Tiny Logo for Comm 149 Dr. Andrew Wood
Office: HGH 210; phone: (408) 924-5378
Email: wooda@email.sjsu.edu
Web: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda

The future isn't what it used to be

"Dialta had said that the Future had come to America first, but had finally passed it by. But not here, in the heart of the Dream. Here, we'd gone on and on, in a dream logic that knew nothing of pollution, the finite bounds of fossil fuel, or foreign wars it was possible to lose . . . Behind me, the illuminated city: searchlights swept the sky for the sheer joy of it. I imagined them thronging the plazas of white marble, orderly and alert, their bright eyes shining with enthusiasm for their floodlit avenues and silver cars. It had all the sinister fruitiness of Hitler propaganda.." We explore the notion that our popular culture, built environment, and textual landscapes contain overlapping and contradictory vision of the good life. As William Gibson suggests, those fragments form a "cultural membrane" between the real and the ideal that dwells within residual pieces of literature, architecture, and cultural detritus. These alternative rhetorics of "the future" reveal useful insight into the contradictions of democratic governance and community discipline. Drawing from the writings of Frank Manuel, we examine the role of utopia in the construction and critique of social life.

Reading: Gibson

Notes: Making Sense of the Gernsback Continuum

Notes: Organizing Utopia

Dialogue: Things to Come

Activity: Looking forward from the year 1900

Off-campus webpages

Note: These pages exist outside of San Jose State University servers and their content is not endorsed by the page maintainer or any other university entity. These pages have been selected because they may provide some guidance or insight into the issues discussed in class. Because one can never step into the same electronic river twice, the pages may or may not be available when you request them. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email Dr. Andrew Wood.

[Previous] [Syllabus] [Assignments] [Next]