UNIT THREE

November 16th

Reading: Thucydides (The Melian Dialogue) Here is some background information and a reading guide for the Melian Dialogue. 

November 23rd

Reading: James Alan Gardner’s Hunted 

Some points to consider about this week's lecture and Hunted

Review for Hunted

November 30th

Viewing:  Star Trek: Insurrection

December 7th

Course Conclusion & Exam III