Focus Group Description
Student Faciliator: Katherine Brown
Supervised by: Naraelle Hohensee
This class will use young adult and teen novels of current day to explore the culture of readership in the previous century. Questions include: Why have Twilight, Harry Potter, and Hunger Games been so wildly popular today? What modern issues do these books represent? What topics and themes are universal across time and age groups? What do evolving themes in works of fiction say about societal changes through the generations? As a class we will look at works such as Harry Potter series, Twilight, and Hunger Games through internet memes, film adaptations, and fan culture. In the second half of the course, students will individually choose a book (or work of fiction) from an earlier period (20th Century) and compare/contrast the history and context of the book's creation and popularity with those of modern times. We will look at issues of adaptation (including censorship, author's rights, and dedication to material); history of young adult/teen fans; and the culture that these imaginative worlds have spawned. Furthermore, students will have an opportunity to look at primary sources (microfilm and special collections) and to experience collecting oral histories (through parents, grandparents, or other) in examining the historical context of their books' original release. Main project will be a "book report" to class but students will be allowed to direct and present their findings in new and unusual ways.