History of the Future, Spring 2006

Week 1 January 16/18

The Construction of Time

Overview of course
Lecture: Time and the Future in Human Societies
Film clips

Week 2 January 23/25

Millennialism and Eschatology in Medieval Europe

Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium
The Book of Revelation (read the introductory commentary and then skim the Book of Revelation itself)
Ralph Glaber, “On the First Millennium”
Bernard McGinn, “Who Was Joachim of Fiore?”

Week 3 Jan 30/Feb.1

City on the Hill, Revolution, Enlightenment: Making New Futures

Francis Bacon, “New Atlantis”, in Claeys, ed.,Utopia Reader
Condorcet, “Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind”, in Claeys, ed., Utopia Reader
Steven Kreis, “The Vision of Human Progress”
John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity”
Matthew Shaw, “Reactions to the French Republican Calendar”, French History, 15:1, 2001.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Giambattista Vico (read section 3, “The New Science”)
Question Formation

Week 4 Feb. 6/8

Chasing Utopia: Romantics and Revolutionaries in the 19th Century

Fourier, Marx, Bellamy, Owen in Claeys, ed., The Utopia Reader
William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”
Isaiah Berlin, “The Counter-Enlightenment”

First paper due at the beginning of class

Week 5 Feb. 13/15

Looking Ahead From the Fin d’Siecle

Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon
Lady Henry Somerset, “The Position of Woman in the Twentieth Century”, in Varty, ed., Eve’s Century
John Elfreth Watkins, “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years”, in Varty, ed., Eve’s Century
Tokutomi Soho, Shorai no Nihon (The Future Japan)
The World’s Columbian Exhibition, 1893
“The Eiffel Tower Stirs Debate and Controversy”
In-Class viewing: A Trip to the Moon

Week 6 Feb. 20/22

The High Modernist Future I

Le Corbusier, The City of To-morrow and Its Planning, pp. 5-106, 159-248, 298-301
Photographs of Brasilia
Lucio Costa’s Pilot Plan for Brasilia
Marcio de Oliveira, “Brasilia: Living Within Modernist Standards”
Futurama at the 1939-40 World’s Fair
1939 World’s Fair
John Hillkirk, “An Extraordinary World’s Fair”
F.T. Marinetti, “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism”
Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised
In-class viewing: “Flash Gordon”
Scheduled film: “Things to Come”

Week 7 Feb. 27/March 1

The High Modernist Future II

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
James Scott, Seeing Like A State, selections
Scheduled film: “Metropolis”
Discussion of final paper assignment

Week 8 March 13/15

Go Into Plastics: Postwar Futures and Their Discontents

Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think”
Hugo Gernsback’s Forecast, 1951
Motorola Advertisements
Yesterland (look at the material about Disney’s Tomorrowland)
Paul Wilborn, “Tomorrowland”
Comics: Adam Strange, Tommy Tomorrow, Space Cabby
In-class viewing: “Design for Dreaming”, “The Jetsons”, “Star Trek”, “Walt Disney Treasures: Tomorrowland”
Scheduled film: “Sleeper”

Week 9 March 20/22

Futures For Sale: The Hubris of Expertise in an Age of Prediction

Alvin Toffler, Future Shock
Daniel Bell, Towards the Year 2000
Scheduled film: “Clockwork Orange”
Scavenger hunt assignment due

Week 10 March 27/29

Futures For Sale II

Daniel Bell, Towards the Year 2000
Short excerpts from miscellaneous futurist works in Professor Burke’s collection
Short excerpts from Tom Swift novels
In-class viewing: “Barbarella”, “Logan’s Run”, “Zardoz”
Scheduled film: “Soylent Green”
Text analysis paper due

Week 11 April 3/5

Postmodern Revisitations and Revisions

Warren Ellis, Transmetropolitan
Scott McCloud, “Zot: Hearts and Minds”
Frederic Jameson, Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
The Cyberpunk Project
“Cyberpunk in the 90s”
William Gibson, “The Gernsback Continuum”
In-class viewing: “Futurama”, “Demolition Man”
Scheduled film: “Blade Runner”

Week 12 April 10/12

Apocalyptics Now

Tim LaHaye, Left Behind
Jason Boylett, Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse
Bill Joy, “Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us”
The Heaven’s Gate cult
Scheduled film: “The Road Warrior”

Week 13 April 17/19

The Singularity and Other Contemporary Futures

John Brockman, The Next Fifty Years
Vernor Vinge, “What Is The Singularity?”
The Extropy Institute
In-class viewing: “Batman Beyond”
Scheduled film: “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”

Week 14 April 24/26

Who Needs the Future?
Emergence, Complexity, Prediction
Beyond Expertise: Futures Markets and Other New Auguries

Final research paper due May 11th