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Collegiate Writing: The Meaning of Fantasy

Program(s): Immersion

Fantasy has often been regarded as a somehow inferior genre because it supposedly leads us to “escape” from reality. But what if fantasy is in fact a pursuit to uncover things that otherwise confound us about the human condition, especially in unsettling moments that lack precedent? Could fantasy provide a necessary way to reimagine our world and our lives? This intensive course in analytical writing at the collegiate level will offer a chance to think through these questions and to craft rhetorically-effective essays that explore the meaning of fantasy. The course considers fantasy across various media. We will read literary works including stories by Jorge Luis Borges, Ursula K. Le Guin, HP Lovecraft, and Nnedi Okorafor alongside an overlooked novel by Harlem Renaissance writer Pauline Hopkins; we will watch and discuss films spanning from The Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones to Inception; we will analyze visual art, including the imaginary realms of Surrealism; and we will investigate the construction of immersive fantasy spaces, from the highly commericial (like Disneyland) to “alternative” spaces (like Burning Man or Meow Wolf). In our writing sessions, we will work closely to develop and refine the techniques of writing and revision that will allow you to transform your ideas and insights into powerful essays, using rhetorical instruction materials and small group workshops that replicate the intensive writing seminars taken by University of Chicago undergraduates.

See sample syllabus here.

Remote or Residential

✓ Residential Course


Course Considerations

Geared for students who enjoy writing analytically and exploring philosophical themes. This course is meant for students who excel in their English courses and want a college-level writing course. It serves as an excellent introduction to the kind of close reading, interpretive, and writing skills that undergraduates learn in the College at the University of Chicago.

Writing Intensive
Discussion Intensive

Course Overview

Current Grade / Education Level

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade



Start Date

June 12

End Date

June 29

Class Details

Primary Instructor

Michael Subialka

Academic Interest

Humanities (e.g., arts, philosophy)
Examining Culture and Society
Writing and Literature

Class Specifics

Course Code

HUMA 20904 94

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Class Duration (CST)


3:00 P.M.


Session I

Course Length

3 weeks

HS Orientation Date

June 10
June 11