SCIENCE AND SCIENCE FICTION IN THE MEDIA AND IN LITERATURE

Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in SCIENZE E TECNICHE DELLA COMUNICAZIONE
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2019/2020
Year: 
1
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2019/2020
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Language: 
Italian
Credits: 
8
Period: 
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
64
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (64 hours)
Requirements: 

None.

Final Examination: 
Orale

The exam is oral. In order to stimulate the development of the critical skills and the autonomy of judgment of the students, the exam consists in the presentation and discussion of a research done by small groups (2-5 people), aimed to deepen one of the topic discussed during the course, which is to be agreed in advance with the professor. Individual researches may be allowed under adequate motivations, which must be discussed in advance with the professor.
Each member of the group should present a part of the research, more or less of the same size. Furthermore, during the final discussion questions may be asked about any topic of the course, and not only about the one that is the object of the research.
Multimedia presentations are not only allowed, but strongly encouraged, as well as comparations with other topics that students have studied in other courses.
As for the attribution of the final grade, both the value of the research as a whole and the quality of the exposition of each student, as well as the results of the discussion, will be considered, particularly evaluating the level of personalization, the critical consciousness and the capability of using the knowledges and the skills learned during the whole graduation course.

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

The first objective of the course is to provide the students with a basic knowledge of the history of science-fiction, especially in the fields of literature, cinema and comics.
The second objective is to provide the students with both the stimuli and the instruments needed to develop a critical understanding of the relationships between science and science-fiction in the mass-media, where nowadays the two fields are getting more and more confused with one another. This is particularly important relatively to scientific communication, but also to communication as such, given the increasing importance that science and technology are destined to have into our society.
The third objective is to provide the students with an introduction to the main kinds of professional works in the field of science-fiction, with a special attention to publishing, whose interest often transcends this specific field, being potentially useful to everybody working in the field of communication.

1) Institutional part
The first part of the course is an introduction to the history of science-fiction and the main topics and problems related to it.
2) Monographic part
The second part of the course is about a specific topic, every year different, chosen among the main themes of science-fiction.
3) Professionalizing part
Finally, the third part of the course is aimed to present some significative experiences which could help to introduce the students to their future work in the field of communication.

1) Institutional part
In the first part of the course an introduction to the history of science-fiction will be provided, showing how it has been evolving in the time, explaining its reasons, and comparing it with the evolution of science, especially with respect to one of its most “classic” and important topics, i.e., extraterrestrial life, which will be discussed in depth thanks to the personal experience of the professor, who has been participating in this kind of research for more than twenty years, as a member of the SETI Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). Although the basic guidelines are always be the same, different accentuations may be done each year, depending on the topic chosen for the monographic part.
2) Monographic part
The second part of the course is about a specific topic, every year different, through which it will be possible to study more in depth the relationships between science-fiction and real science, as well as the problems related to a correct scientific communication, having the capability of exploiting, when useful, also suggestions coming from science-fiction, but nonetheless without making any confusion between the two.
3) Professionalizing part
Finally, in the third part of the course some significative professional experiences will be presented, chosen in the field of science-fiction, which, due to their specific nature, could be significative to the work in the field of communication in general.

Due to the peculiar nature of the course, there are no reference texts in the strict sense. However, all the texts of the lectures, the PowerPoint presentations, the videos and any other tool used during the course, together with a list of suggested books and movies, will be uploaded to the Insubria e-learning platform. In case this should not be technically feasible, the materials may be requested directly to the professor.
Furthermore, on the Insubria website the integral records of all the lectures of “Science & Science-fiction” of the present and past years will be permanently available, especially those of 2013, given by some of the most distinguished Italian experts of science-fiction, where all the fundamental aspects and topics of science-fiction are discussed in depth, from literature to cinema, from illustration to comics, from the comparison with real science to its philosophical and religious implications, thus forming a real general introduction to the topic.

Convenzionale

Educational activity will be developed through frontal lessons, supported by a very detailed set of PowerPoint presentations and, especially with respect to the monographic part, also films, documentaries, and other multimedia tools, including some talks and interviews recorded by the professor himself during international scientific congresses which he has personally attended.
If possible, depending on the available funds, there will be also some moments of dialogue with some significative personalities working in the field of science and science-fiction.
Finally, it is also scheduled a series of lectures and guided visits called “Science & Science-fiction”, in which both scientists and experts of science-fiction will participate.

Students may talk to the professor at the end of each lesson of the course. In the presence of adequate reasons, also by appointment, to be agreed with the professor by phone (335/8205220) or e-mail (paolo.musso@uninsubria.it).
More precise details about the course and the exam will be provided each year in a special file entitled “Descrizione del corso e modalità di esame”, which will be uploaded before the beginning of the lessons to the E-learning platform. Students are therefore kindly requested to download it as soon as possible and to read it very carefully in all its parts.

Professors