Fantastic Politics: Modern Political Issues Illustrated Through Fantasy Worlds

July 8 – 19, 2024
1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Philosophy and Society
Allison Schmidt

Fantastic Politics will use some of the most popular and well-known fantasy worlds to explore key political concepts and hot topics in politics today. Using examples from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Hunger Games, and other fantasy worlds, this class will teach students about pressing political issues facing the world today. Through small-group discussions, class debates, and occasional writing assignments, students will learn about the racial politics of Harry Potter, neocolonialism through Star Wars, and many other pressing topics while also being exposed to some of the most famous fantasy books and movies of all time. By the end of the course, students should have a greater understanding of important political issues and will have formed their own opinions that they will be able to share and discuss with others. Importantly, students will not be encouraged to believe one political view over another; instead, they will be encouraged to form their own political views in a fun and supportive environment by thinking for themselves about what they believe. This course will primarily focus on US politics however, there are connections made to international and world politics.

This course will be primarily synchronous, although there will be some asynchronous components (individual activities only; no meetings or group activities will occur outside of class time). Students are expected to be able to meet for the entire class session each day. Most days, the synchronous portion of class will not take up the entire time scheduled so that students have time to complete asynchronous class activities.