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Hey, KU students: The science-fiction class we teach in the Spring is open for enrollment. Here's the full information; the "English 590: Studies In" name is confusing, so I wanted to be sure that everyone knows about this class. It uses both of these line numbers, but it's the same class either way:

ENGL 590-1400. 78811, called, "Studies in:." Thursdays 4:00PM-6:40PM, Bailey 202.

HWC 510-1000. 75405, "Science, Technology, & Society." Thusdays 4:00PM-6:40PM, Bailey 202.

Science, Technology, and Society: Examining the Future Through a Science-Fiction Lens

We now offer a new science-fiction course at KU called, "Science, Technology, and Society: Examining the Future Through a Science-Fiction Lens." This University of Kansas course has been offered since 2006 and is available for credit in Humanities and Western Civilization (HWC 510), English undergraduate or graduate credit (ENGL 590). As with our summer SF Institute course, students may, for a donation to the Center, request in advance to take the course not-for-credit through the Center for the Study of Science Fiction on a space-available basis.

Course Outline for Spring 2008

This new course will meet for the entire Spring semester. KU faculty from several disciplines will lead the discussions: Philip Baringer, Mohamed El-Hodiri, James Gunn, and Chris McKitterick.

We meet on Thursdays from 4:00pm – 6:40pm in Bailey Hall, Room 202. See this map of the University of Kansas to find your way to the classroom:

Science and technology offer countless benefits to individuals and to societies, yet they also present new challenges. This course uses science fiction to explore the past, present, and possible future effects of science and technology on society. During the course, we discuss nonfiction articles, science-fiction stories, and sections of SF novels chosen to focus around a variety of themes, and occasionally view related film clips.

Each class period is a mix of lecture and discussion, with two students leading each discussion. Discussants come to class with two or three questions on the day’s topic and readings, plus bring outside readings and observations to share with the class. Each week, students write a one-page paper that examines that week's readings and includes questions to pose to the class as well as some points to stimulate discussion.

Readings are mostly short works of fiction and non-fiction available from the KU Library's e-reserve system. Other requirements include a short paper and an oral presentation. Students enrolled for 3 credit hours also write a 10-15 page research paper as a final project.

Readings: We will read a number of short works available from the KU Library's e-reserve system. For more details, see the syllabus.

Syllabus for Spring 2008

Click here to download the syllabus (not yet updated)

Note that it will undergo some revisions. (version 0.2: October 25, 2007)

Click here to see the promotional poster Feel free to print and share! (Rich Text File or .rtf)


Tuition for the course is based on how many KU credits you take (2 or 3, depending on whether or not you write a final paper). Alternately, if there is room in the classroom space, you may request to take the course not-for-credit.

To take this class through the Center for the Study of Science Fiction (not for credit), we request a donation of $250, payable to CSSF. For credit-seeking students, the cost is what the University charges for three credits tuition; for credit-earning non-residents, be aware that tuition is higher.

If you are a not-for-credit student and require proof of completion of the course, we will provide a certificate upon request. Be sure to contact Chris McKitterick if you wish to enroll in this way; if you wish to enroll for University of Kansas credit, do so in the usual fashion.


University of Kansas map:

Kansas Union map:


Lawrence map (a bus-route map, but very useful):




( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 29th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
D'oh! Still, you do have an excellent Mad Science! program, even without the SF.
Oct. 29th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
Will this count instead of the required 203-211 English slot? Or is this for an English requirement after that?
Oct. 29th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure. Interested students should check with our English undergraduate advisors; in Lawrence: Anna Neill and Amy Lampe, and the academic advisor at the Edwards Campus is Dan Mueller.

Oct. 30th, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)
If it does, I highly recommend it. I took the class the first spring it was offered (in 2000), and it was a fun class. The prof list is somewhat changed, and looks like there is a more sci-fi aspect than when I took it. I got a lot more facts about things I hadn't been paying attention to. For example, GMOs hadn't made the news much then, but 1/3 of the soybeans grown in the US were already GMed.
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
That's cool - who was teaching it then?
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)
Damn I'm Old
Reading this made me realize it was 30 years ago that I discovered that Jim Gunn's English 506 SF class was also offered as a Journalism class as well. Three hours of A in my major!

Someday I hope to have the time to do the whole Institute.
Oct. 30th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
Re: Damn I'm Old
Wow, 30 years? You must have been one of the first ones!

I came here 16 years ago as a student and returned six years ago to work with Jim. Things go around.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )