Course Themes

I hope to revisit a number of themes throughout the class.  Each theme is a question or idea that is dealt with across the whole range of utopian and dystopian literature. They include, but are not limited to, the themes listed below:

Governance: What is the ideal form of government?

Human Rights: What is the ideal relationship between the individual and society?

Economics and Work: How should labor be managed and wealth distributed?

Science and Technology: What role should science play in the ideal society?

Ecology: What is the best relationship between humanity and the natural world?

The Relationship between the Sexes: How should men and women relate to each other? How are gender and sexuality constructed and regulated?

The Family and Reproduction: Who is responsible for producing children? What role does the family play in the ideal society?

Education: How is knowledge to be passed on? Who gets what sort of education. How is the level to which an individual be educated determined?

Health and Wellness: Who is responsible for keeping people healthy? What approach is taken to health care? How much importance is assigned to health?

Ethics: What codes of conduct, beyond formal law (which should be considered part of governance), should people abide by? How is this code promoted and enforced?

Religion: What role does religion play in the ideal society? How should beliefs about “the soul” and “the afterlife” be produced and regulated? What rituals should be associated with such beliefs?