Simpson Colloquium 101
What does the future hold? Will individual freedom be crushed by an all-powerful government or a ruthless corporation? Will diseases or medical experiments gone awry create a desperate society of biological haves and have-nots? Will technology enslave us? All of these grim scenarios have been imagined by authors and filmmakers who create dystopias, fictional visions of a troubled world set somewhere in the future. In this class, we will explore classic dystopian visions of the 20th century (1984, Brave New World, and A Clockwork Orange) and more recent dystopian novels like Divergent. We will experience dystopian visions in films like V for Vendetta and Children of Men, and each student will have a chance to conceptualize, research, and create his or her own fictional dystopia.
When I started college, I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life: I was going to be a doctor. What happened? I stumbled into a history seminar during my freshman year to fulfill a general education requirement, and, much to my surprise, I discovered that I loved history. I took another history class, then another, still slogging through my pre-med courses. During my junior year, I spent a semester studying in Dublin, Ireland, and it was here that I began to realize that history was going to be more than just a hobby for me. Maybe it was walking around a city where history seemed to have been made on every corner, or maybe it was the excitement of walking into the National Library and doing real research with historical artifacts. I was hooked.
After taking a year off from school and working at a contemporary art museum in Minneapolis, I earned my doctorate in history from Northwestern University, just outside Chicago. In graduate school I continued to study Irish and British history, spending almost a year living in Dublin while I researched my dissertation on Dublin’s housing projects. After graduate school, I taught for several years at a small liberal arts college in the South, where I learned to love good BBQ and dread the summer heat.
In 2009, I was excited to return to the Midwest and begin teaching at Simpson. At Simpson, I teach a range of classes, from modern Europe to urban history to courses in Indian and Chinese history. What’s great about my job is that I’m constantly learning new things and getting to share great books and ideas with students every day. Since my own study abroad experience was so transformational, I particularly appreciate Simpson students’ involvement in study abroad. I’ve taken students to Britain and Ireland for May Term, and I’m excited to be heading to India for May Term 2013.
When I’m not teaching, you might find me exploring Des Moines with my husband Mike and our daughter Sofia, planning a summer camping trip, visiting family in Minnesota or Wisconsin (Go Packers!), singing in a community chorus, or curled up with a good book.
Hello! My name is Tayler Acton, and I was born in Spirit Lake, Iowa. For those of you who don’t know, Spirit Lake is often associated with Okoboji, Iowa located in the Northwestern area of the state. I recently moved to Mooresville, North Carolina, so with a foot in both doors I am able to spend my summers on a lake and my winter breaks in sixty degree weather. I will be a junior in the fall and I have sincerely enjoyed my Simpson experience. I plan on graduating in April 2015 with a Biology Major and a Minor in Chemistry and Spanish. After Simpson, I plan on attending medical school and eventually becoming a doctor. When I am not doing things for my classes, I am usually found hanging out in my Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. While there I love to watch movies (anything with Will Ferrel or a lot of action), play video games, or just hang out with my friends. Before Simpson, I played basketball and baseball in High School as well as being a member of the National Honors Society and FCA club. During the summers I work as a waiter at a restaurant in Spirit Lake, boat, water ski, and support my old baseball team. I am very close with my family which consists of my dad, mom and little sister; I have no pets, but I am definitely more of a dog person than a cat person.
This fall I will be your Simpson Colloquium Leader for the class, “Dystopias.” I am very outgoing and excited to meet all of you this summer to help you find a Simpson experience of your own. Together we will be conquering the various dystopian worlds we will be exploring as well as overcoming the transition into college life. I am on Facebook and Twitter and feel free to send me an email, (Students and Parents alike!) so we can get to know each other even more. Until then, I look forward to seeing you in June and helping you start a college adventure of your very own!
I’m Erica Barz, and I’m a junior English major with minors in Multimedia Journalism and Women’s Studies. I’m going to be your Writing Fellow next year, which basically means that if you need any help with papers and assignments and such, I’m your girl. I’ll also be helping Taylor, your Simpson Colloquium Leader, make sure you have some fun along the way, too.
I hail from La Porte City, IA, an adorable little town with one stoplight about two hours northeast of Simpson where I attended Union High School. While there, I was heavily involved in vocal and instrumental music, theater, individual and group speech, NHS, volleyball, softball, and tennis.
Here at Simpson, I keep myself pretty busy. I still participate in vocal and instrumental music, and I am now the president of Simpson PRIDE, a member of the Sequel staff, and one of the founding members of Musaic, an all-female acapella group on campus. I live in the Women’s Resource Center as well.
In my clearly abundant spare time, I like to hang out with my friends, read, catch up on the TV I’ve missed, and play some good old Nintendo. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and email, so feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to get to know me a little better. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and helping to make your transition to Simpson as smooth as possible.