Department of modern languages and literatures clc 2110 g – Utopias & Visions of the Future

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CLC2110F/G Utopias & Visions of the Future Western University V. Tumanov 6/7/2016



CLC 2110 G – Utopias & Visions of the Future

Winter (2nd semester) 2013-14

Instructor: Vlad Tumanov (

Office hours: by appointment

Class Time: Tues. 1:30-2:30 & Thurs. 12:30-2:30 UCC58
Course Content

On the basis of books and stories from antiquity to more recent times, this course will take you across the map of Europe in search of various attempts to imagine ideal societies and perfect places.  Exploring the political, social and cultural basis of the utopian impulse, we will consider how utopia morphs into its polar opposite: the nightmare of dystopia. Taught in English.

The course aims to achieve the following:

•introduce students to the differences between the proto-utopia and the modern utopia introduced by Thomas More

•present utopian characters, themes, motifs and structures

•draw connections between visions of the ideal place and situate the topic in a historical context

•explore ways in which visions of the ideal place in different times and place reflect the political and ideological aspirations of their authors and related societies

•introduce students to the differences between utopia and dystopia

•enrich the cultural experience of students by supplementing the literary works with films
Learning Outcomes

It is expected that, upon the successful completion of the course, students will have acquired:

•familiarity with the major visions of the ideal place starting with the ancient idyll

•the understanding of the way in which utopian ideas have influenced real social projects

•the use of the literary utopia and dystopia as a means of social criticism

•insight into the manner in which utopia and dystopia are simultaneously opposites and yet notions the presuppose each other

•an improved ability to express oneself on these and other related topics orally (through in-class presentations) and in writing (through essays).

Course Requirements

Attendance/Participation 7%

Oral presentation 15%

Midterm (in class) 15%

Main essay (3,000 words)1 33%

Final Exam (3 hrs.) 30%

Texts in Sequence (available at the Western bookstore or online)

1. Genesis 1-11 (approx. 12 pages from the 1st book of The Old Testament)

2. Revelation (approx. 35 pages: last book of The New Testament)

3. Plato The Republic (university bookstore)

4. More, T. Utopia (university bookstore)

5. Orwell, G. Nineteen Eighty-Four (university bookstore)
Films will be shown in class: Lost Horizon, Nineteen Eighty-Four and/or Brazil

Plagiarism is a major academic offense (see here). Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else's verbatim or paraphrased text in one's own written work without immediate reference. Verbatim text must be surrounded by quotation marks or indented if it is longer than four lines. A reference must follow right after borrowed material (usually the author's name and page number). Without immediate reference to borrowed material,  a list of sources at the end of a written assignment does not protect a writer against a possible charge of plagiarism.  This also applies to work facilitated or written for students by third parties. Submit all essays to


Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed tests, exams, participation components and/or assignments must apply to the Academic Counseling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department.

Course Schedule


Jan. 7, 9


Jan. 9, 14, 16, 21

Plato: The Republic

Jan. 23, 28, 30, Feb. 4, 6 (Film: Lost Horizon [VT])

Presentation 1: Hesiod/Ovid Ages of Man

Feb. 4


Feb. 11, 13 (Feb. 17-21: Reading Week), 25, 27

Presentation 2: Aristotle – Politics Bk. 2

Feb. 25 (Film: Brazil [UC1])


March 11

T. More: Utopia

March 4, 11, 13, 18

Presentation 3: D. Erasmus – The Praise of Folly

March 18 (Film: Nineteen Eighty-Four [UC1])

G. Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

March 20, 25, 27, April 1, 3

Presentation 4: Ye. Zamiatin - We

April 8

N.B. The reading list schedule is approximate. The presentation schedule is firm.
Presentation Topics and Format:

•20-30 min. (1-3 presenters [if more than 1, the grade is shared]2)

•Format: historical background; brief plot summary; characters; themes; structure; analysis; connection to class lectures, e-mail list of references

•see sample presentation on course web site

Please Note: You are responsible for ensuring that you have successfully completed all course prerequisites (or have special permission from your Dean to waive the prerequisite) and that you have not taken an antirequisite course. If you are not eligible for the course, you may be removed from it at any time, and it will be deleted from your record. In addition, you will receive no adjustment to your fees. These decisions cannot be appealed.

1 Essays are due any time before midnight on the last day of classes (April 8, 2014).

Word number to page number converter:

2 One person can speak for all or presenters can take turns. Speak clearly and project. Use PPT.

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