Journalism 24, Section 1

Looking Backward: Storytellers Using the Future to Change the Present (1 unit, LG)

Professor Thomas Leonard
Monday 1:30-2:30, 127 North Gate Hall, Class number: 28772

Beginning with Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale as both a novel and a TV series, this seminar will look at how social critics and audiences see an alternative to the status quo in stories of the future. Storytelling of this type has a long history and much can be learned by gaining this perspective:

In 1887, Edward Bellamy wrote Looking Backward: 2000-1887. Bellamy inspired clubs to form across the nation to advance a form of socialism that the novel placed in the 21st century. Bellamy, a journalist, was particularly successful in California.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was science fiction for readers in the 1950s that foresaw an America where state censorship would come close to wiping out cultural memory. Bradbury wrote the warning on a UC campus. Fahrenheit 451 (HBO film, May 2018) brings us up to date. The character played by Michael B. Jordan says: “news, facts, memoirs, the Internet of old . . . burn it!”

Instructor Bio

Prof. Leonard is retired from the Graduate School of Journalism and from the campus post of University Librarian. He is the author of three books on political reporting and the growth of American democracy. He is also a past leader of the Media Studies program at Cal. He is particularly interested in the ways that new media are shaping public policy and elections.

This seminar is part of the following programs

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