Daniel Nexon posts the syllabus for his class, Science Fiction and Politics:
Authors writing in the Science Fiction or Speculative Fiction (SF) genre have long explored political themes — such as the rise and decline of empires, the impact of technological change on individual liberty, the nature of revolutionary struggles, the workings of totalitarianism, and the impact of socio-political collapse on humankind.
This seminar approaches SF as social-scientific, political-theoretic, and social-theoretic text. Subjects include the politics of contact, alterity, identity, and warfare. Readings include SF novels, as well as scholarly texts on politics and social science. Students are also expected to watch and discuss films and videos.
This is not a literature course. We do not explore (much) the emergence of SF, its conventions, or its history; we do not read literary criticism of SF or cognate genres. Instead, we approach SF as many of its authors intend: as an opportunity for ontological displacement and a landscape of the imaginary that allows us to contemplate contemporary socio-political concerns.
The list begins with these works:
Jutta Weldes, “Popular Culture, Science Fiction, and World Politics: Exploring Intertextual Relations,” in Weldes, ed. To Seek Out New Worlds: Exploring Links between Science Fiction and World Politics, pp. 1-27.ONLINE
Iver B. Neumann and Daniel H. Nexon, “Introduction: Harry Potter and the Study of World Politics,” in Nexon and Neumann, eds. Harry Potter and International Relations, pp. 1-25.ONLINE
Star Trek: The Next Generation: “The Outcast” (Season 5, Episode 17)
Consider “The Outcast” from each of the four approaches discussed in Neumann and Nexon.
Daniel Drezner, Theories of International Politics and Zombies. (**If you need a refresher on IR theory, and want to see it applied to SF settings)
Edward James, Science Fiction in the 20th Century, pp. 12-53. ONLINE (**If you need historical background on SF as a genre)
I’ve converted the original Word document into PDF format, if you’re interested.
(Hat tip to T. Greer.)