Monday, February 08, 2010

English 549 aka Engl 549, Dystopia, Dystopia! From the Erotic Electric to the Anarchy of Technologies on the Verge | Spring 2010 | W. Nericcio


Here you see before your eyes, and, if you choose to print me out, in your hands, your long-awaited syllabus for our English 549 Dystopia! Dystopia class at SDSU, Spring 2010.

Engl 549: Dystopia, Dystopia! An Online Syllabus and More...
From the Erotic Electric to the Anarchy of Technologies on the Verge
Spring 2010 | W. Nericcio

Thursday, January 21, 2010
The first day of class wherein we discuss the various and sundry elements that go into a study of dystopias and utopias; a friendly period filled with greetings and exchanges and culminating with some quality time spent with the Oxford English Dictionary {SDSU Love Library online access to the OED? Right here!}

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Read to page 85 of Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD--to the end of Chapter 5. As you read, consider the differences between reading Huxley's opus as a Dystopia versus an Utopia

Thursday, January 28, 2010
Continue reading Huxley's novel--to page 145.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Finish Huxley's novel--compare the cultural dynamics of the "World State" with that to be found in the "badlands" of Malpais. In class, think through the figure of blackness and how it figures metaphorically in this dystopic classic.

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Class cancelled; if you have not, use this time to finish your reading of Huxley's novel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Read to the end of page 104 in George Orwell's 1984--to the end of the first part of the novel; in class we will begin to screen Terry Gilliam's dystopic classic, BRAZIL (1985; director's cut; 142 minutes). Allow a simultaneous cross-pollenization to occur: let Orwell's prose contaminate your cinematic experience; at the same time, allow Gilliam's singular, baroque nightmare to confuse the synaptic processing of Orwell's odyssey.

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Continue your exploration of Orwell's novel--read to page 147, the end of section IV, Part TWO of the novel. We will focus on the novel today, though we may screen 30 or so minutes of Gilliam's film.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Imagination Challenge ONE prompts, NOW AVAILABLE! Read to page 260, the end of section II of part THREE of the novel. We will likely spend much of today finishing BRAZIL. Here's a key scene from the movie:

Thursday, February 18, 2010
Walk into our seminar having finished Orwell's meditation on the future. The bulk of our discussion today will be on 1984, though Gilliam fanatics can break in as well with findings, suggestions, questions and ideas. Gilliam's BRAZIL is NOT a filmed version of 1984 but it may well be the best cinematic exploration of ideas woven through Orwell's landmark piece of fiction.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Read to page 118, the end of chapter 6, in Marge Percy's WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME; how do Percy's visions jive/clash with those we've already sampled with Huxley, Gilliam, and Orwell.

Thursday, February 25, 2010
Continue reading WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME--to page 183, the end of Chapter 9.

Friday, February 26, 2010
Your first essay is DUE, at NOON--Arts and Letters 273.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Our exploration of Percy's dystopia continues--read to p. 295, the end of chapter 15.

Thursday, March 4, 2010
Finish WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME; in-class essay a distinct possibility.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Read to page 153 in Philip K. Dick's outrageous novel, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP--Ridley Scott used Dick's novel as the basis for BLADERUNNER and while that's important for us to know, the emphasis in class will be on Dick's amazing novel.

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Finish Dick's novel for our class discussion. Dick's twisted vision, a blend of pulp fiction with the tropes of dystopia are quite striking--in class we will want to begin to dissect the inner rhythms of dystopic fiction.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
From Dick's Sheep we move to JG Ballards' outrageous symphony/cacophony on catastrophe, industrialism, and sexuality: CRASH--read to page 131, the end of chapter 13, in Ballard's novel. WARNING: Ballard's novel is bound to leave some of you outraged--if you are in need of a substitute reading, do let me know asap! My email is or | double warning--clicking the image to your right will take you to a decidedly NSFW (possibly, not safe for life) site!

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Read to the end of page 181, the end of chapter 19 in Ballard's CRASH.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Finish Ballard's CRASH for today's class.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Spring Break

Thursday, April 1, 2010
Spring Break

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Over the holiday, you have taken TEX{T}-MEX with you to get ahead (!!!!)--maybe! Today, it pays off as you enter the room having read the introduction (p.15-30) and the TOUCH OF EVIL CHAPTER (p.39-80). In class, we will screen a section of Orson Welles' TOUCH OF EVIL from 1958; here's a classic interrogation scene from the film:

also note that today, April 8, 2010, you will receive your prompts for your Imagination Challenge #2 Essay Extravaganza. Your prize essays will be due on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 12 noon at my office, Arts and Letters 273.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Continue your reading in TEX{T}-MEX; a bit lighter reading this time, as you are asked to consume the two intersticial chapters, Seductive Hallucination Galleries 1 and 2, p.31 and p.173. In class, we will continue our screening of TOUCH OF EVIL.

Thursday, April 15, 2010
Today we will finish our discussion of TOUCH OF EVIL--recommended reading? The Speedy Gonzales chapter of TEX{T}-MEX, p.111; how do hallucinations of Mexican subjectivity de-stabalize our own cultural anthropological efforts at figuring/figuring out the dystopic contours of the US/MEXICAN border?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
In class, we will add to our own dystopifying efforts to figure out frontiers/borderlands/policeSTATES by screening the first part of Alfonso Cuarón's CHILDREN OF MEN. OPTIONAL resource reading: Read the chapter on graphic narrative and Frida Kahlo in TEX{T}-MEX, p.191

Thursday, April 22, 2010
Continue screening CHILDREN OF MEN

change-->MONDAY, April 26, 2010
Your prize essays will be due today by 12 noon at my office in Arts and Letters, room 273.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Start your reading of Salvador Plasencia's PEOPLE OF PAPER; however, the bulk of the class will be given over to our discussion of Cuarón's CHILDREN OF MEN

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brace for a dystopia that moves to the beat of a different drummer--read to page 97, the end of part one of THE PEOPLE OF PAPER by Salvador Plascencia.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Read to page 157 in Plascencia's eclectic micro-epic. Keep a running list of the stylistic effects/tricks he weaves into this stunning first novel.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Final in-class challenge/exercise...

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