ERIC Number: ED344238
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
"Utopia, Limited": Narratives from a Writer's Workshop.
Degan, James N.
When teachers claim that the idea of community serves as the inspiration for a writing course, the question of what exactly is meant by the term community is compelling. The idea of community has any number of interpretations, ranging from the idealistically inspired to the downright deranged. In the new Honors Program at Ohio State University at Lima, a course in composition and literature was taught which focused on utopias and dystopias. The objective was to read as many classic utopian/dystopian texts as possible in a 10-week course and ponder the motives behind utopian and dystopian impulses as well as how these terms can be applied to students' experiences. The location of the university, suffering from the common crises of the midwestern "Rust Belt," can hardly be conceived of as a utopia or ideal community. Students were challenged to read in a way so as to participate actively in producing the meaning of the text. Students were then asked to compose their own extended narratives describing either an utopia or a dystopia. The results of this assignment were mixed and incomplete, but nevertheless gratifying, entertaining, and in some cases, impressive. A sense of ambiguity and ambivalence concerning human communities, relationships, and especially about utopia and dystopia pervades all of the more thoughtful narratives by the students. Moreover, the assignment encouraged students to interact more dynamically with themselves and the communities in which they live. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Dystopia; English Teachers; Ohio State University Lima; Utopia; Utopian Literature
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).