After a kind of prelude in which we looked at Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” as proto-dystopias, my “Dystopia in American Literature” class looked at Jack London’s post-apocalyptic “The Scarlet Plague” last week.
Because it’s an online class that never meets face-to-face, I’ve been posting regular 15-20m context lectures, in order to convey the kind of background info that I would ordinarily just slip into an ongoing in-class discussion. In addition to having students discuss the readings in a forum, I’m having them post one-minute podcasts in which they apply lessons from my stand-alone videos on such topics as the difference between summary and original thinking, avoiding wordiness, and Bloom’s Taxonomy.
This week students are reading the 2016 dramatization of Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here, and next week they’ll join Ayn Rand and Equality 7-2521 for a subtle-as-a-sledgehammer romp through the world of “Anthem.”
Here are some snippets from the slideshows.