Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies
  • W - Writing

Typically offered:

Every other year

It’s not just modern science fiction that concerns itself with the impact Western scientific thought has had on human communities and spirits. Reason and revelation have been in tension, as modes of seeking knowledge or truth, since classical times and they remain so today. Furthermore, the literary imagination has made “fictions” about science and scientists for as long as the terms have had cultural meaning (in English, since the 14th century). This course will examine some of these fictions, moving from past to present. We will look at how “science” became a topic for Western literature and how that literature, especially over the last three hundred years, has considered and reflected scientific thought. We will notice how scientists have been treated in imaginative works ranging from celebration to satire. We will think about how and when intelligence and knowledge came to be associated with the scientist rather than the artist or theologian, despite science’s initial alliance with art, and whether that association is changing. Students will participate actively in the seminar and will also write and revise four short critical analyses. There will be a final take-home examination. This course meets the first-year writing requirement.


Students will benefit from having some experience of writing about literature.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.