Science fiction is a great way to learn political theory


Joseph Reisert, a government professor at Colby College, discovered that science fiction such as Brave new world Added a lot of value to his “Introduction to Political Theory” course.

“I wish I could claim that this idea was my original, but I actually got inspiration from my first political theory course in my undergraduate course,” Reisert said in episode 485 Geek Galaxy Guide podcast. “The political theory class given by the professor at that time started with Plato and started with Brave new world, And then he established a lot of connections for us, and I tried to bring it out when I taught it in class. “

Reisert said that science fiction can help us imagine scenarios we would never consider. “Science fiction allows us to experiment with very different social arrangements in literature,” he said, “and through the medium of stories can even transcend this kind of reflection,’it is different, so it must be bad,’ etc. We played in our minds, “Well, does this work? What does that mean? If we change this, what will happen to these other things? I think the novel does a good job in this regard.”

Reisert is currently teaching Ursula K. Le Guin’s novels Deprived Help students understand the Marxist ideology of a society without private property. “This is an imagination of a society without property, which is reasonable in my opinion,” he said. “I like that novel. I think the core point of it is that to make this propertyless society work, even without considering organizational challenges, a moral change that is not easy to achieve is required.”

Another advantage of science fiction is that they tend to be more entertaining than political essays, which means that students are more likely to actually read them. “People should not underestimate the importance of easy reading at the end of a long semester before people take the exam,” Reisert said.

Listen to the full interview with Joseph Reisert in episode 485 Geek Galaxy Guide (above). And check out some of the highlights in the discussion below.

Joseph Travel Star Trek:

“Even when I was a child, I knew it was progressive-the cold war was still going on, there was a Russian on the bridge, and it was interracial. But when I was a child, I was impressed. The thing is its optimism. I just found it very attractive and the intermediary balance between [the characters]. If you think Kirk is courage or vitality, Spock is reason or wisdom, and McCoy is basically heart or friendship, then all three are necessary.At least there are some original series, they have encountered a seemingly perfect but stagnant society [puts] Limits to intellectual inquiry, self-confidence, exploration, and boldness, and enterprise People put it down. “

Joseph Travel Brave new world:

“[Bernard] Trying to impress Lenina Krone by taking her to the Barbarian Reserve, where they met John and Linda, and they took them back to London. … When Linda died, John was a little angry, his disgust for Brave New World was released, so he decided to liberate the Delta caste workers of the hospice hospice center by throwing away their drug rations. ‘Be a man! be free! ‘He shouted to them. A riot ensued. You have to fall in love with Brave New World. They break it by spraying body gas on everyone. I think they have anesthetic water guns, so people fall asleep. Their hypnotic instructions were loud, urging them to start a carnival. I think it actually ended with a carnival, this riot. “

Joseph Reisert on freedom of speech:

“I’m absolutely close to a free speech absolutist. Part of the reason is that I see anything censored by someone, and I usually think it’s a reason [think]”Well, maybe I should look at that idea again, because someone is really afraid of it.” It’s very offensive for an adult to say “You can’t hear this” or “You can’t hear that”, and I think it’s Politically, it is very corrosive. I think it is much better to let people talk, because if they stop talking, violence will follow. …There is one—I don’t even think this is a big group, but there is a group of noisy, picky, and progressive students. They really can’t stand their piety being challenged. They can make life difficult for those who even want to For people who talk about other points of view, let alone truly accept them. I think this practice must be resisted at all costs. “

Joseph Travel Brave new world Compared One nine eight four:

“Although I don’t completely agree [Mustapha Mond’s] Defending the Brave New World, he embodies in some ways all the virtues that other people in the Brave New World really are not allowed to cultivate. … when O’Brien [in Nineteen Eighty-Four] Eating real chocolate or drinking real coffee, tasting the other person’s sadness in a strange way. For him, the point is perpetual sadism. But Mond was a little melancholy. ‘If they read Othello, They can’t understand, it makes them uneasy. Yes, it would be great if they could own real art, but the price is too high.It’s not like he’s enjoying the deprivation of others, this is the atmosphere I get from it One nine eight four. “


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