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The Subject Of Race In American Science Fiction

Author: Sharon DeGraw
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135864594
Size: 56.35 MB
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While the connections between science fiction and race have largely been neglected by scholars, racial identity is a key element of the subjectivity constructed in American SF. In his Mars series, Edgar Rice Burroughs primarily supported essentialist constructions of racial identity, but also included a few elements of racial egalitarianism. Writing in the 1930s, George S. Schuyler revised Burroughs' normative SF triangle of white author, white audience, and white protagonist and promoted an individualistic, highly variable concept of race instead. While both Burroughs and Schuyler wrote SF focusing on racial identity, the largely separate genres of science fiction and African American literature prevented the similarities between the two authors from being adequately acknowledged and explored. Beginning in the 1960s, Samuel R. Delany more fully joined SF and African American literature. Delany expands on Schuyler's racial constructionist approach to identity, including gender and sexuality in addition to race. Critically intertwining the genres of SF and African American literature allows a critique of the racism in the science fiction and a more accurate and positive portrayal of the scientific connections in the African American literature. Connecting the popular fiction of Burroughs, the controversial career of Schuyler, and the postmodern texts of Delany illuminates a gradual change from a stable, essentialist construction of racial identity at the turn of the century to the variable, social construction of poststructuralist subjectivity today.

Bordering On The Body

Author: Laura Doyle
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195358759
Size: 44.36 MB
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The figure of the mother in literature and the arts has been the subject of much recent critical attention. Whereas many studies have focused on women writers and the maternal, Laura Doyle significantly broadens the field by tracing the racial logic internal to Western representations of maternality at least since Romanticism. She formulates a theory of "racial patriarchy" in which the circumscription of reproduction within racial borders engenders what she calls the "race mother" in literary and cultural narratives. Pairing literary movements not often considered together--Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance--Doyle reveals that this figure haunts the openings of diverse modern novels and initiates their experimental narrative trajectories. Figures such as the slave mother in Invisible Man, Lena Grove in Light in August, Mrs. Dedalus in Ulysses, and Sethe in Beloved, Doyle shows, embody racial, sexual, and metaphysical anxieties which modern authors expose reconfigure, and attempt to surpass. Making use of heterogeneous materials, including kinship studies, phenomenology, and histories of slavery, Bordering on the Body traces the symbolic operations of the "race mother" from Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology to eugenics and twentieth-century fiction. A breakthrough in race and gender theory, a racial reconfiguration of modernism, and a reinterpretation of discourses of nature since Romanticism, the book will engage a wide spectrum of readers in literary and cultural studies.

Bodyminds Reimagined

Author: Sami Schalk
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822371839
Size: 43.63 MB
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In Bodyminds Reimagined Sami Schalk traces how black women's speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds—the intertwinement of the mental and the physical—in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Schalk demonstrates that this genre's political potential lies in the authors' creation of bodyminds that transcend reality's limitations. She reads (dis)ability in neo-slave narratives by Octavia Butler (Kindred) and Phyllis Alesia Perry (Stigmata) not only as representing the literal injuries suffered under slavery, but also as a metaphor for the legacy of racial violence. The fantasy worlds in works by N. K. Jemisin, Shawntelle Madison, and Nalo Hopkinson—where werewolves have obsessive-compulsive-disorder and blind demons can see magic—destabilize social categories and definitions of the human, calling into question the very nature of identity. In these texts, as well as in Butler’s Parable series, able-mindedness and able-bodiedness are socially constructed and upheld through racial and gendered norms. Outlining (dis)ability's centrality to speculative fiction, Schalk shows how these works open new social possibilities while changing conceptualizations of identity and oppression through nonrealist contexts.

Blast Corrupt Dismantle Erase

Author: Brett Josef Grubisic
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press
ISBN: 1554589908
Size: 54.35 MB
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What do literary dystopias reflect about the times? In Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase, contributors address this amorphous but pervasive genre, using diverse critical methodologies to examine how North America is conveyed or portrayed in a perceived age of crisis, accelerated uncertainty, and political volatility. Drawing from contemporary novels such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and the work of Margaret Atwood and William Gibson (to name a few), this book examines dystopian literature produced by North American authors between the signing of NAFTA (1994) and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 (2011). As the texts illustrate, awareness of and deep concern about perceived vulnerabilities—ends of water, oil, food, capitalism, empires, stable climates, ways of life, non-human species, and entire human civilizations—have become central to public discourseover the same period. By asking questions such as “What are the distinctive qualities of post-NAFTA North American dystopian literature?” and “What does this literature reflect about the tensions and contradictions of the inchoate continental community of North America?” Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase serves to resituate dystopian writing within a particular geo-social setting and introduce a productive means to understand both North American dystopian writing and its relevant engagements with a restricted, mapped reality.

Gender Race And American Science Fiction

Author: Jason Haslam
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317574257
Size: 11.25 MB
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This book focuses on the interplay of gender, race, and their representation in American science fiction, from the nineteenth-century through to the twenty-first, and across a number of forms including literature and film. Haslam explores the reasons why SF provides such a rich medium for both the preservation of and challenges to dominant mythologies of gender and race. Defining SF linguistically and culturally, the study argues that this mode is not only able to illuminate the cultural and social histories of gender and race, but so too can it intervene in those histories, and highlight the ruptures present within them. The volume moves between material history and the linguistic nature of SF fantasies, from the specifics of race and gender at different points in American history to larger analyses of the socio-cultural functions of such identity categories. SF has already become central to discussions of humanity in the global capitalist age, and is increasingly the focus of feminist and critical race studies; in combining these earlier approaches, this book goes further, to demonstrate why SF must become central to our discussions of identity writ large, of the possibilities and failings of the human —past, present, and future. Focusing on the interplay of whiteness and its various 'others' in relation to competing gender constructs, chapters analyze works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mary E. Bradley Lane, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Philip Francis Nowlan, George S. Schuyler and the Wachowskis, Frank Herbert, William Gibson, and Octavia Butler. Academics and students interested in the study of Science Fiction, American literature and culture, and Whiteness Studies, as well as those engaged in critical gender and race studies, will find this volume invaluable.

Black And Brown Planets

Author: Isiah Lavender III
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
ISBN: 1626743061
Size: 30.63 MB
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Black and Brown Planets embarks on a timely exploration of the American obsession with color in its look at the sometimes contrary intersections of politics and race in science fiction. The contributors, including De Witt D. Kilgore, Edward James, Lisa Yaszek, and Marleen S. Barr, among others, explore science fiction worlds of possibility (literature, television, and film), lifting blacks, Latin Americans, and indigenous peoples out from the background of this historically white genre. This collection considers the role of race and ethnicity in our visions of the future. The first section emphasizes the political elements of black identity portrayed in science fiction from black America to the vast reaches of interstellar space framed by racial history. In the next section, analysis of indigenous science fiction addresses the effects of colonization, helps discard the emotional and psychological baggage carried from its impact, and recovers ancestral traditions in order to adapt in a post-Native-apocalyptic world. Likewise, this section explores the affinity between science fiction and subjectivity in Latin American cultures from the role of science and industrialization to the effects of being in and moving between two cultures. By infusing more color in this otherwise monochrome genre, Black and Brown Planets imagines alternate racial galaxies with viable political futures in which people of color determine human destiny.

Astrofuturism

Author: De Witt Douglas Kilgore
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812200667
Size: 44.38 MB
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Astrofuturism: Science, Race, and Visions of Utopia in Space is the first full-scale analysis of an aesthetic, scientific, and political movement that sought the amelioration of racial difference and social antagonisms through the conquest of space. Drawing on the popular science writing and science fiction of an eclectic group of scientists, engineers, and popular writers, De Witt Douglas Kilgore investigates how the American tradition of technological utopianism responded to the political upheavals of the twentieth century. Founded in the imperial politics and utopian schemes of the nineteenth century, astrofuturism envisions outer space as an endless frontier that offers solutions to the economic and political problems that dominate the modern world. Its advocates use the conventions of technological and scientific conquest to consolidate or challenge the racial and gender hierarchies codified in narratives of exploration. Because the icon of space carries both the imperatives of an imperial past and the democratic hopes of its erstwhile subjects, its study exposes the ideals and contradictions endemic to American culture. Kilgore argues that in the decades following the Second World War the subject of race became the most potent signifier of political crisis for the predominantly white and male ranks of astrofuturism. In response to criticism inspired by the civil rights movement and the new left, astrofuturists imagined space frontiers that could extend the reach of the human species and heal its historical wounds. Their work both replicated dominant social presuppositions and supplied the resources necessary for the critical utopian projects that emerged from the antiracist, socialist, and feminist movements of the twentieth century. This survey of diverse bodies of literature conveys the dramatic and creative syntheses that astrofuturism envisions between people and machines, social imperatives and political hope, physical knowledge and technological power. Bringing American studies, utopian literature, popular conceptions of race and gender, and the cultural study of science and technology into dialogue, Astrofuturism will provide scholars of American culture, fans of science fiction, and readers of science writing with fresh perspectives on both canonical and cutting-edge astrofuturist visions.

The Sound Of Culture

Author: Louis Chude-Sokei
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
ISBN: 081957578X
Size: 40.52 MB
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The Sound of Culture explores the histories of race and technology in a world made by slavery, colonialism, and industrialization. Beginning in the late nineteenth century and moving through to the twenty-first, the book argues for the dependent nature of those histories. Looking at American, British, and Caribbean literature, it distills a diverse range of subject matter: minstrelsy, Victorian science fiction, cybertheory, and artificial intelligence. All of these facets, according to Louis Chude-Sokei, are part of a history in which music has been central to the equation that links blacks and machines. As Chude-Sokei shows, science fiction itself has roots in racial anxieties and he traces those anxieties across two centuries and a range of writers and thinkers—from Samuel Butler, Herman Melville, and Edgar Rice Burroughs to Sigmund Freud, William Gibson, and Donna Haraway, to Norbert Weiner, Sylvia Wynter, and Samuel R. Delany.

Race In American Science Fiction

Author: Isiah Lavender
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253222591
Size: 45.29 MB
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Noting that science fiction is characterized by an investment in the proliferation of racial difference, Isiah Lavender III argues that racial alterity is fundamental to the genre's narrative strategy.Race in American Science Fictionoffers a systematic classification of ways that race appears and how it is silenced in science fiction, while developing a critical vocabulary designed to focus attention on often-overlooked racial implications. These focused readings of science fiction contextualize race within the genre's better-known master narratives and agendas. Authors discussed include Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, and Ursula K. Le Guin, among many others.

Science Fiction And Cultural Theory

Author: Sherryl Vint
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781138814981
Size: 13.33 MB
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Science Fiction and Cultural Theory: A Readeris an essential resource for literature students studying science fiction, science and popular culture, and contemporary theory. This book combines key theories that have become touchstones for work in the field with more recent thinking to showcase how theoretical paradigms central to science fiction such as posthumanism and mediation have become central to critical theory overall in the twenty-first century. The book is divided into four parts: Gender, Technology and the Body The Science-Fictionalization of Everyday Life Media, Mediation, Science Fiction Posthumanisms Each part will not only to outline the central critical trends in the study of science fiction across media but will also to show dialogue and exchange as these concepts are refined. Each section will conclude with a list of recommendations for further reading. In this volume Sherryl Vintbrings together the most important critical essays and approaches to the study science fiction over the last 40 years to create an ideal resource for classrooms.