Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-5-2017


This research study focuses on how an aesthetic reading stance with dystopian literature can aid teens in the development of historical thinking skills. My research is based on ideas from Louise Rosenblatt’s transactional theory and Sam Wineburg’s concept and definition for historical thinking along with the UCLA Standards for Historical Thinking. Historical thinking requires students to gain factual information but also experiences. As a social studies teacher, this practitioner inquiry study created an opportunity to explore how I might position students into the intellectual mindsets of historical thinking through fictional reading in the aesthetic stance. This study provided students the opportunity to read dystopian literature in a government class. The goal was for students to experience other peoples and societies and explore what it might mean to be a citizen in any society. The written student responses demonstrated that students made connections to course content, personal experiences, and the larger social and political world. The student responses demonstrated that the fictional readings in dystopian literature became a part of their personal experiences. By creating opportunities for reading in the aesthetic stance, my students experienced the lives of citizens in different societies. This curriculum case study was my experiment with aesthetic reading experiences and whether they guided students to reach the goals of historical thinking and comparative government due to lived through experiences in dystopian societies. I conclude this study by drawing connections to the teaching of empathy and independent reading.


aesthetic stance, reader response, Rosenblatt, historical thinking, dystopian literature

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Zancanella

Second Committee Member

Lucretia Pence

Third Committee Member

Yoo Kyung Sung

Fourth Committee Member

Mark Vogel