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Course Outline / Syllabus

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This document contains a syllabus for a new version of the large-lecture course English 1120: Speculative Fiction. This version of the class focuses on horror fiction, in particular, and structures the course according to a series of discursive contexts crucial to that genre. So, the course is organized around five thematic units including: psychology, religion, gender, race, and science. Each of these units presents key texts in that given area and asks students to think critically about the relationship of fiction to that particular cultural context. The course, in general, cultivates in students the ability to analyze cultural objects—in this case horror narratives—and to then articulate thoughtful links between those objects and the changing cultural context in which they are consumed. One overall aim is to have students understand the ways in which cultural texts both reflect and refract larger social and cultural conversations. They are given ample practice in exploring how horror fiction reveals ongoing cultural desires and anxieties, but also in examining how it subtly works to reframe and reimagine those forces.