COLL-E 104 26058 Visions of the Future: A History (Pace) (3 cr.) (Fall) (S & H)

In this course we will explore the development of conceptions of the future from the 18th century Enlightenment to the end of the 20th century in order to better understand how Western culture has viewed the world across the past two centuries. Using documents, fiction, film, television, art works, and advertising, we will consider such issues as hopes that science and technology could produce a new and better life for humanity, encounters with other cultures, space exploration, concerns about economic, racial, and gender equality in the world of the future, fears of nuclear or environmental disaster, and the conceptualization of the future in terms of the acquisition of consumer goods.

Students will have the opportunity to explore some of the central issues that have concerned Western cultures over the past two centuries and to discuss their reactions at length. They will work individually and in teams to produce a series of short assignments and papers and a longer research project. The kinds of skills that are required in these exercises will be systematically presented, so that students will understand the kind of work expected of them, regardless of whether they have ever had a college history course. For an overview see the course web site at