Imagining Global Female Futures in Black Speculative and Science Fiction
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The goal of this study stems from one primary question: how are black women’s futures currently being imagined in works of cultural production? In this dissertation, I make the case that speculative and science fiction is currently trending as a medium through which to radically reimagine black women’s subjectivity around the world. Moreover, the futures conceptualized in these films and texts provide a refreshing perspective on how black women are theorizing about their subjectivities. Their imaginings also challenge us to reconsider what theorizing looks like, and reflect on widening the scope of black women’s discourses of difference. In the readings of my focal works, I trace three main tensions present in transcontinental works typically characterized as black speculative and science fiction. The first is the impact of ecological abuse on black women’s lives. The second tension involves the transgression of national boundaries (i.e. immigration, diaspora, displaced populations). The third and final tension includes exploitative gender relations within the postcolonial African context (i.e. postcolonial power structures, women’s role in framing nationalist discourse). Within the context of my dissertation chapters, each of these three tensions is addressed through archetypal imagery. Through my reading of figures like the zombie, cyborg, vampire, superhuman, and a figure I call the anthropomorphoid, I demonstrate how these texts and films explore black women’s subjectivity. Ultimately, I conclude that these archetypes position black women as agents of change and producers of knowledge who not only survive but are instrumental to the construction of a global future.
Rico, Amanda Renee (2018). Imagining Global Female Futures in Black Speculative and Science Fiction. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from