Have we arrived at a post-racial future?Many visionaries of the twentieth century predicted a future in which race and ethnic distinctions would be eliminated through technology. Mainstream science fiction in the mid-twentieth century often confirmed this idea or reinforced racial stereotypes in novels, stories, and films. Yet not all speculative fiction has elided questions of race. Afrofuturism is a movement in literature, music, art, and film that has developed alternative visions of the future from the perspective of the African diaspora, as in the recent blockbuster film Black Panther.Other authors and artists have also articulated alternative futurisms including Latina/o, indigenous, and Asian American futurisms in novels, stories, music, comics, films, and the visual arts.
This course will examine conception sand representations of race and ethnicity in speculative fiction.We will look at alternative visions of the future as well as how contemporary authors engage with scientific theory and twentieth century classics of science fiction.Authors we will read include Junot Díaz, Octavia Butler, and Ruth Ozeki. We will also watch films and examine literary criticism to ask how “ethnofuturism” may critique racism now, in the twenty-first century.Writing tasks will require you to engage with the work of others and articulate a position as a literary and cultural critic.Assignments for the class include weekly reaction papers, a 3-4 page review of a book or film of your choice, a short textual analysis, and a 6-8 page essay on one of the texts for the class.