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Michigan Online course on Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World

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Michigan Online course on Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World

Recently, University of Michigan, Michigan, USA announced/ published an online course on Literature, Science and the Arts, also related to Science, Technology, and Society, with the course titled English / Coursera – Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World for Undergraduate level students and professionals. Interested candidates can check more information and study materials for this online course from University of Michigan‘s – Open Michigan, the official online classes / course portal or using the quick links to the important course pages given below.


Instructor(s): Erik Rabkin

Term / As Taught in: Summer 2012

Course Level: Undergraduate

Published: 15 June, 2012

Revised: 25 June, 2013

For Online course Registration: Please click here.

Sessions: Oct 7th 2013 (11 weeks long)

Note: This Online Classes Timing / Course Structure: 8-12 hours/week

Short Course Description (as in MIT OCW)

Fantasy is a key term both in psychology and in the art and artifice of humanity. The things we make, including our stories, reflect, serve, and often shape our needs and desires. We see this everywhere from fairy tale to kiddie lit to myth; from “Cinderella” to Alice in Wonderland to Superman; from building a fort as a child to building ideal, planned cities as whole societies. Fantasy in ways both entertaining and practical serves our persistent needs and desires and illuminates the human mind. Fantasy expresses itself in many ways, from the comfort we feel in the godlike powers of a fairy godmother to the seductive unease we feel confronting Dracula. From a practical viewpoint, of all the fictional forms that fantasy takes, science fiction, from Frankenstein to Avatar, is the most important in our modern world because it is the only kind that explicitly recognizes the profound ways in which science and technology, those key products of the human mind, shape not only our world but our very hopes and fears. This course will explore Fantasy in general and Science Fiction in specific both as art and as insights into ourselves and our world.

For the Syllabus of English / Coursera – Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World -Online course / online class (pdf Download / web link): Please Click Here

This course comprises ten units. Each will include a significant reading, typically a novel or a selection of shorter works. I will offer video discussions of each of the readings and also of more general topics in art and psychology that those readings help illuminate. Each unit will include online quizzes and ask you to write a brief essay offering your own insights into the reading. In order, the units are:


  1. Grimm — Children’s and Household Tales
  2. Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
  3. Stoker — Dracula
  4. Shelley — Frankenstein
  5. Hawthorne & Poe — Stories and Poems
  6. Wells — The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, “The Country of the Blind,” “The Star”
  7. Burroughs & Gilman — A Princess of Mars & Herland
  8. Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles
  9. LeGuin — The Left Hand of Darkness
  10. Doctorow — Little Brother

In Unit I, the specific stories are the ones in the Lucy Crane translation (1886) which was published by Dover and is available online through Project Gutenberg ( In Unit V, the specific readings are: Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” and “The Artist of the Beautiful”; Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Oval Portrait,” “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” “The Bells,” “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee.” All the readings except Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness will be available online at no charge.

For Full Course Materials and details (zip download/ web link): Please Click Here  

For Online Session(s) Reference / Readings: Please Click Here

Document Title Creator Download
Children’s and Household Tales Grimm Link
Adventures in Wonderland Carroll Link
Through the Looking-Glass Carroll Link
Dracula Stoker Link
Frankenstein Shelley Link
Mosses from an Old Manse Hawthorne Link
Twice-Told Tales Hawthorne Link
The Portable Poe Poe Link
The Island of Dr. Moreau Wells Link
The Invisible Man Wells Link
The Country of the Blind Wells Link
The Star Wells Link
A Princess of Mars Burroughs Link
Herland Gilman Link
Little Brother Doctorow Link

For more information on this course: Please Click Here

For more online Literature, Science and the Arts courses/ classes on internet: Please click here.

For more online courses/ classes from University of Michigan, please visit Official Website: Please Click Here

About Instructor(s):

Erik Rabkin:

 Eric S. Rabkin is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of English Language and Literature, and Professor of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. He has won numerous teaching awards, including the Golden Apple awarded annually by the students to the outstanding teacher at the University of Michigan. His research publications include the first English-language theoretical discussion of fantasy and the second of science fiction. He has won the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to science fiction criticism.

  • Ph.D. University of Iowa:
  •  A.B. Cornell University

All the very best for your course study.


“Known is a Drop, Unknown is an Ocean.”


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