Countless stories in books, films, series and games make up the canon of science fiction (sf), the genre of popular literature and media that represents the success of mass culture like none other and has, especially since Hollywood discovered it (in films like “Avatar”) for its stunning creation of worlds, been growing in fan numbers by the year. Unfortunately though, even though media presence is growing and students express an interest in sf, the genre has been neglected by academia, especially in teaching. One problem might be that research in sf can mostly been found
abroad and many experts teach at US institutions.
This semester, the Universität Hamburg therefore promotes an innovative teaching project which tries to rectify this situation by gathering experts of sf virtually to teach via video lecture. The project thus combines a lecture series with a classic seminar approach and allows for weekly sessions on specialized topics. Experts will give “live” talks via the net, introduce their fields of study and then answer questions from the audience. In the second part of the session, the given topic will be analyzed via exemplary short stories and the thematic concerns of the lecture brought to a practical reading. Visitors of the lectures can participate in the seminar, if they are interested in further discussion of the topics.