University of South Carolina

'Race and Science Fiction' is subject of May session course


Todd Shaw has taught "Race and Science Fiction" during May session for a number of years, but this year he will add a study of the film Avatar.

Todd Shaw
Todd Shaw

"Each year I try to incorporate the newest science fiction films along with the classic films," said Shaw, a professor in the Department of Political Science and the African American Studies program.

"In addition to Planet of the Apes, part if not all of The Matrix, and the television series Star Trek, we're looking at Octavia Butler's novel Kindred, and other readings,' Shaw said. "There are texts on race and science fiction, and we'll read one of those —Adilifu Nama's Black Space: Imaging Race in Science Fiction Film.

"A broad theme in the course is that science fiction can be a means to talk about race as a source of conflict, and Planet of the Apes is a striking metaphor for this," he said.

"A second theme in the course is that race can be a source of multiracial utopia, such as in The Matrix. A third theme I'm exploring a bit is the idea of race as found in the current minority politics, and Avatar speaks to this idea."

The course is a good one for May session, Shaw said.

"Given that we have two hours and 15 minutes for each class meeting, it lets us digest a film and discuss it without having to break it up too much," he said. "We study one theme during each of the three weeks of the sessions. It's a perfect structure for the course."




By Web Communications

Posted: 05/12/10 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 05/26/10 @ 10:01 AM | Permalink