Courses / Modules / ENGL3098 Utopias and Dystopias in Literature and Culture

Utopias and Dystopias in Literature and Culture

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Stephen Morton
Academic year

Module overview

From Plato’s Republic and Thomas More’s Utopia to Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, utopias have always been haunted by the spectre of the dystopian. If utopias imagine alternative ways of organizing society, dystopia uses the conventions of utopia to ask questions about the limits of such utopian ideals. This module invites you to consider the wider cultural, spatial, historical, philosophical, and ecological implications of the utopian and the dystopian in a range of literary and cultural texts. The module begins with work that raises questions about the longer history of utopia in literature and culture. You will then work with cultural texts and debates that explore the relationship between dystopia and totalitarianism, disaster capitalism, and global catastrophe. Across the module, you will explore utopian and dystopian narratives from Africa, Britain, North America, and other parts of the world, and you will consider the importance of utopia and dystopia to debates about modernity, gender, identity, capitalism, imperialism, climate change, reproductive rights, terrorism, and state violence.