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

Information Map
Course Outline
Syllabus
Costs
Maps
The City of Lawrence, Kansas


We have offered "Science, Technology, and Society: Examining the Future Through a Science-Fiction Lens" since 2005, and it is available for English credit (ENGL 507 for undergrads, or ENGL 690 or 790 for grad students) or Humanities credit (HWC 510, usually for Honors). As with our other courses, 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

This course meets for the entire Spring semester. KU faculty from several disciplines will lead the discussions, including Philip Baringer and Chris McKitterick. We will meet once again on Thursdays this year. If you are a student, you can find the syllabus via Blackboard; if you are not a student but would like to see the course design, click here to view a version of the syllabus. See this map of the University of Kansas to find your way to the classroom. (Note: .pdf file.)

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 or more students leading each discussion. Discussants come to class with a few questions on the days topic and readings, plus bring outside readings and observations to share with the class (preferably sharing them with everyone in advance). 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, though we also read a few longer works. Other projects include weekly reports, a mid-term paper, a final research or creative project, and an oral presentation.

Additional readings: Here are some other links that provide more background for our topics:

For more details, see the syllabus and other information on Blackboard.

Syllabus

If you are a student, you can find the syllabus via Blackboard; if you are not a student but would like to see the course design, click here to view a version of the syllabus. Note that the student version differs from this one, but we feel sharing it here might help other educators in developing similar courses.

Costs

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. 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.

If you are a not-for-credit student and require proof of completion of the course, we can 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.

Maps

University of Kansas map:
http://www.ku.edu/~parking/ParkingMap.pdf

Kansas Union map:
http://www.union.ku.edu/kansasuniondirect.pdf 

Lawrence map (a bus-route map, but very useful):
http://www.lawrencetransit.org/maps/ltspage2.pdf 

The City of Lawrence, Kansas

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, shopping, and recreational opportunities. Kansas City is less than an hour away. Nighttime opportunities include movies, dinner, concerts, and more.

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 I-70 (Kansas Turnpike). The west interchange is closer to the campus. Lawrence can also be reached by Kansas Highway 10.

Find out all about Lawrence - its history, stores, museums, observatories, and SFnal activities - here.

Contact us for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay:
        Chris McKitterick (cmckit@ku.edu) or James Gunn (jgunn@ku.edu).

updated 11/14/2014

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