Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in American Studies


Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Katharine Schaab

Second Advisor

Lauren Thompson

Third Advisor

Rodolfo Aguilar


This thesis employs a critical white feminist lens to analyze themes of human migration in two contemporary feminist dystopian texts: the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale and Louise Erdrich’s 2017 novel Future Home of the Living God. This work draws from fields and frameworks such as reproductive justice, migration studies, and Indigenous studies to create a nuanced critique of both texts and interrogate the ways whiteness impacts the feminist dystopian heroine’s story and, potentially, audience reception. I assert that HMT and FH can best be understood as a mirror for the current state of mainstream, white feminism in North America, especially in the United States, albeit through different lenses due to differing identities of their authors and protagonists. Furthermore, the feminist dystopian subgenre—which has been criticized for its limited relatability to diverse audiences—is currently undergoing increased racial and ethnic diversification, as evidenced by women of color-authored texts such as Future Home of the Living God. I argue that these texts paint a more complete picture of what threats women and girls face under totalitarian regimes and can inspire social change to prevent the bleak potential futures the authors describe.