De Witt Douglas Kilgore
Can we imagine a future in which the African diaspora is seen as central to the flow of events? This chapter seeks to answer that question through a history of Afrofuturism as a critical term and a critique of the concept as deployed by black and white science fiction writers. The word is presented as a heuristic that makes visible black artistic production of futures that seek escape from dystopian erasures that seem real. The idea captures stories about science, technology, and culture other than those that limit future history to Eurocentric extrapolations. Kilgore argues that the term has allowed both a reconsideration of canonical African-American literature as well as an extension of science fiction’s ability to see prophetically across racial and cultural divides.
This article examines the state of Chinese ecocriticism. It describes the main characters of Chinese ecocriticism and provides an account of its history of which appeared at the beginning to be concerned with ecologies rather than ecology. It describes the works of major Chinese ecocritics including Lu Shuyuan and Zeng Fanren and highlights the limitations or inadequacy of Chinese ecocriticism. This article also highlights the need to establish a practical and open Chinese ecocriticism which can help facilitate exchange and complementarity between China and the West and provide a new paradigm in the dialogue between Chinese and Western literary theory.
This chapter argues that, in order to lend the topic of the relationship between colonialism and science fiction its proper scope, one must articulate the grand historical narratives of colonialism and capitalism with one another while not subordinating either one to the other. It explores this thesis by examining two problems in postcolonial theory: first, the structural differences between dependent colonialism and settler colonialism; second, the construction of a subject position for postcolonial critique that is sufficiently uncompromised by the colonialist affiliations of Western history and philosophy. The chapter argues that the difference between settler and dependent colonialism has important ramifications for the interpretation of major SF texts, and that science fiction affords excellent resources for thinking about the problem of postcolonial subject formation. It concludes with a reading of Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred (1979) developing these ideas.
This article analyzes the practice of ecocriticism in India. It explains that ecocriticism in the Indian context has a unique “advocacy function” both with regard to the reality of the world that it inhabits and “the imaginary spaces it opens up for contemplation of how the real world might be transformed.” It discusses the theories of nature in Indian philosophical schools of thought and mentions that nature is revered as prakriti or “the primordial vastness, the inexhaustible, the source of abundance.” This article also highlights the emerging trends in the socio-cultural spaces of India which call for imaginative ways of an ecocritical engagement with a contemporary ecological dharma.
This article examines the extinction of some animals in colonial and postcolonial Caribbean region, including the Caribbean monk seal and the Creole pig, which became victims of human predatory behavior, unchecked coastal development, and the ecological changes unleashed by colonialism and postcolonial tourism development in the Caribbean basin. This article also discusses the ecological revolution measured in terms of biodiversity losses that have led to the disappearance of thousands of flora and fauna species in the region, some dating back to the earliest decades of the colonization and conquest of the Indies.
This article considers Virginia Woolf’s late writing—The Years, Three Guineas, and Between the Acts—in the context of recent shifts within modernist studies. It examines a range of scholarly narratives about this period of Woolf’s writing, arguing for the importance of considering these three works alongside one another. Faced with the rise of fascism and the onset of World War II, Woolf became increasingly concerned not only with political change, but also with the forms and modes through which the sociopolitical is represented. Her own pacifist, feminist interrogation of the forces of tyranny at home and abroad led her to test out different genres and media as a response to political crisis. In particular, her late writing is characterized by a desire to defamiliarize conventional (whether militaristic or misogynist) ways of seeing and thinking.
This article examines some of the different mappings of the globe by ecocritics and postcolonalists and the role of militarization as a constitutive part of both globalization and planetary thought. It discusses the historical connection between ecological thought and radioactive militarism and describes how postcolonial approaches can contribute an important critique of universalist modes of globalism. It also explores postcolonial ecocriticism’s emphasis on discourses of alterity and difference.
This article examines forms and uses of theatricality in recent African American productions on slavery in the performing and the visual arts. It argues that by deploying modes of the comic, such as satire and parody, along with racial stereotypes, in their engagement with the traumatic history of slavery, contemporary artworks aim to provoke their audiences into an affective relationship with the artwork and the history it represents. In this manner, they seek to bring into focus not the past itself but our present-day reactions to it, asking viewers to reflect on their involvement with the ongoing mimetic and affective legacies of New World slavery. The article discusses Suzan-Lori Parks’s 1996 play Venus and Kara Walker’s 2014 installation A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby as case studies.