Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

English

First Advisor

Barbara J. Blakely

Abstract

The ability to critically consume entertainment media is a necessary skill for an educated and functional society--a polis; however, contemporary college students are experienced consumers of pop culture but not necessarily critical ones. Since categories of identity (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, dis/ability, culture) are constructed, maintained, and reified through mainstream forces including, powerfully, the media, the ability to critique these forces is critical for an educated polis. Drawing on scholarship in critical pedagogy, cultural studies, and media literacy, this study uncovers the relative effectiveness of speculative fiction (SF) television as a pedagogical tool for developing critical thinking skills in college level English composition students. This study answers the question: To what extend does SF aid students in engaging in deeper critical thinking, especially about critical categories of identity, while simultaneously meeting the overall goals for college-level composition courses? The study reveals that SF television is especially useful to the goals of college communication courses, especially first-year composition courses, which specifically attempt to teach critical thinking. This occurs in part because SF creates a safe space for students to explore "strange new worlds" of difference in identity where usual tendencies to resist critique are ameliorated by the distance inherent in students' orientation to the genre.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/etd-180810-3161

Copyright Owner

Dawn Eyestone

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

248 pages

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