The World As It Could Be

The World As It Could Be

Speculative Fiction from around the World

Speculative Fiction from around the World

Summer Institute for k-12 Teachers

June 21 - 23, 2023

Speculative fiction includes a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, African- and AfroFuturism, dystopian fiction, climate fiction, and more. All of these genres use different forms of world-building to deeply engage with current issues and explore possible futures. By asking the question, "What if...?" authors invite readers to confront our hopes and fears and imagine better worlds.

To what extent do these "What if...?" questions reflect universal human concerns? In what ways are they windows into the cultural contexts of specific authors?

This ORIAS summer institute will feature short works from around the world. Participants will read, view, and analyze short works from a variety of regions, using speculative fiction as a lens to understand and contextualize current issues in the real world. We'll explore the role of speculative fiction in helping students develop cultural literacy and experiment with teaching methods that encourage creative engagement with works of fiction.

This institute is open to k-12 teachers across disciplines. Content will be appropriate for students age 12+; reading level will vary.

This FREE program will take place in person. Lunch will be provided. Space is limited to 24 people on a first-come, first-served basis.

Professional development credit is available upon request during registration process. Teachers who attend for credit will be expected to build/submit a lesson plan featuring one or more of the texts used in the program.

Photo Credit: collage of two images - dystopia2 by Teresa Prater and Afrofutirism by Solen Feyissa via flickr (license)


Wednesday, June 21

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Breakfast and check-in

9:00 - 9:15 AM

Program Introduction

Shane Carter

9:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Introduction to Speculative Fiction

Martha Kenney

12:15 - 1:00 PM


1:00 - 4:00 PM

Exploration of Speculative Fiction from South Asia

Mary Anne Mohanraj

Thursday, June 22

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Breakfast and check-in

9:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Worldbuilding with the West African Sauúti Writers' Collective

Fabrice Guerrier, Cheryl Ntumy, Ikechukwu Nwaogu

12:15 - 1:00 PM


1:00 - 4:00 PM

Exploration of Latin American Speculative Fiction

Azucena Castro

Friday, June 23

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Breakfast and check-in

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Exploration of East Asian Speculative Fiction

Sang-Keun Yoo

12:00 - 1:00 PM


1:00 - 4:00 PM

Exploration of Russian Speculative Fiction

Sibelan Forrester

When & Where

Where: The Institute is tentatively scheduled to be held at the ORIAS office, at 1995 University Ave, Suite 510, in downtown Berkeley. If that space is unavailable, it will be held elsewhere on the UC Berkeley campus. See this space for updates.

When: See the agenda to the left for daily schedule information. Please arrive during the breakfast and check-in period or at breaks.

Registration: Register via this form. You will get an immediate notification that your information was submitted, followed by a confirmation.

Accessibility: If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Shane Carter at with as much advance notice as possible.

Transit & Parking: ORIAS is located close to several AC Transit bus lines and only three blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. If at all possible, it is recommended that you take public transit. If you drive, you can learn about parking options here.


During the program, participants will read/view and discuss the following:​

"Rewriting The Future: Using Science Fiction To Re-Envision Justice​" by Walidah Imarisha​

"Exhibit B" by ​Alexis Pauline Gumbs, from Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (2015)

Sauúti World Building Story ​Bible, Version 1 by the Sauúti Collective

​"Readymade Bodhisattva​"​by Park Seonghwan​, from Readymade Bodhisattva: the Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction (2019)

​"The ​Paper Menagerie​"​by Ken Liu​, from The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (2016)

The Doomsday Book(includes a film adaptation of "Readymade Bodhisattva")

"Temira" by Olga Larionova (trans. Mirra Ginsburg), from The Air of Mars and Other Stories of Time and Space (1976)

"My Dad's an Antibiotic" by Sergey Lukyanenko​ (​trans​.​ Liv Bliss​)​​fromRED Star Tales (2015)

Other Resources