Intensive English Institute on
Become fluent in SF by becoming familiar with some of the most-influential works
that shaped the genre. Since 1975.
The University of Kansas continues its role as the leader in science fiction education. I can do no greater service to teachers than to repeat the advice that I gave in Anatomy of Wonder 4: you should attend one of the Intensive English Institutes on the Teaching of Science Fiction offered at the University of Kansas each summer.
For 2014, the Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction is scheduled for June 16–27. The Campbell Conference runs June 13–15, and students are expected to attend at least the Saturday and Sunday events of the Conference - and starting last year, we offer free basic Conference membership to all CSSF summer-program attendees; note that you are a student in your registration form. You are invited to attend the Awards Ceremony on Friday, but you must still register and pay for the meal if you wish to eat. The Campbell Conference plans to bring the winners of the Campbell and Sturgeon Awards to the campus as guests, as well as other special guests.
We usually meet in one of the scholarship hall rooms where the SF Workshop meets - KU Housing assigns space late in the Spring.
The Institute is also available as a full-semester course, alternating with the prior summer's SF Institute topic, which also alternates each year. So for 2014, the Summer-semester SF Institute is the novel and the 2014 Fall-semester Literature of SF course is the short story.
This year's offering of the Intensive English Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction begins June 16 and concludes on June 27, for 12 consecutive days. Students are expected to attend at least the Saturday and Sunday events of the Campbell Conference (June 13–15) before classroom discussion begins, and also encouraged to attend the Thursday and Friday events (June 13-14). The subjects for discussion in the Institutes alternate each year between the stories in the first four volumes of James Gunn's six-volume historical anthology, The Road to Science Fiction, and a list of 25 novels.
The purpose of the Institute is to provide an understanding of contemporary and future science fiction through studying the history of SF. We read a diversity of great SF and discuss how the genre got to be what it is today by comparing stories and their place in the evolution of SF, from the earliest prototypical examples through recent work. Permission from Chris McKitterick must be obtained at least a month before the first session so that reading can be completed before the class begins.
As in the past, CSSF Director Chris McKitterick leads the course. Founding Director James Gunn - one of the pioneer teachers of science fiction - might join the discussions on occasion, but to be sure to have time to talk with Gunn, join us at Mrs. E's for lunch (noon-12:50pm most days).
This summer, so as not to compete with other summer English courses - which are almost all scheduled for the morning hours - Institute sessions will begin promptly at 1:00pm and normally end by 4:00pm, though sometimes discussions might run a bit longer. Class likely meets in a lounge in Krehbiel Scholarship Hall, 1301 Ohio St. Classes meet on both Saturday and Sunday between the first and second weeks, and students are strongly encouraged to attend the Campbell Conference weekend beforehand, as well.
Housing and meals, if desired, can be arranged separately. Information on housing and a form to indicate interest in the Institute or Workshop can be found below.
Be sure to complete the reading for the course before the course begins; students who fail to do so quickly fall behind, and everyone is expected to participate in the discussions. There are no exams, but students write short (one page or less) responses to each day's set of readings - in advance of the day's session - and a final project. We will have a Blackboard interface available for uploading papers in early June for those who wish to get started early.
Your grade (if taking the class for credit) is based on attendance, participation, response papers, and a final paper due the week after the course ends. This paper may be one of the following:
Permission to enroll must be obtained from Chris McKitterick well before the course begins (at least one month) so you have time to read the course materials in advance.
2014 Institute Syllabus
For the 2014 summer program, we will study and discuss the novels from the Reading List below. This list might shift a bit, but will be firm by April.For more details on how the course operates, see this year's syllabus here.
Novels Reading List (Summer 2014 and Fall 2016)Here is this year's reading order:
Some of these volumes might be difficult to find, so we urge you seek copies early and, when books are out of print, search used bookstores and online services (we provide links to two major online booksellers after each title, above). The University of Kansas Jayhawk Ink bookstore tries to always have copies of these books on hand. Address:
Here is the full list of this year's novels. NOTE: This list has been updated over the years to reflect recent important works that helped shape the genre.
Here are the books that have been removed since 2008 - they are still important and recommended works for understanding the history of the SF novel, but we only have so much time to discuss everything:
The Center holds a few copies of many of these books, so if you are local to Lawrence or are in town for our other summer programs, check with us to see if we can lend you a copy. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and our library is supplied by previous students donating copies after completing their course.
This year, sessions will be held in a lobby in Rieger Scholarship Hall at 1323 Ohio Street, a brand new residence located near the Kansas Student Union, Oread Hotel, and downtown. Classes meet every day of the period including Saturday and Sunday. Institute sessions begin at 1:00pm and normally end around 4:00pm. Students often gather for lunch beforehand (usually in the Student Union, just up the hill), and for dinner, movies, and further discussions in the evening.
You can find the SF Novels syllabus here.
Short-Fiction Reading List (Fall 2014 and Summer 2015)
In Fall 2014 and Summer 2015, we'll read and discuss the first four (of six) volumes of The Road to Science Fiction anthology, edited by James Gunn:
Full details about which stories we'll be reading and discussing on each day is available in the syllabus here. For further reading, Gunn has also edited two more volumes (recommended, but not required):
The Institute offers three hours of KU undergraduate credit as English 506 "Science Fiction" or for KU graduate credit as English 790 "Studies in a Genre."
The course may also be taken not-for-credit, but you must first get permission from
Enrollment Information and Request Form
A new online-registration form is available online. Everyone - including those taking the course for credit or not-for-credit - must fill out this form by the dates listed above.
If you are not a current KU student but wish to take the course for graduate credit, you need to apply as a non-degree-seeking graduate student. Fill out this KU application form and supply a copy of an official transcript showing proof of an undergraduate degree. On the application form is an area for comments/notes. Indicate that you wish to enroll only for the summer SF Teaching Institute (ENGL 790). You must enroll using the KU online enrollment system, and you need a permission code from Chris McKitterick (firstname.lastname@example.org) sometime during April. You can officially enroll for graduate credit after you have the code, but be sure to enroll by June 1 or KU will charge a late-enrollment fee. If you have any questions about the application or enrollment process, please contact Lydia Ash (email@example.com).
Contact us for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay.
For credit-earning students, cost is the University of Kansas tuition for 3 credits as English 506 "Science Fiction" (undergraduate) or English 790 "Studies in a Genre" (graduate). Non-residents should expect to pay more for KU credit.
To take this course through the Center for the Study of Science Fiction (not for credit), the cost is $250. If required for a non-credit student, we can provide a certificate of completion for the course.
Please complete your registration and make all payments before you arrive.
Dorm and meal costs rise the longer you stay, of course, so plan appropriately. Meals vary in cost depending on where you eat.
If you want to reserve a spot for next year's Institute, please complete the online-registration form and send a check made out to the University of Kansas in the spring. We require that not-for-credit students send their reservation and check by May 20, or we might not be able to reserve a position in the course. Earlier registration is better, as the course often fills.
Housing for the Institute
Our official dorm housing for out-of-town attendees is Rieger Scholarship Hall at 1323 Ohio Street, a brand-new residence located near the Kansas Student Union, Oread Hotel, and downtown. Rooms share a bathroom (about one with 3 stalls and showers/bath per 6 rooms), and have a sink and counter space for a microwave or other small kitchen equipment. Other building amenities include a lovely wraparound porch with seating (including a chair-swing or two), basketball court, pool table, and many private study areas. Be sure to let Lydia Ash know if you have special needs.
Dormitory rooms are available at the following rates:
If you wish to stay in a dorm, you must make dorm reservations by May 24. Please pay for your room in advance once you hear from Lydia Ash about this year's final rate. Check-out is at noon.
Use the new online-registration form to reserve a dorm room.
Check out VisitLawrence.com for local hotel information.
Meals are available in a variety of places, including the Kansas Union
and a myriad of local restaurants. Check out
Lawrence.com for a list of just a
few of the local eating establishments. More logistical information is available
Transportation from Airport to Lawrence
Many transport services offer rides between the Kansas City International (MCI - the "M" is for "Mid-Continent") airport and Lawrence, including:
Here's a map showing where KU is located in Eastern Kansas:
Kansas Union map (in .pdf format).
Google Maps centered on the KU Kansas Union.
Lawrence in the Summer
For anyone who hasn't visited, Lawrence is wonderful, a lively small city in the Kaw River valley, filled with art, events and activities. The location of the University of Kansas, Lawrence is situated about 40 miles from Kansas City and 20 miles from Topeka. Summers can be hot, but classrooms and housing are air-conditioned.
Among its many amenities, the University of Kansas has a large science-fiction collection and good reference collections; museums of natural history and art; and sports, theater, and concerts. Lawrence has many excellent restaurants and shopping and recreational opportunities. Kansas City is less than an hour away. Nighttime opportunities include movies, dinner, concerts, and star-gazing sessions.
The nearest major airport is Kansas City International, about 55 miles from
Lawrence. Transportation to Lawrence from Kansas City International can be
arranged through one of several airport shuttle services. By car, Lawrence is at
the intersection of U.S. 59 and
Contact us for any logistical help you
might need in getting settled for your stay:
CSSF@ku.edu, Lydia Ash (firstname.lastname@example.org), Chris McKitterick (email@example.com), or James Gunn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A Basic SF Library |
About Gunn |
Educational Program |
Films and Online Videos |
SF News |
SF Youth Program|
CSSF Awards | Campbell Conference | James Gunn Essays | SF Hall of Fame | CSSF Blog | Resources | Donate