Fall 2011

Dr. Hamblin

Description of theme:

    This class will examine books and films, representing various time periods, that present imaginary future societies, some ideal (utopias), some horrible (dystopias).  Students will consider whether the respective depictions are overly optimistic or pessimistic, preferable or objectionable, possible or impossible; and, as culminating exercises, they will construct their own visions of a utopia and a dystopia.

Principal course objectives:

    1. To examine the concept and value of liberal education

    2. To explore a wide variety of ideas and values that have had a profound influence on human history and continue to influence lives and decisions in the contemporary world

    3. To introduce students to the goals and objectives of the University Studies program

    4. To develop student skills in locating and gathering information

    5. To develop student skills in critical thinking

    6. To develop student skills in oral and written communication


First Year Seminar for the Students of Southeast Missouri State University (Textbook Rental); Works listed in Course Outline

Course Outline:

Week of:                                    Topic

Aug. 23                   Introduction to University Studies/critical thinking

Aug. 30                   Introduction, continued

Sep. 6                      Some Utopian and Dystopian communities 

Sep. 13                    Thomas More, Utopia (Southeast Bookstore)

Sep. 20                    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (Southeast Bookstore)

Sep. 27                    William Shakespeare, The Tempest (Southeast Bookstore)

Oct. 4                      William Golding, Lord of the Flies (film)

Oct. 11                    Summary and review for Midterm exam

Oct. 13                    Midterm exam

Oct. 18                    Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (Southeast Bookstore)

Oct. 25                    George Orwell, Animal Farm (film)

Nov. 1                     Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Internet site)

Nov. 8                     Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Southeast Bookstore)

Nov. 15                   Francis Bacon, New Atlantis (Internet site)

Nov. 22                   Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (film)

Nov. 29                   Discussion

Dec. 6                     Summary and conclusion

TBA                        Final Examination

Major course requirements:

    Daily class activities (20%)

    Oral presentation (10%)

    Personal essay on Utopia (1500-2000 words) (20%) (Due Oct. 22)

    Personal essay on Dystopia (1500-2000 words) (20%) (Due Dec. 8)

    Midterm examination (10%)

    Final examination (20%)