IU Southeast Magazine - Spring 2014 - page 18

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Abshire stresses that the course is
academically rigorous, “Fun-not-fluff
is what I want to stress to students,”
Abshire said. “It’s a serious class with
serious academic content.”
Why
The Hunger Games
?
The thought of implementing the class
at IU Southeast came to Abshire after
she read the book series for the first
time.
The Hunger Games
is set in an
alternate future, in which a totalitarian
government runs the nation of Panem.
The nation is divided into 12 districts
and the Capitol, and some time in the
past the nation experienced a massive
political rebellion.
The games are held each year pitting
the 12 districts against one another in
a contest that symbolizes the Capitol’s
power. Two representatives from each
district are chosen to participate in
the games, one boy and one girl, ages
ranging from 12 to 18.
The 24 young “tributes” are forced to
kill one another in a spectacular, media-
driven contest while the entire nation
looks on.
Abshire noted that many of the themes
in the novels and films reflected events
occurring in the real world.
“The themes were so striking within the
books, I knew I wanted to do something
that incorporated them into a classroom
setting,” Abshire said.
Initially, students were not required to
read the trilogy before the class began.
But it’s hard to discuss the novels
without giving away plot elements that
ruin the experience for readers new
to the books; so this semester Abshire
required students to read the trilogy
prior to the beginning of the class.
“It’s a beast of a different nature;
obviously there’s no text book, and it
took quite a bit of research to try to find
subjects I wanted to cover,” Abshire
said. “I’m interested to see how the
students apply the ideas from the
political science readings not only to the
novels, but to the world as it is today.”
Trent Reilly, political science senior, is
taking Abshire’s class this semester.
“I am very excited to take this class,”
Reilly said. “It’s nice that the faculty are
creating unique classes. It will be a nice
way to break up my schedule and make
my semester go by faster.”
Reilly had not read the books before
signing up for the class, but once he
did, he — like Abshire — could almost
immediately see the connection
between the trilogy’s fictional politics
and the real world.
“I think mostly this class will tie back to
political theory,” Reilly said, “It’s really
easy to compare
The Hunger Games
to
what’s going on in the world today.”
Political themes in
The Hunger
Games
Abshire incorporates
The Hunger
Games
trilogy readings with the
modern issues in society as much as
possible. Some of these themes include
building new democracies, transitions
out of dictatorship, and war.
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