Imagining Oppression: Final Summer Update

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the first day of the semester! I spent the last month of summer reviewing the data I have collected so far, re-reading the relevant literature, and figuring out my next steps. While I didn’t quite achieve the level of productivity I’d been hoping for, I did make some pretty significant progress.

Before I left campus, I had the opportunity to look at a thesis written by a previous Honors student. This gave me a new insight into what a finished version of my project would look like. At home, I was able to re-articulate my research question into two parts: 1) How do contemporary YA fiction novels portray oppression? and 2) How is this fictional representation relevant to our social world? If you can remember back to my first post this summer on the cultural diamond, the social world is the context that a cultural object (in this case, the 7 young adult novels in my sample), its creator, and its receiver exist in. Using the cultural diamond, I can break my research question into two sections: one focusing on the cultural object (How do contemporary YA fiction novels portray oppression?) and the other focusing on the relationship between the cultural object and the social world (How is this fictional representation relevant to our social world?).

My coding and thematic analysis of my sample of young adult fiction novels will answer my first research question, while my second research question will be encapsulated by the syllabus. The syllabus will provide context for the concepts and themes in the book that draw from historical and contemporary realities of oppression, as well as demonstrate how young adults can and are using young adult media to engage with the social world. I’m very excited to finish my thematic analysis and start working on the syllabus!

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