Simpson Colloquium SC 101 – Dystopias

Dystopias are bleak imaginary futures that criticize the societies their creators inhabit. These futures are often created by a great catastrophe, which reveals a disturbing world that rises on the ashes of the old. In this class, we will explore classic dystopian visions, such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and recent novels like Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale. We will also see how filmmakers create dystopian visions in films like Children of Men, and in some cases compare different takes on the same story — like the novel A Clockwork Orange and its film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. As part of our exploration of dystopian visions, you then will have the opportunity to envision, research, and create your own dystopia.

Meet Your ProfessorNick Proctor

Nicolas Proctor, Ph.D.

Professor of History

I completed my B.A. at Hendrix College, a liberal arts school that is very much like Simpson in some ways but not in others (it does not have a football team or Greek system and is in a dry county in Arkansas). I thought I wanted to be an art major. Then I thought I wanted to be an English major. Then botany. Then English again. I finally settled on history during my third year, which I spent abroad at Oxford University. History seemed to be the discipline that would be most helpful in figuring out why things were the way they were.

The next year, I finished my degree in history, but I was burned out (Hendrix has a comprehensive examination and mandatory senior research project), so I went into a master’s program in diplomacy and international commerce at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. I completed that degree, but in the course of it I decided that I wanted to focus on dead people instead of world peace. Consequently, I took a year off to work in a bookstore and read Russian novels. After I was through with that I completed a M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from Emory University.

Soon thereafter I was hired on to the faculty at Simpson. Today I teach various courses in American history and the Western Traditions sequence. My first book was Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South (2002). My current project, Forest Diplomacy: War, Peace, and Land on the Colonial Frontier, will be published in the near future as part of the Reacting to the Past series. My other research and writing interests include the secession crisis that led to the American Civil War, the rise of modern art, the Cold War, and zombies.

Meet Your SC LeaderScreen Shot 2014-03-05 at 10.04.40 AM

Natasha Shehade


I’m Natasha Shehade, and will be a junior for the 2014-2015 school year. I’ll be your SC Leader for the colloqium course “Dystopias” with Dr. Proctor. I’m a huge science nerd, but I also have some pretty redeeming qualities (as long as you don’t insult NASA in my presence). I’m a pop culture junkie, making me an expert on all things Kardashian. If you ever need a celebrity/trash gossip fix, I’m your gal.
I’m a biology major with psychology and ethics minors here at Simpson. After my undergrad, I plan to go to medical school to become an obstetrician. Fingers crossed, the game plan is that someday that will land me in Doctors Without Borders.
I’m from the podunk town of Slater, Iowa, and graduated from Ballard High School where I participated in band, color guard, NHS, Knowledge Master’s Open, and speech. Here, I’m involved pretty heavily with my sorority, where I am the event chairman and serve on the academic committee. I also spend a lot of time hanging around the bio department where I’m a teaching assistant and am in the pre-health society. In the scarce time that I have between classes, extra curriculars, homework, and my work study jobs, I like to watch my favorite shows (Gossip Girl and Breaking Bad – a weird dichotomy, I realize), suck up to my professors, listen to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, and Snapchat embarrassing pictures of myself.
I’m excited to get the opportunity to be an SCL again and help you figure out the ins and outs of Simpson College! I’m here if you need anything and want to make your transition as smooth as it can be. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and the obvious, email, so you can contact me whichever way you prefer. I can’t wait to meet you all in June!​

Meet Your Writing Fellowjordan.rude

Jordan Rude

Hello, my name is Jordan Rude and I will be the Writing Fellow for Professor Proctor’s Simpson Colloquium class, “Dystopias.” I will be a senior for the 2014-2015 school year.

I was born and raised in Grimes, Iowa and went to Dallas Center-Grimes High School. There I ran cross-country and track, played soccer and basketball, participated in band, choir, jazz band and jazz choir, and served as NHS president.

Here at Simpson I have a major in History and Political Science and a minor in Psychology. I am in choir, band, pep band, jazz band and saxophone quartet, as well as the speech and debate team and pre-law society. This past May I traveled to Washington D.C. for eight days and during this coming May I will be exploring the First World War in London, Belgium and Paris.

In my free time I like to read, play soccer and watch movies with my roommates. I enjoy old people music from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and will probably annoy you with my humming. I can always be reached by email if you need to contact me with any questions, and I look forward to working with you in the fall.


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