116th Annual Conference - Bellingham, Washington
Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, 2018

Altermundos, Chicanafuturism, and the Science Fiction of Brown America

In print, film, and television science and speculative fiction (SF) have historically privileged the perspectives, subject positions, and political interests of a white, first-world, male cultural dominant. Yet, beginning in the 1970s, feminist SF writers such as Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin, Marge Piercy, and Joanna Russ intervened in the genre to foreground issues relevant to gender and power through provocative dystopian scenarios. Beginning in the late 1990s, films like Last Angel of History (Akomfrah 1998) and works like Sheree Thomas’s two-volume collection Dark Matter (2000, 2005) and special issues of both Social Text (Summer 2002) and Science Fiction Studies (Winter 2007), introduced “Afrofuturism” to a readership increasingly interested in the science and speculative fiction of African Americans. More recently, scholars and artists alike have begun to redirect our attention to the SF of Latinas/os in the United States and throughout Central and South America – as works such as Cosmos LatinosAltermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture, and a special dossier devoted to the topic in Aztlán: The Journal of Chicano Studies (Fall 2015) make clear.

This panel seeks to participate in these important critical conversations about the potential of science and speculative fiction to interrogate, dramatize, and ultimate imagine alternatives to the histories and experiences of racial, economic, and political oppression, particularly as they relate to U.S. Latinos/as. How have U.S. Latinx writers and artists used science or speculative fiction to question the “promises of technology” and science? In what ways do U.S. Latinx writers/artists excavate, create, and/or transform narratives related to identity? In what ways does U.S. Latinx science fiction draw and/or depart from more mainstream SF in the United States? These and similar questions will guide this special session, which takes as its starting point the concept “Chicanafuturism,” a term Catheríne Ramirez coined in 2004 to describe a mode of “cultural production that attends to cultural transformations resulting from new and everyday technologies (including their detritus); that excavates, creates, and alters narratives of identity, technology, and the future; that interrogates the promises of science and technology; and that redefines humanism and the human.”

Status: 
Open (accepting submissions)

Associated Sessions

Topic Type: 
Special Session