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Exercises: Dystopian Fiction of the 20th and 21st Century - Details

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Dystopian Fiction of the 20th and 21st Century

General information

Semester WS 2019/20
Home institute Englische Literaturwissenschaft
participating institutes ZZZ_Literaturwissenschaft (Anglistik/Amerikanistik)
Courses type Exercises in category Teaching
First appointment Mon , 14.10.2019 14:00 - 15:30, Room: (D, 2003)
Performance record Portfolio
Hauptunterrichtssprache englisch
ECTS points 2-4



Monday: 14:00 - 15:30, weekly (from 14/10/19)

Course location

(D, 2003)

Fields of study


Since the beginning of the 20th century, dystopian fiction appears to be everywhere. Its function, to serve as a warning of a potentially negative future, means the contents adapt to mirror contemporary problems as they can be observed in the real world. Therefore, it serves as a means to show social and political issues in a realm of fiction to help gain a deeper understanding of contemporary culture in a way that might even inspire action. For example, in current times certain events have inspired comparisons to the fictional dystopian world Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale.

In this course we will start by defining the concept of dystopian fiction and tracing its history.
Furthermore, we will analyse different works of dystopian fiction such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and H(a)ppy by looking at narrative structure, characters, and plot but also the themes of the novels involved such as civil rights, knowledge distribution, and personal autonomy.

In order to obtain credits you will have to write a thesis paper or do a moderation, as well as write an essay. Participation, regular attendance, and reading the texts are expected.

Please purchase a copy of the following novels:

Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury, Ray
The Handmaid’s Tale – Atwood, Margaret
H(a)ppy – Barker, Nicola

A reader with relevant theoretical texts and short stories will be made available on digicampus.


Current number of participants 10
expected number of participants 25