ENGL 103 A26: Case Studies in Research: Climate and City Futurisms

C. Scott

This ENGL 103 section, “Climate and City Futurisms,” is invested in thinking about human society and culture in relation to climate and other environmental changes as stressors become exacerbated in near-future settings—and then mapping these issues as seen through speculative fictions about the future written by various writers considering how and where humanity will choose to live in the future. These scenarios are seen through the lens of fiction as we examine how authors speculate about the future, but also through the lenses of scientific, cultural, and other contributions from the present day that inflect the storyworlds of the impacted characters. What is lost, gained, or altered for human populations as the world that we know adapts or fails to adapt to elements like climate change, resource scarcity, ecological unknowns, pandemics, and/or evolution, etc.?

Over the semester, we will consider a variety of speculative living situations for our descendants, and perhaps even our near-future selves. One of these considerations will involve the concept of the city, and how writers imagine problems, changes, and adaptations that will be important. In part, some of these imaginings about the future are disturbing and, even, dystopian, but we will also consider solar futurism, ocean futurism, multispecies futurism, Sinofuturism, Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism, and other “Alternative” Futurisms—terms suggesting the imperative and opportunity of forward, generative, and healing cultural movements as conceived by writers speculating about more positive outcomes despite what are currently troubling local, regional, and global issues.

N.B. Content Warning: This course contains potentially distressing themes of various kinds.