IDST 425

Comparing Alternatives: Community, Diversity, and Utopia

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective May 9, 2013 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

For centuries, people have expressed their ideas about the good life by imagining and sometimes creating alternative communities and social orders. Whether ideal utopias or nightmarish dystopias, the variety of these expressions demonstrates that people have defined the good life in many different ways. This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of utopian studies and asks what it means to imagine alternative ways of living for oneself and with others. Along the way, we will see that one persons utopia is often another person's dystopia. By the end of the course, students will have developed significant knowledge of a variety of utopian (and dystopian) visions, and they will begin to answer for themselves how we imagine the good life, together, in the context of human diversity.

Prerequisites

Special information

Prerequisite: WRIT 231 Writing II or equivalent, and Completed 6 credits counting for GELS goals 5 and/or 6. Or, have instructor's permission.

Learning outcomes

General

  • Analyze primary texts by applying concepts and theoretical approaches related to utopian studies.
  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture as these are articulated through utopian literature, American history, and intentional communities.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Articulate an informed judgment about the intersection of the utopian imagination and human diversity, including an analysis of their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.