8:29 News from Nowhere: Art and Ecotopia

This seminar considers questions about artistic production, ecocriticism, and ideas about utopia and the “good society” raised by William Morris’ utopian romance News from Nowhere, a work which blends inherent charm, wide-ranging social criticism, and radical views of the family, gender relations, international affairs, architectural and urban design, and the nature and significance of creative work. We will attempt to explore what it would mean to live in a counterfactual society in which aesthetic and communitarian values, rather than corporate power, framed the lives of ordinary human beings.

We will use an illustrated online edition of the text (http://www.uiowa.edu/~wmorris) to help understand visual aspects of Morris’s late nineteenth-century world, and devote several class periods to the study of designs by Morris and other Victorians.

Students will be asked to read several of Morris’s essays, keep a reading journal, and prepare short presentations about relevant background topics. In addition, one assignment will be to prepare a possible illustration and caption for the website. Grades will be based on attendance, participation, reading journals, and class presentations.

To post on the class discussion page, go to WebCT and login.

Copyright © 2005 Florence Boos. All rights reserved.
Last update August 20, 2005 18:41