The Meaning of Star Wars

The Meaning of Star Wars

This course explores Star Wars from its inception through its many reinventions and innovations to find its true meaning(s).

DURATION: 12 weeks
ID: LITB 5310

Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided as an overview. The course outline, readings, and assignments may be subject to change in the final syllabus as determined by the lecturer and/or preceptors.

As the Star Wars franchise thrives in its fifth decade, speaking to audiences across the globe and generations, we should consider the causes of its impressive longevity and ongoing relevance. What makes Star Wars the phenomenon that it is? How has multimedia Star Wars storytelling – through movies, television series, novels, comics, games, audio dramas, toys, and theme park attractions –consistently reflected its influences and reinforced its themes?

Dr. Amy H. Sturgis invites you to join her in exploring Star Wars from its inception through its many reinventions and innovations to find its true meaning(s). In so doing, this class will trace the development of Star Wars and investigate its big ideas, such as the cycles of history, the corruption of power, the effects of colonialism and imperialism, the nature of balance, and the promise of redemption, as well as the difference between selfless love and selfish attachment and the tension between free will and destiny. We will also consider the relationship between the inspired auteur, the collaborative artistic community, and participatory fandom and transformative works, as well as analyze the reasons why Star Wars is considered to be an example of modern mythmaking. Join us as we discuss Star Wars as a commentary on and conversation about history, human nature, spirituality, heroism, and the lasting impact of stories.

SPECIAL NOTE: A live class meeting is currently scheduled for this semester with Rebecca Roanhorse, two-time Star Wars author, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and John W. Campbell Awards, and nominee for the World Fantasy and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards. 

Weekly Schedule

This course includes two live 90-minute lectures per week with one 60-minute discussion session as assigned.

Course Schedule

Coming soon!

Required Texts

Required Viewing (Disney+ subscription recommended)

  • Star Wars Episodes I-IX
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Select episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, and Star Wars: The Mandalorian

Required reading:

Note: Students are invited to watch whichever editions of the films they prefer. The class will discuss the differences between the versions but there is no required edition. Additional required and recommended short texts for reading/viewing/listening will be noted in the weekly schedule.

Course History

This course has been offered in the following semesters.

The Meaning of Star Wars
Semester Preceptor(s)
Summer 2020 TBC