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Speculative Fiction and Decolonial Thought

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Organizer: Smaran Dayal

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This seminar is concerned with a very straightforward question: What is the place of  speculative and science fiction in imagining alternatives to the oppressive orders of life in colonial modernity? How might we best understand the complex conceptual and political work carried out by literary Afrofuturism (Lavendar III & Yaszek 2020), Africanfuturism (Okorafor 2019), Indigenous futurism (Dillion 2012), feminist and queer SF (Lothian 2018), progressive science fiction from the global South, and other liberatory strands of speculative fiction?

This panel welcomes papers on authors as varied as—but not limited to—Nnedi Okorafor, Tade Thompson, Louise Erdrich, Claire G. Coleman, Begum Rokeya, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany, N.K. Jemisin, Nino Cipri, Sameem Siddiqui, Omar El Akkad, P. Djèlí Clark, Akwaeke Emezi, Manish Melwani, Masande Ntshanga, Vandana Singh, Colson Whitehead, Chang-Rae Lee, Ling Ma, Cherie Dimaline, Ahmed Saadawi, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Daniel H. Wilson. Of particular interest is how we might understand the relationship of speculative and science fiction to post- and decolonial thought, abolitionist imaginaries, and non-Western and Indigenous cosmologies. Particular attention to questions of genre, form, authorship, and the political function of literature are emphatically welcomed.

*The term "decolonial" is used here to refer to a multiplicity of theoretical and political approaches oriented against (settler) colonialism, white supremacy, and the afterlives of slavery, and is not limited to the decoloniality paradigm born out of Latin American Subaltern Studies.

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