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Understanding Science Fiction with Eric Link

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Time & Location








Understanding Science Fiction with Eric Link

This is a 1-meeting virtual class using the Zoom platform.

Thursday, Sept 5 

6-8 pm CT

About this class:

Arguably, no single genre—in literature, in film, in the visual arts—has come to dominate the cultural landscape of the twenty-first century more than science fiction.  Over the last 100 years, science fiction—or SF—has evolved, branched out into all manner of representation, become the object of massive and diverse fandoms, and become a focus of intense academic investigation and scrutiny.  SF has become a kind of lens through which individuals engage their worlds and envision their collective futures.

In this illustrated lecture, “Understanding Science Fiction,” I introduce audiences to the field of science fiction film and literature.  During this talk, I answer the question what is science fiction? and talk about the language of science fiction, including such concepts as alloplastic and autoplastic societies, alterity, the novum, distance markers, and cybernetics.  I discuss the impact of contemporary techno-philosophical ideas such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the technological singularity hypothesis on modern science fiction, and I give a tour through many of the most common science fiction plot structures, from the alien contact story to the alternative history to the dying-earth scenario.

This lecture requires no specialized knowledge of literary theory: it is intended for broad academic audiences.

Instructor bio:

Eric Carl Link is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of North Dakota.  He is the author and/or editor of ten books and over fifty scholarly articles that span the fields of 19th-century American literature and Science Fiction.  His work in the field of science fiction includes Understanding Philip K. Dick (2010), The Cambridge History of Science Fiction (2019), and The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction (2015).

HND Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota. However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally. Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University. To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

Humanities North Dakota classes and events are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities

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