Graduation Date

Spring 2023

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in English, emphasis in Applied English Studies

Committee Chair Name

Janelle Adsit

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Marianne Ahokas

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Dystopian literature, Dystopia, Trauma, Pandemic, Trauma-informed pedagogy, Trauma-informed teaching, Grievers, Riddley Walker, Station Eleven, Bent Knee, Student-centered, Reddit, COVID-19, Genre theory, Lesson plan

Subject Categories



This project advocates for a trauma-informed approach when teaching dystopian literature, particularly those with plague or pandemic plots. To have a truly student-centered approach in the classroom, trauma-informed pedagogy is necessary for students not only to learn comfortably, but to actively be creative or retain information.

Dystopian literature is assigned and consumed at pervasive rates; this popularity calls for additional attention to its teaching. The survey data presented in this project shows that 68 of 100 students had been assigned one or more dystopian texts through school years 2020 onwards, and 72 additionally were seeking out the dystopian genre on their own. This genre provides a unique platform for reflection and connection, often having directly related plot-points to current events; it therefore calls for special attention regarding pedagogical decisions.

Exemplifying trauma-informed strategies in the form of usable lesson plans, this project provides trauma-informed lesson plans for the following texts: adrienne maree brown’s Grievers, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker, and the album Land Animal by Bent Knee. These lesson plans explore dystopia using teaching practices such as content warnings, collaboration, and providing multiple access points for material. Using these strategies can work towards inclusivity and help students learn and participate during uncertain times. Envisioning oneself into the future can be a radical and healing act for young people, emphasizing those with marginalized identities. All classrooms can benefit from trauma-informed teaching as all students bring different lived experiences and perspectives to the learning space.

Citation Style


2023 11-07 ltr_common rule_approval_exempt (1).pdf (151 kB)
IRB approval: student survey

2024 04-13 ltr_common rule_approval_exempt (2).pdf (153 kB)
IRB approval: podcast participation



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