‘To (Not So) Boldly Go’: Science Fiction as Instrument of Colonial Enterprise

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 
jhgray@my.uri.edu

Both science fiction and postcolonial theory are concerned with troubling normative understandings of movement, diaspora, and hybridity. Indeed, “The Stranger in the Strange Land” is an oppositional trope that is at the heart of both science fiction and historical colonial encounters. The other-worldliness and futurity of science fiction has offered numerous writers an effective (and increasingly popular) medium to critique political, social, and cultural issues, and in many ways presents an ideal literary landscape to interrogate the colonial enterprise. Even so, there is a relative lack of postcolonial voices in the mainstream SF genre. What accounts for this silence? This panel seeks papers that explore how science fiction fails to disrupt – and conversely further enshrines – colonial hegemony. How do works of science fiction that overtly deal with issues attendant to an emerging postcolonial identity still paradoxically capitulate to a western, heteronormative value system? How is the postcolonial subject further marginalized, and the associated bodily, racial, and gender issues disembodied when figured within an “alien” Other? How might institutional barriers of the genre affect the emergence of a postcolonial science fiction? Papers might consider the ways various science fiction texts, series, and films represent or respond to postcolonial themes.
Please submit 250-300 word abstracts. Visit nemla.org, and follow the instructions there to create an account and submit the abstract directly to the session. The direct link to the session is https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15231

Panel Chair: Jessica H Gray, University of Rhode Island

cfp categories: 
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
popular_culture
postcolonial
science_and_culture