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Anyway, I don’t see women’s lib as necessarily hitched to some wagon of general social improvement . . . you have to pull, except in the general sense that getting rid of social oppression of all groups is necessary to any sort of better world. But if you contemplate a revolutionary movement, it becomes a dismal thing if it is not somehow tied to utopian dreams broader than itself. I confess, I contemplate with some apathy a world in which the greed and power have simply gone coed. I mean, bully for you, cheers and all that . . . but . . . (Joanna Russ Papers, Coll 261, SCUA, James Tiptree, Jr. to Joanna Russ, 16 September 1973)

In the words of author and linguist Suzette Haden Elgin, “SF is the only genre of literature in which it’s possible for a writer to explore the question of what this world would be like if you could get rid of [X], where [X] is filled in with any of the multitude of real world facts that constrain and oppress women.” By and large barred from the physical sciences, science fiction has also provided a space for feminist writers to explore relationships with science, technology, and identity, unfettered by the sexist constraints of professions or institutions and outside the generic conventions of other types of fiction.

In this course, we will be looking at feminist science fiction as a form of theory, as a strategy for thinking critically about the present and imagining “what this world would be like” under different circumstances.

This course provides a unique opportunity for students to do the following:

• Explore the genre of feminist science fiction through engagements with key texts;
• Learn how to conduct archival research, through work in the UO Libraries’ significant holdings in the
area of feminist science fiction;
• Explore online fandom, expanding our understanding of archives to online domains and activities;
• Learn how to write up their research for various audiences;
• Become Wikipedia editors;
• Discuss their research with a broader community of scholars, writers, and artists.


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