Fantasy Media in the Classroom

Essays on Teaching with Film, Television, Literature, Graphic Novels and Video Games


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About the Book

A common misconception is that professors who use popular culture and fantasy in the classroom have abandoned the classics, yet in a variety of contexts—high school, college freshman composition, senior seminars, literature, computer science, philosophy and politics—fantasy materials can expand and enrich an established curriculum. The new essays in this book combine analyses of popular television shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer; such films as The Matrix, The Dark Knight and Twilight; Watchmen and other graphic novels; and video games with explanations of how best to use them in the classroom. With experience-based anecdotes and suggestions for curricula, this collection provides a valuable pedagogy of pop culture.

About the Author(s)

Emily Dial-Driver is a professor of English at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma, and fiction editor of RSU’s Cooweescoowee: A Journal of Arts and Letters.

Sally Emmons is an associate professor of English at Rogers State University and the managing editor of Cooweescoowee.

Jim Ford teaches humanities, philosophy, and religion at Rogers State University and is director of the honors program. His articles have been published in the Journal of Religion, the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, and Honors in Practice.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Emily Dial-Driver, Sally Emmons and Jim Ford
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 270
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5921-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8941-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface EMILY DIAL-DRIVER      1
Introduction JIM FORD      3

I. Seeing the Classics in a New Light: Using Fantasy as a Lens in Traditional Classes
Pop Pedagogy JESSE STALLINGS      11
Added Interest, Added Value LAURA GRAY      24
Bruce, Bill, and Barack CAROLYN ANNE TAYLOR      33

II. Integrating New Works: Using Fantasy to Enrich Traditional Classes
Flights of Fantasy JIM FORD      47
Fusion Curriculum EMILY DIAL-DRIVER      58
“We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” SALLY EMMONS      74
Critical Thinking and Post-Apocalyptic Literature MARY M. MACKIE      88
Corruptible Power FRANCES E. MORRIS and EMILY DIAL-DRIVER      105
Breaching Barriers Between Work and Play SHAKA MCGLOTTEN      123
Fantasy Classics: Hobbits and Harry in Interdisciplinary Courses JIM FORD      138

III. New Directions: The Joys of Fantasy Classes
Hansel, Gretel, and Coraline J. RENEE COX      151
The Fantastic Classroom: Teaching Buffy the Vampire Slayer EMILY DIAL-DRIVER      171
Buffy Versus Bella: Teaching about Place and Gender JACQUELINE BACH, JESSICA BROUSSARD and MELANIE K. HUNDLEY      182
Brave New Classroom: Using Science Fiction to Teach Political Theory KENNETH S. HICKS      203
Incarnations of Immortal Creations EMILY DIAL-DRIVER      217
Conclusion JIM FORD      248

About the Contributors      251
Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “a common misconception is that professors who use popular culture and fantasy in the classroom have abandoned the classics, yet in different contexts fantasy materials can enrich an established curriculum…explanations of how best to use them in the classroom”—CBQ
  • “shows how fantasy can be used to teach interpretation and critical thinking, and how fantasy can be used as springboard for discussion of issues such as cultural similarities and differences, human relationships, and social mores”—Reference & Research Book News