Edwin Daniel Jacob



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Edwin Daniel Jacob

danjacob@rutgers.edu

Department of Political Science

790:316:02

Politics, Literature, and the Arts: Utopias and Dystopias

Fall 2016

Tuesdays 5:35-8:35, Hickman Hall 132

Office Hours: Tuesdays 4pm-5pm, Hickman Hall 305


Politics, Literature, and the Arts

Utopias and Dystopias


This course will assess how utopian and dystopian societies have philosophically and artistically developed from Plato to The Matrix. We will ground our investigations in political theory and history, and use films, music, and literature to augment our understandings of the social, economic, and political makeups of utopias and dystopias. Particular attention will be paid to linking the various thematic elements involved to judge how contemporary society functions in accord, especially in light of political traditions including anarchism, socialism, fascism, etc. Grading will be based on facilitating one discussion meeting with a peer, two examinations (one in-class, one take home), and active class participation.
Required readings

Francis Bacon, A New Atlantis (1624)

Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1887)

Stephen Eric Bronner, Ideas in Action

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (1930)

Erich Fromm, Marx’s Concept of Man

Isaac Kramnick (ed.), The Portable Enlightenment Reader

Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (1955)

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)

Thomas More, Utopia (1516)

Plato, The Republic (380BCE)

George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

Carl Schmitt, Political Theology

Yevgeny Zamyatin, We (1924)


Film, Television, and Music

Battlestar Galactica (Ronald D. Moore, 2004-2009)

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)

A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1972)

Equilibrium (Kurt Wimmer, 2002)

Gattacta (Andre Niccol, 1997)

Lifehouse Chronicles (Pete Townshend, 2000)

Lost (J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, and Damon Lindelof, 2004-2010)

The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

The Prisoner (Patrick McGoohan, 1967-1978)

Sleeper (Woody Allen, 1973)

Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2013)

Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry, 1966-1969)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Nicholas Meyer, 1991)

The Trial (Orson Welles, 1963)

V for Vendetta (James McTeigue, 2006)

Year Zero (Nine Inch Nails, 2007)
COURSE SCHEDULE

Week 1 (September 6)

Introduction

Film: The Matrix
Week 2 (September 13)

Plato, The Republic (selections)

Bronner, Ideas in Action, Ch. 6

Film: Metropolis


Week 3 (September 20)

Scriptural readings tbd

Film: Lost (6x15)
Week 4 (September 27)

More, Utopia

Bacon, A New Atlantis

Bronner, Ideas in Action, Ch. 19

Film: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Week 5 (October 4)

Condorcet, “The Future Progress of the Human Mind,” in The Portable Enlightenment Reader

Turgot, “On Progress,” in The Portable Enlightenment Reader

Rousseau, “Discourse on the Origins of Inequality,” in The Portable Enlightenment Reader

Rousseau, The Social Contract, in The Portable Enlightenment Reader

Kant, “Perpetual Peace,” in The Portable Enlightenment Reader

Film: Gattacta
Week 6 (October 11)

Fromm, Marx’s Concept of Man

Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party

Bronner, Ideas in Action, Ch. 7

Film: Snowpiercer
Week 7 (October 18)

Bellamy, Looking Backward

Film: Sleeper


Week 8 (October 25)

Schmitt, Political Theology

Bronner, Ideas in Action, Ch. 8

Film: The Trial


Week 9 (November 1)

Zamyatin, We

Bronner, Ideas in Action, Ch. 9

Film: Blade Runner


Week 10 (November 8)

Freud, Civilization and its Discontents

Film: Equilibrium
Week 11 (November 15)

Orwell, 1984

Film: V for Vendetta
Week 12 (November 29)

Marcuse, Eros and Civilization

Bronner, Ideas in Action, Ch. 14

Film: A Clockwork Orange


Week 13 (December 6)

Moore and Gibbons, Watchmen

Film: The Prisoner (pilot)
Week 14 (December 13)

Conclusion








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