Violence and Autonomy: Indigenizing Speculative Fiction (PAMLA 2022)
Speculative fiction has become the space in which imaginings of the future proliferate not totally free of the specter of history but free from the fatalism that subaltern communities often are forced to cope with under the weight of that history. As such, Indigenous writers, both in the US and in the rest of the world, have turned to the genre as a way to construct futurisms of survivance and resistance. If the weight of history has and does manifest itself in violence, both physical and otherwise, then the question of autonomy is central, for violence is perhaps the most basic violation of the individual and the communal. In this context, speculative fiction has become a key component in the indigenous fight to regain personal and communal autonomy from narratives of erasure and abjection.
Indigenous literature often subverts Western expectations and in doing so highlights the grievances of the dispossessed. This dispossession most viscerally takes the form of violence, to the body, to the community, and to the land. Historically, these marginalized communities have been kept from academia and silenced in discussions. Speculative Fiction, then, has become an outlet, a genre in which marginalized peoples can discuss the atrocities inflicted on them and create worlds where this oppression is dismantled and destroyed. Holding space to discuss this Speculative Fiction in academia and critically review its social critique brings the voices of the dispossessed to the forefront and gives them power over the narratives of their people. It is with these goals in mind that we feel it is imperative and essential to hold a panel not just on indigenous literature but Indigenous Speculative Fiction so as to represent the full scope of Indigenous voices in literary discourse.
This panel is to be held at PAMLA 2022 in Los Angeles, California at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center and Hotel between Friday, November 11 and Sunday, November 13, 2022.
For more information, please feel free to reach out or go to: https://www.pamla.org/pamla2022/