Core Module Information
Module title: Utopia, Dystopia and the Global Political Imagination

SCQF level: 10:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: CLP10134
Module leader: Elsa Bouet
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Media and Humanities

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

Description of module content:

Fredric Jameson’s essay ‘Progress vs Utopia; or Can we Imagine the Future’ questions our capacity to imagine alternative political systems while also suggesting that utopian literature possesses the creative and visionary capacity to challenge past and existing political structures. In this module, you will engage with this tension between the lack of change and the possibilities offered by utopian and dystopian literature. You will therefore analyse literary texts in their socio-political and economic contexts and you will engage with, reflect on and debate the representation of political systems and how literature represents their utopian alternatives, or hint to utopian possibilities in dystopian texts. You will also trace shifts in theoretical conceptions of utopia and changes in literary aesthetic strategies from the classical era to the present, notably through the dystopian turn. Through the use of utopian theory, you will assess how utopian literature represents power structures and how these are sustained through violence, discourses, economic structures, politics and ideology. You will also critically engage with the texts through the representations of resistance to these political systems, and analyse the ways in which these novels promote and imagine alternatives to their contemporary politics and debate the success of their visions. To do so, you will also be investigating core theoretical utopian concepts such as commonwealth, horizon, hope, resistance, desire which counter the violent, exclusionary, totalitarian and authoritarian systems represented. The course will tackle core issues issues such as violence, political representation, power, the utopian horizon and hope, structures of desire, imagination, neoliberalism, posthumanism and ecocriticism and explore the issue of genre.

For this module, you will be assessed by writing two essays due in week 6 and week 14, for which you will need to satisfy Learning Outcomes 1-5, as you will be expected to show the ways in which you have reflected on, engaged with, assessed and apply theories studied on the course in your analysis of the literary texts studied.

Learning Outcomes for module:

L01 Critically reflect on the ways particular political systems have been represented in literature and culture
L02 Assess and debate theoretical ideas of utopia in relation to political and economic structures
L03 Apply theories of utopia and dystopia in the analysis of particular texts and particular historical moments.
L04 Engage with a range of critical approaches to genre of utopia/ dystopia
L05 Critically analyse particular texts relating to economics, commonwealth, citizenship and agency in their cultural, theoretical, political context.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2023/4, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Elsa Bouet
Module Organiser:

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Seminar 30
Independent Learning Guided independent study 170
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 30 LOs 1-5 6 , WORDS= 2000
Essay 70 LOs 1-5 14/15 , WORDS= 3000
Component 1 subtotal: 30
Component 2 subtotal: 70
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
CLP10134 Utopia, Dystopia and the Global Political Imagination