FWIS 121: Time Travel Narratives: Fiction, Film, Science
An interview with Laura Richardson, Instructor
What do you think is interesting/distinctive about this FWIS course?
Time Travel Narratives is a unique blend of both fiction and nonfiction texts that inform the way we think about temporal tourism—the tropes, the paradoxes, and the distinctive possibilities for social critique that emerge from this subgenre of science fiction. One of the most exciting elements of this class is learning how physics and narrative have actually influenced each other throughout the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. So in addition to covering H. G. Wells, Octavia Butler, Back to the Future and Primer, we’ll also be reading Einstein and Hawking.
What, specifically, are you excited about teaching in your FWIS this semester?
For one of our movie nights last semester, we watched Groundhog Day—a hilarious film from the 80s with Bill Murray. The students loved the movie, so I’ve added it to the syllabus this semester (replacing, sadly, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure). I’m excited to bring this film into the syllabus proper and discuss the role of repetition in narrative structure and humor.
What advice do you have for first-year students (about FWIS or their first semester in general)?
The best advice I can give first-year students is twofold: 1.) Go to class and get to know your professors. Rice has an incredible community of faculty and staff who are invested in supporting you. Please use that support network! Introduce yourself to your professors after class, invite us to get coffee or lunch, tell us about your athletic events, your acapella concerts, and your art shows. 2.) College makes you smarter by challenging your intellectual comfort zones. Make time to take a variety of courses that aren’t directly applicable to your major. Even if you have to take some of your core credits in the summer or rethink that double major, take art, dance, computer science, economics, religious studies, and English courses that sound compelling to you.