Honors 304.502

Utopia and Dystopia

Fall 2007

Required Texts

The following texts may be purchased at the campus bookstore, or elsewhere:

The following may be purchased anywhere except the campus bookstore (I recommend Crossroads on Barstow):

Please note: These are not the only required texts for this course. Once the class has met, we will all decide which books to add, and those too will be required. Class members will then need to find copies on their own (Amazon or whatever). The list below gives examples of likely additional books. Also, I'll probably add a few other short texts. Those will be available for downloading from the local network or the internet -- return to this page for details and links.



Course Goals:

In this course we try to understand more about human culture by studying utopias and dystopias in various literary traditions, particularly the more recent ones from England and the U.S. We will proceed by reading some older, classic texts first, and move on to study a few novels in great depth. We will also be assisted by the commentary of experts in the field. Although close reading alone will not teach us all we need to know about these novels, students should plan to read each text (primary or secondary) thoroughly, carefully, and repeatedly; successful students will be prepared to demonstrate a highly detailed awareness of the specific features of each text. As the semester moves along we will rely increasingly on student-led presentation/discussion sessions on the texts. Together, as a class, we will compare our experiences with these readings and, with diligence and luck, come to a better understanding of the utopian (and dystopian) impulse in literature.

Course Requirements:


Final grades will reflect your overall performance in the course. All students are encouraged to negotiate (with me) the weight given to each of the four listed requirements. This should allow each of you to emphasize your own strengths. However, all such negotiation must take place in advance of the actual performance of the requirement. Unless we agree otherwise, I will weight each of the requirments as indicated by the percentages above.

If you would like to see a more elaborate statement of my thoughts about grades and assignments, click here.


Students in this course will do well to understand that attendance and active participation in the meetings, discussions, and online activities are required. Since classroom time is sometimes dropped in favor of online time, those who don't participate in required online activities are in effect absent and will suffer penalties. Electronic submission of assignments permits me to insist on absolute due dates, and so I will. No one may submit late work or make up missed work.

Schedule Link

Click here for a link to our reading and assignment schedule.

How you can contact me:


Marty Wood


OL 1130


HHH 729

Office Hours:

10 - 11 MW
and by appointment

Office Phone:





Return to the beginning of this syllabus


UWEC Default Policies, Rules, Conditions


All faculty at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire are obliged to keep records of students' attendance. I will comply with this obligation. My treatment of your attendance is noted above.

Students with disabilities:

Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Old Library 2136 at the beginning of the semester.

Statement on classroom demeanor (ie, "civility"):

As members of this class, we are members of a larger learning community where excellence is achieved through civility. Our actions affect everyone in our community. Courtesy is reciprocated and extends beyond our local setting, whether in future jobs, classes, or communities. Civility is not learned individually, it is practiced as a community.

Academic integrity (ie, not cheating):

I consider any academic misconduct in this course as a serious offense, and I will pursue the strongest possible academic penalties for such behavior. The disciplinary procedures and penalties for academic misconduct are described in the UW-Eau Claire Student Services and Standards Handbook in "Chapter UWS 14-Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures."

Goals of the Baccalaureate (ie, Why are we here?):

Each UWEC course syllabus needs to identify which of the 11 goals of the baccalaureate degree are addressed in the course. Faculty are encouraged to indicate on their syllabi which papers and other required work can be used as evidence of the attainment of the goals.

Accordingly, I am hereby indicating that all of the reading, writing, listening, and speaking assignments you complete for this course, if performed diligently, will assist you in achieving the following goals: An understanding of a liberal education; An appreciation of the University as a learning community; An ability to inquire, think, analyze; An ability to write, read, speak, listen. Any completed assignment can also be adduced as evidence of the extent of your attainment. Naturally, as in any decent liberal-arts experience, in this course you may also pick up other abilities that conform to other goals of the baccalaureate. If this happens, do not become alarmed; no one will penalize you for educating yourself too thoroughly.


Marty Wood
Professor of English

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Last Updated: 8/31/2007