This course combines popular science writing with works of science fiction in order to interrogate the ways in which science is presented, expressed, and translated into texts intended for laypeople. Students consider the role both kinds of work play in shaping public scientific literacy. Readings include essays from Best American Science Writing, assorted recent articles, as well as seminal and contemporary works of literary science fiction. Students gain a deeper understanding of how science is practiced and written about today, as well as the ways in which fiction about scientific advances popularizes the science it addresses. Given what we learn through reading nonfiction, is fictional writing about real science a fruitful part of public scientific discourse? Students who successfully complete this seminar will satisfy the Scientific Perspective core requirement.
CJ Hauser is a writer who teaches contemporary literature and fiction-writing in the English department. An avid reader and teacher of genre-bending fiction, she is interested in the ways sci-fi literature speculates about scientific discovery and progress.