Teenage Wastelands: American Dystopian YA Fiction

This special topic in American literature course introduced students to utopian/dystopian studies through young adult dystopian texts. Students examined political discussions surrounding technology, ecology, race/gender rights and governmental oversight while reading critical and theoretical essays addressing genre and the philosophical underpinnings of various dystopian texts. Students broadened their ability to categorize, research, and formulate academic arguments while learning various techniques for revising and strengthening their writing as a means to create and transmit knowledge.

Textbook: The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature.
Dystopian novels include: The Giver, Fruitlands: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect, The Word for World is Forest, Ender’s Game, Feed, Bumped, Ship Breaker, and The Hunger Games.

Course: AML 2410 Issues in American Literature and Culture
From UF Course Catalog: Credits: 3; Prereq: ENC 1101 or test score equivalent. Introduction to some of the most important issues that arise in the study of American literature and culture. The breadth and focus of the topic will be determined by the instructor. (C or H) (WR).
Course Title: Teenage Wastelands: American Dystopian Young Adult Fiction
Semesters Taught: Fall 2012
Section Size: 19

Portfolio Documents:


AML2410: Special Topics in American Literature Syllabus
Teenage Wastelands: American Dystopian YA Fiction


Assignment Sheet for Student Led Discussions
In groups, students must prepare 10-15 minutes worth of material in order to lead the opening discussion for each course text.


Assignment Sheet and Grade Rubric for Classification Paper1000 words -Students must write a definition of dystopia, then based on that definition, determine whether or not a text of their choosing fits that definition. The text in question must be advertised or described as a dystopia to qualify for this assignment.


Assignment Sheet and Grade Rubric for Final Research Paper
2500 words – Students must write an original research paper in response to 1 of 5 prompts. Paper must incorporate no more than 3 fictional texts and at least 5 academic sources.


Lesson: Brief History of Utopias
Based on information from Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Lecture delivered during the second full week of class.


Teenage Wastelands Course Blog
Students write weekly blog posts in response to prompts and class readings, or respond to peer’s posts.