Term of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

John Weaver

Committee Member 1

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Nathan Snaza

Committee Member 3 Email



CULTIVATING A PEDAGOGY OF EMPATHY: Teaching Science Fiction in a Changing Biotechnological World



(Under the Direction of John Weaver)


I argue that science fiction affords us the ability to think past our anthropocentrism, opening up a space for us to consider our relationship to burgeoning biotechnologies and the other. I provide critical interpretations of science fiction film and literature, which I believe stimulate the power of the narrative imagination to envision the “netherworld experience of the other”. I believe science fiction provides a site of speculation, a means to better understand and consider the role and position of the post/human as well as the vital issues of human equity and social justice as new technologies challenge the immutability of normatively human boundaries.

Martha Nussbaum asserts that the power of the narrative imagination is crucial to the cultivation of sympathy and empathy which are key components of the best modern ideals of a democratic education. This study extends Nussbaum’s theories on the narrative imagination into the realm of science fiction film and literature. I argue that a pedagogy of science fiction not only awakens awareness of biotechnologies, but also stimulates the narrative imagination to empathetically envision a rapidly changing world.

Index Words: Science fiction, Biotechnology, Moral imagination, Empathy

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material