Welcome to Dune 101!
This course is designed to be an accessible introduction to Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune, published in 1965. Course material is based on my years of research for my scholarly articles and my books Frank Herbert’s Dune: A Critical Companion (2022) and Women’s Agency in the Dune Universe: Tracing Women’s Liberation through Science Fiction (2021).
In each lesson, I talk through different topics and key themes relating to Herbert and his masterpiece Dune, with accompanying images. I also include links to other videos and articles if you want to learn more about a particular topic.
Topics you’ll learn about include:
- The setting and major factions in Dune
- Frank Herbert’s biography and important influences on his writing
- Historical context of the U.S. in the mid-20th century and how Dune was received
- Politics and religion in Dune
- Ecology and the environment in Dune
- Characters and consciousness in Dune
- Heroes in Dune
- Women’s power in Dune
I’ve created a multiple-choice quiz for each lesson to help motivate you to pay attention and recall what you are learning. These quizzes are optional, but many of you may enjoy a challenge and want to test yourself along the way!
Whether you’ve read Dune or not, seen one of the film/TV adaptations or not, if you’re curious to know more about what Dune is all about, this course will provide a structured approach to some of the many complexities in this bestselling science fiction story, and why it is still relevant today.
- Nearly two hours of original lectures (divided into short videos with subtitles) with me discussing topics and themes related to Dune through slides, historic photos, and other images
- Quizzes (optional) for each lesson to test your knowledge
- Links to other videos and articles for further information
- Certificate upon course completion
- 1 year of course access
About the instructor
My name is Dr. Kara Kennedy (aka Dune Scholar) and I love Dune! And I want everyone to feel confident in understanding this complex science fiction novel.
I have many years of experience teaching and tutoring English literature, writing, and other subjects at the tertiary/university level. I have researched and written on Dune at universities in the US, UK, and New Zealand and published several articles as well as two books: Frank Herbert’s Dune: A Critical Companion (2022) and Women’s Agency in the Dune Universe: Tracing Women’s Liberation through Science Fiction (2021).
My goal is to make academic scholarship on science fiction more accessible and interesting—after all, it is one of the most popular genres! I do my best to write and teach without making assumptions about people’s understanding or using complicated jargon. I have a blog (DuneScholar.com) where I post literary analyses of Dune aimed at a general audience, and I have published articles about Dune on science fiction and fantasy site Tor.com.
There is always something new to discover with Dune, and room for new perspectives! I hope this course sparks your interest and gives you new food for thought.
*This page contains some affiliate links to books on Springer and Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support.