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

Looking backward to the Year 2000

We explore notions of "America" as an ideal place, focusing on utopian literature and community building as a social force in European and United States societies from the Puritan age to the Gilded Age. Starting with a brief introduction to John Winthrop's notion of America as a "city upon a hill," we explore literary depictions of this ideal place. Twin social conflicts form the backdrop of our analysis: (1) the wrenching transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy and (2) the growing sense that excessive individuality must be tempered through science and planning. Reading Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, we discover Edward Bellamy's ideological response to the teeming cities and idiosyncratic visions of the good life that marked his age. We also interrogate Bellamy's social machinery as a seed of the technological and social disciplines imposed in the twentieth century. In our studies, utopianism and dystopianism meet in the public sphere that re-submerges the individual under the power of state.

Reading: Bellamy

Viewing: Frontline - Apocalypse

Notes: Key Concepts in Looking Backward

Notes: National-Socialism in Looking Backward

Supplemental Resource: The American Jeremiad

Supplemental Resource: Summary of Winthrop's "Model of Christian Charity"

Supplemental Website: Wood's Bellamy Resources

Off-campus webpages about the Puritans

Off-campus webpages related to Bellamy

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.

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