Worldbuilding - Poetics and Politics of Epic Fantasy

Cultural Studies

GENG-7112.3 Topics in Cultures of Childhood:  Worldbuilding - Poetics and Politics of Epic Fantasy
Winter 2016
Monday 1-3:45 p.m.

Professor P. Melville

Focusing specifically on the popular fantasy fiction subgenre known as "Epic Fantasy," this course reads the works of writers such as Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, Stephen R. Donaldson, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Robin Hobb alongside contemporary psychoanalytic, feminist, and cultural theories.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the poetics and politics of epic fantasy’s most characteristic generic element—"worldbuilding," which refers to the production (typically in a multi-volume series) of a vast and complex imaginary world whose historical, geographical, ontological, and cultural realities substantially differ from the world(s) inhabited by epic fantasy’s various readerships.  The course will question the economies of privilege, race, and sexual difference that underpin the worldbuilding of epic fantasy. 


NOTE: Students can expect to cover approximately one novel every two weeks.  Reading in advance is highly recommended.