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Learn about how our imagination of the universe and its inhabitants was shaped by literature throughout the last 400 years.
Main Source: Jonathan Swift, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships (1727), Part III, Chapters 1-3.
MODULE I: CONSTRUCTING OTHER WORLDS
Learning objective: Literature is not a interstellar medium of a second order, but organizes outer space as we see it.
Main Source: Johannes Kepler, The dream, or a lunar astronomy (1609/1634)
Lesson 1: The Book And The Telescope - Kepler vs. Galilei
Lesson 2: The Demon And The Mind's Eye - Kepler's "Dream"
MODULE II: TRAVELLING THE EARLY MODERN COSMOS
Learning objective: The early-modern age reflects interstellar travelling as a journey made possible by literature and literary imagination.
Main Sources: Francis Godwin, The Man in the Moone (1629/1638) / Cyrano de Bergerac, The Other World: Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon (1657)
Lesson 3: Godwin or The Secret Passage Of Fantasy
Lesson 4: Cyrano or The Universe As A Literary Market
MODULE III: THE 18TH CENTURY ALIEN
Learning objective: The idea of an inhabited solar system evokes a cosmical hierarchy of morals.
Main Sources: Eberhard Christian Kindermann, The Speedy Journey (1744) / Immanuel Kant, Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven (1755), Part Three, paragraphs 1-12 / Emanuel Swedenborg, Earths In The Universe (1758), Passages 27-29.
Lesson 5: The Golden Chain Of The Cosmos - Kindermann's Trip To The Martian Moon
Lesson 6: Kant, Swedenborg, And The Nature Of The Alien Reader
MODULE IV: READING MARS
Learning objective: The Age of the Martians is linked to the galactic expansion of evolutionary theory.
Main Sources: Kurd Lasswitz, Two Planets (1897) / H.G. Wells, The Crystal Egg (1897)
Lesson 7: The Canals or The Rise (And Fall) Of Martian Utopia
Lesson 8: Colonizing Earth, Colonizing Mars
MODULE V: CULTURE INDUSTRY AND THE 20th CENTURY ALIEN
Learning objective: The organization of Space Fiction in magazines shapes the perception of the genre - and the perception of its consumers as well, including sexual stereotypes. While the superficial notion of space fiction registers a vivid tradition of sexist clichés, outer space is in fact a fertile ground for diversive concepts of sexual identity.
Main Sources: Pulp / Donna Haraway, Monkeys, Aliens, and Women: Love, Science, and Politics at the Intersection of Feminist Theory and Colonial Discourse(1989)
Lesson 9: The Cosmos Of Pulp
Lesson 10: The Gender Of Space
MODULE VI: EMPIRE - OUTER SPACE AS A POLITICAL BATTLEGROUND
Learning objective: As outer space becomes an arena of political conflicts, wars become an integral element of space fiction. However: The emergence of the Galactic Empire shows us that space politics have less to do with enemies and warfare than with control and communication.
Main Sources: Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers (1959) / Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
Lesson 11: Empire As A Drug - Frank Herbert's Dune
Lesson 12: Empire As A Suit - Robert A. Heinlein's Starship troopers
MODULE VII: EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL LIBRARIES
Learning objective: Organizing cosmic knowledge is not longer a bureaucratic task, but a story in itself, a turning point in literary consciousness.
Main Sources: Ludovico Ariosto: Orlando Furioso (1516), Canto 34 / Isaac Asimov, Foundation (1942-1950) / Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978-1980)
Lesson 13: The Dump
Lesson 14: The Archive
MODULE VIII: POST-TERRESTRIAL LITERATURE
Learning objective: Despite being confronted with »true« interstellar media, literature finds its place in an earthless universe.
Main Source: Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) / Carl Sagan, Contact (1985) / Reinhard Jirgl, Nichts von Euch auf Erden/Deserted Earth (2013) / Christopher Nolan, Interstellar (2014)
Lesson 15: Books Vs. Signals or The End Of Human Totalitarianism
Lesson 16: Man Beyond Earth, Books Beyond Man
- Philipp Theisohn - German Department
- Krystina Schaub - Philosophy/ German Language Studies
- Julia Nauer - Literature / Philosophy
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