English Literature MA

Fantasies of Energy ENGLIT4128

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores two key questions: firstly, how are literature and culture informed by the energy sources that power them, from oil to gas to solar? Secondly, how do contemporary genres, from Science Fiction to Fantasy to Utopianism to the Weird, shape the way we understand energy and our relationship to it, both in the present and the future? The course ranges from the vast engines of a Death Star to the solar utopias of activism to gain a sense of how we think energy, and how it shapes us.


5x1hr lectures; 10x90min seminars over ten weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Mid-term essay (1500 words) - 30%

Final essay (3500 words) - 60%

Seminar contribution - 10% 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below.  

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Explore the ways in which energy shapes culture; 

■ Engage with cultural imaginations of energy across various media;

■ Develop an understanding of how the codes of different genres, including Science Fiction, Fantasy and Utopia, shape the stories they tell;

■ Examine how these popular genres are drawn upon to construct real-world narratives.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Write in a critical and informed way about popular genres (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Utopia, Weird) and how they provide different narrative resources for imagining alternative ways of living with energy;

■ Conduct research in the fields of popular genre and the Energy Humanities;

■ Relate contemporary future speculations to their appropriate generic and energetic contexts; 

■ Reflect critically on the contemporary energy crisis and energy transition from a knowledgeable and critical perspective;

■ Communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

■ Demonstrate resilience and time management through effectively planning, undertaking and submitting coursework.

■ Deal with change and new challenges by applying their disciplinary skills and knowledge to previously unfamiliar research areas and questions.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.