(apologies to any who find "geek" and "nerd" offensive - I assure you in my personal lexicon, they are positively marked and I apply them to myself often and with relish)
I am writing my (anthropology) senior thesis on SF and fantasy novels!
My chapters are tentatively as follows:
1. A thematic history of SF and fantasy, attempting to relate trends to movements in social science/popular imagination of the culture concept, etc.
2. the social scientist/cultural relativist as hero/sympathetic character
3. borrowing from actual cultures in order to construct fictional worlds: does the author employ common stereotypes? are they treated with more complexity? do certain cultural forms (nomadism comes to mind) have certain moral associations?
4. ethnography, ethnographic fiction, and SF/fantasy: textual strategies of representing the Other
I already have quite an extensive bibliography, but I am here asking for sources, particularly ways of anthropologically discussing literature as cultural texts. If anyone knows of any writing on the genre of fantasy, that's the thing I am having the most trouble with. There are extensive histories of SF as a genre, but fantasy is proving problematic to research. I also would welcome recommendations of novels in those two genres that you loved for their cultural/anthropological content!
I'm on to Chad Oliver and Ursula K. Le Guin, but you can never get enough rec's!
Thanks a ton in advance!