As eleventh and twelfth graders discover their identity, they become tied to gender/culture/ethnic communities. Students explore these identities to form connections to understand writing and ideas about their increasingly diverse world, challenging educators to creatively keep students from cynicism in citizenship. Speculative fiction exposes students to radically different cultures, not Americanized variations, where presupposed rules can’t be applied, and are unable to change the culture. This demonstrates blanket-solutions can’t be applied to all situations/cultures and expected to work. Rather solutions must be unique to that problem and culture. Speculative fiction authors create original settings that are contrary to the presupposed world, requiring imagination in examining the setting’s effect on characters and interactions. This position paper reviews the literature on meaningful adolescent literature experiences with an emphasis on speculative fiction, provides an overview of science fiction, fantasy and horror genres, and critically review two of their narratives to teach social justice.
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