Course Number

ENG 285

Syllabus Date

Spring 2023

Faculty Member

Justin ShawFollow

Department course is offered by

ENG - English

Course description

What is utopia and whom does it serve? Are utopias in real life and fiction accessible to all? Utopia has been understood as a fantasy or ideal beyond the reach of place and time, thus free from the weight of reality. Perhaps the word conjures images of freedom and safety, harmony and abundance. But in these notions of a Promised Land rich with “milk and honey”, who and what gets displaced, disciplined, or destroyed in the pursuit of such a promise? This advanced seminar explores the possibilities and parameters of utopia as represented in early British literature and the broader Atlantic world. We will discuss texts by well and lesser-known writers in the British literary tradition, including writers of prose, drama, poetry, religion, science, and travel. Shaping our discussions and essays will be historical contexts and contemporary scholarship in critical race, gender, disability, and queer studies. Class discussions will be complemented by excursions to the archives at Clark and in the area, such as the American Antiquarian Society, Boston Public Library, and the Worcester Art Museum. Course is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

Document Type