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 A&H 186 - Introduction to Cultural History: Science Fiction


This course studies social history (the lives of ordinary men, women and children), as well as ‘famous’ leaders, developments and movements. The time frame is 1945-1975. The central premise is that science fictional stories provide clear insight into a complex past. Science Fiction ‘Blockbuster’ hits, television series, and super heroe(ine)s like Superman (from the films and series Superman) and Edward (from the films and series Twilight) shed sharp light on the hopes, fears, norms and ideologies, that (re)defined the daily lives of average citizens. The approach is chronological and interdisciplinary. Readings begin in the immediate aftermath of WWII, end with the Vietnam War, and include a combination of contemporary short stories, comics, graphic novels, radio shows, television series, and film; and recently published scholarly books and articles that draw from fields like Media and Conflict Studies, as well as History. Throughout the term, discussions, debates, screenings, research projects and trips, and guest lectures, teach students about history and how to study history. By the end of the term, they recognize the ways that the past is present in daily lives and know that studying history is essential.

Track/ Minor

This course can serve in a variety of Minors including: American Studies; Gender Studies; History; Media Studies.

Required for:

This course serves as a requirement for 200 level History courses.