Science Fiction and Society

Soc. 49, Fall 2016

Science Fiction and Society
Soc. 49 TAP, Fall 2016

“What social science is properly about is the human variety, which consists of all the social worlds in which men have lived, are living, and MIGHT live.”— C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (1959)

“I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say.” — Rod Serling, ca.1960

Science fiction is often about imagining alternative social possibilities as well as technological ones. This course will explore science fiction stories as ways of exploring core sociological questions: Does our society have to be the way it is? How does social life work? What would happen if relations between rich and poor, males and females, or ethnic groups were dramatically changed? What happens when societies modernize? Is modernization a good thing? Why do societies sometimes change and sometimes stay the same? What is the relation between self and society? What should it be?