Episode 1: Introductions

Show Notes


Hello and welcome to the first season of Dispatches from Room 101, a podcast that explores the realities of dystopian literature and film. My name is Jason Todd, and I am an Associate Professor of English and the Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana. This podcast is produced by the students in my Engaging the Mission course called Dystopias, Real and Imagined.

The idea behind this class is that if we look closely enough, we can recognize some of the elements that make the worlds in books and movies dystopian in our own world. These analogues, as we called them, are specific instances of dystopian fiction climbing off the page and into our world. Each episode of this podcast features a group of students discussing a fictional dystopia and then revealing the analogues they see in the real world.

This first season is the result of some great work by my students during the Spring 2020 semester. Not only was this the first time this class was ever taught, but it was also the first time I’ve ever assigned a podcast as a project. Despite all that newness, the students embraced the challenge and put together some great episodes. If that weren’t enough, as everyone listening knows, this semester was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Confronted with the challenges of having to move off campus — and for some, across the country, of having to adapt to remote learning, of losing loved one to the virus or contracting it themselves, my students didn’t just muddle through — they produced really great work, even though the groups they had formed early in the semester often had thousands of miles in between them. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, we spent a good deal of time during the second half of this semester discussing whether the reactions by the different governments around the world to the COVID-19 crisis could be considered dystopian or could possibly become dystopian if taken allowed to continue beyond the initial crisis. Although it doesn’t appear in every episode, it has continued to loom heavily over the class and all the work we’ve done in recent weeks.

I hope you enjoy learning from my co-hosts about these imaginary and real dystopias. Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, please give us a five-star review in your preferred podcast app.


Music Credits

Saddler, Joseph. “The Message (feat. Melle Mel & Duke Bootee).” The Message, written by Melvin Glover & Edward G. Fletcher, Sugar Hill Records, 1982, 7. YouTube Music, music.youtube.com/watch?v=PobrSpMwKk4.

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Episode Archive

Date Title Duration
April 24, 2020 10:43 The Hunger Games
In this episode, Alina, Joelle, and Reggionna do battle with the film of The Hunger Games.
April 24, 2020 10:35 The Incredibles
In this episode, Katie, Sonjay, and Sukana battle with the animated film series The Incredibles.
April 24, 2020 09:59 We Ate the Children Last
In this episode, Ashley, Carmen, and Denise dive into the films We Ate the Children Last, Us, and Elysium.
April 24, 2020 09:30 Equilibrium
In this episode, Danielle, Edward, and Sinai offer a balanced analysis of the film Equilibrium.
April 23, 2020 19:58 Ready Player One
In this episode, Heather, Kyrah, and Samirah play around with the dystopian elements of the film Ready Player One.
April 23, 2020 19:46 In Time
In this episode, Bria, Jeremy, and Sydney offer a timely analysis of the film In Time.
April 23, 2020 19:25 The Stepford Wives
In this episode, Armani, Kade, Taryn, and Victorian offer a gendered critique of The Stepford Wives.
April 23, 2020 18:08 What Happened to Monday?
In this episode, Ashley, De'Ashia, Keila, and Shakira discuss the film What Happened to Monday?
April 23, 2020 17:46 Introductions
In this episode, Dr. Todd welcomes listeners to the podcast.

About Jason S. Todd

Jason S. Todd studied writing with Frederick and Steven Barthelme and Mary Robison at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His fiction has appeared in journals such as Southern California Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Fiction Weekly, and 971 Magazine. Since 2007, he has been a member of Department of English at Xavier, where he teaches American Literature, Freshman Composition, Modern English Grammars, and The Graphic Novel and Social Justice. In 2015, he became the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development's first Associate Director for Programming, as which he assists in providing high-quality, relevant, evidence-based programming in support of CAT+FD's mission to serve faculty across all career stages and areas of professional responsibility.
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