Fantasy. It is an exercise in speculation and magic, an exploration of our human mythology and our most otherworldly desires. The genre of fantasy has persisted and evolved through the centuries, from older poems and transcribed tales to contemporary literature and film. So what are fantasies made of, and why do we make them? In this course, we will pay close attention to the ways in which fantasy challenges our understanding of genre, technique, and the purpose of art, as well as the ways in which gender, race, and other “merely cultural” concerns are, in fact, foundational to the constitution of the genre. With a focus on High Fantasy, Afrofuturism, fairy tales, and transformation myths, we’ll aim to think about how fantasy can re-shape and blur the lines between what we consider real and what we believe to be imaginary.
As part of the University’s R&C requirement, this course aims to give you conceptual tools to refine your critical reading and writing skills. Together, we will work to understand how arguments are made and how we can insert ourselves into the conversation: how to ask questions about the texts we read and the things we do; how to think about meaningful details; how to craft an arguable thesis; and how to support those claims through close reading, research, and revision. Most importantly, you will learn to actively engage primary and secondary sources and organize your thoughts into structured, persuasive, and elegantly composed texts. By the semester’s end, these skills will provide a foundation for your continued growth as critical writers, readers, and thinkers.
Prospective Reading List: "It's the Fault of the Tlaxcaltecas,” “About 5,750 Words,” Year of the Griffin, "Keeping it Sur(Real): Dreams of the Marvelous,” "The Comet,” "The End of White Supremacy,” Kindred, Sorry to Bother You, "Odysseus’ Scar,” Spirited Away, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Metamorphoses, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches