Faculty Research & Creative Activity

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October 2013


Although dystopian novels have been prevalent under the young adult banner for decades, their abundance and popularity post-9/11 is noteworthy. The 21st century has found academics and laypersons alike discussing the supposed political apathy of young adults and teenagers of the Millennial Generation. However, despite this common complaint—and contrary to ample research that indicates that this age group has traditionally been uninterested in global politics—the reading preferences of this generation indicate that this label of "apolitical" may not be as fitting as some believe. In fact, the popularity of young adult dystopian literature, which is ripe with these political themes, suggests that this group is actually quite interested in these topics, although they often turn to the safe confines of fiction to wrestle with them. This article explores the potential educational uses of these young adult dystopias and argues that reading these texts may be a small step in the direction of engaging students in social justice issues and, perhaps, sparking more overt political action.