Science fiction prototyping
"theory is ordinary"
For their finals, students chose between writing a theoretical essay which deploys speculative techniques or a science fiction short story inspired by contemporary media theory. Either way, students would speculate about the consequences of the current moment of social and media change, addressing such issues as the role of social media in our everyday lives, the impact of collective intelligence as illustrated by Wikipedia, or racialized police violence.
In short, science fiction stories frequently do a better job than academic theory in modeling a cycle which includes the analysis and critique of current conditions and the mapping and advocacy of alternatives. I wanted the student essays to identify both what they were fighting for and what they were fighting against.
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