Date of Degree

6-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Kandice Chuh

Committee Members

Peter Hitchcock

Eric Lott

Subject Categories

African American Studies | American Literature | Ethnic Studies | Indigenous Studies | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority

Keywords

Indigenous Futurism, Afrofuturism, Critical Indigenous Studies, Black Studies

Abstract

This dissertation unfolds along two trajectories, the first following from an ascendant interest in minoritarian traditions in speculative and science fiction and the second following the reiterative conversations across Black and Indigenous Studies. Science fiction theorizing is introduced as a frame for thinking these two trajectories together, with science fiction texts by authors Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler, Gerald Vizenor, Leslie Marmon Silko and Samuel Delany providing a paraliterary mode of imagining the planetary from which to understand the interconnected processes of settler colonialism and trans-Atlantic slavery. Science Fiction theorizing across these texts disrupts notions of linear progressive time, human/alien boundaries, indigeneity and diaspora in ways this dissertation argues can articulate both the structural and social forms of relation between blackness and indigeneity. While the science fiction texts read here are all concerned with in some way critiquing the western humanist tradition, it is also crucial to understand science fiction by Black and Indigenous authors as models of world building, that is the theoretical elaboration of a concrete spacetime transformed from the here and now. This dissertation concludes with a consideration of the sociopolitical uses of world building translated from a science fiction context to the movements for decolonization and prison abolition.

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