TOPIC: Imagined Nation: The Fantasy Genre in Contemporary Culture

Although Fantasy works like The Lord of the Rings are often very commercially successful, Fantasy is usually looked down upon as an "escapist" genre that refuses to engage in real-world issues. This course will investigate the above assumption, asking to what extent Fantasy media reinforce or undermine cultural myths of race, gender, and national identity. Students will be asked to read literary criticism and apply it to films and literature by authors like Angela Carter, J.R.R. Tolkein, Neil Gaiman, and Ursula K. Le Guin. The aim of this course is to enable students to develop their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills by analyzing the implications of Fantasy's re- imagination of Western society.