American Sociological Association

Republication of “Science Fiction and Introductory Sociology: The Handmaid in the Classroom”

Although there is a great deal of available material on using nontraditional resources for teaching sociology, the pedagogical uses of science fiction have not been examined for 20 years. This essay first asserts the need for an update based on changes in society and in science fiction over the past two decades. The paper then focuses on the uses of SF to teach sociology and critical thinking by describing how SF can help students to “make strange” (i.e., develop a skeptical, questioning stance), to “make believe” (i.e., develop critical and creative thinking), and to “make real” (i.e., use sociological concepts and theories). As illustration, the essay concludes with a detailed description of the use of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in teaching introductory sociology.


Cheryl Laz





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