SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY AND SPIRITUAL IMAGINATION Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (ML-RHTH 400, RHTH 691) and McCormick Theological Seminary (Masters level: M / T 407) Fall Semester 2020 Thursdays, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Classroom: McCormick Conference Room 353, 5460 S. University Ave. Hyde Park, Chicago 60615 Masters-Level & PhD Syllabus (www.lstc.edu; www.mccormick.edu) Instructors: Christine Wenderoth, Professor Emerita, LSTC; Jennifer Ould, MDiv (McCormick), Adjunct Professor Course Description: Science fiction and fantasy literature, film, comic books/graphic novels, games, and other media are laden with religious and theological significance. This course addresses the questions: How can science fiction and fantasy help us ask better questions of ourselves, our churches, and our world? How can science fiction and fantasy help us explore and engage more established religious expressions (such as the Bible, liturgy, and theology)? And how can we use these genres of fiction to stimulate and expand our spiritual imaginations – our conceptions of what is possible and how we might create another kind of world than the one we have?” Required Textbooks: McGrath, James F. Theology and Science Fiction. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2016. ISBN 978-1-498-20451-4. Butler, Octavia E. Bloodchild and Other Stories [2nd ed.]. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2005. ISBN 978-1583226988. LeGuin, Ursula K. “Introduction” to The Left Hand of Darkness. NY: Ace Books, 1976. Russ, Joanna. To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. Select assigned essays. Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996. ISBN 0-449- 91255-8. Tolkien, J.R.R. “On Fairy-Stories” in Tolkien On Fairy-Stories. London: HarperCollins, 2008. ISBN 978-0007244669 Womack, Ytasha. Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2013. Select chapters. ISBN 978-1613747964 Deleted: can 3 3 Available for purchase at Seminary Co-op Bookstore (www.semcoop.com), 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago 60637; 773.752.4381; [email protected]; M-F 8:30-8, Sa & Su 10-6. You may purchase textbooks from any provider. Seminary Co-op is the finest collectively owned independent academic bookstore. Love thy neighbor, buy local. Course Requirements, Masters-degree, 400-Level: 1. Complete all assigned readings on schedule to be prepared for discussion. 2. Engage in discussion in each session. 3. Create a ministry-related event of either preaching, teaching, or youth/young adult ministry. For example, a sermon outline and a sermon, a teaching outline, a video or an event in your ministry, etc. that will both be related to common readings of texts and viewings of a film or TV episodes from the course, referencing critical commentaries on science fiction/fantasy; and aid the proclamation of the Gospel. This assignment will result in a 30-minute presentation, sermon, or teaching session in class. 4. Either a semester research paper focusing on some of the critical literature about one key text/film/TV series in the genre of science fiction or fantasy, or a creative short story or other imaginative piece in the genre of science fiction or fantasy. If you chose the latter option, you must also provide a one-page rationale for your creative project referencing multiple critical readings from the course assignments. Length? Course Requirements, PhD-degree, 600-Level: 1. Complete all assigned readings on schedule to be prepared for discussion. 2. Engage in discussion in each session. 3. Write a semester research paper focusing on critical literature and theological, biblical, or spiritual issues about one key text/film/TV series in the genre of science fiction or fantasy that will be of publishable quality in a peer reviewed journal. The student will, in fact, submit this article for publication. The paper will be a minimum of 20 pages. 4. Teach 90 minute Science Fiction/Fantasy and Spiritual Imagination class session. The content of the class will be determined by the subject of the research paper [above]. 5. When chapters of non-fiction books or specific short stories are required of the class, the 600-level student will read the entire volume, and/or make specific other reading assignment arrangements with the instructors. The overall course reading for PhD students will be, at minimum, 8 books or the equivalent combination of books and scholarly journal articles. Forma&ed: Font: Italic 3 3 Weighting of Grades: In-class Presentation: 40% Semester Research Paper: 40% Class Participation: 20% Course Overview: You will be expected to complete assigned readings / viewings from the following sources (texts, films, websites, etc.): Ø Everyone will read the required texts, several short stories, chapters, and reviews about science fiction/fantasy and spiritual imagination/theology/religion Ø We will view one required film in common from the list in ‘Science Fiction and Theology: Selected Bibliography. Ø We will view required TV episodes to be selected from the list in ‘Science Fiction and Theology: Selected Bibliography’.