Within the overall structure of your time in DCC, 208 is where you identify and explore some of the skills, processes, and areas of inquiry you will develop further in the capstone project you will propose toward the end of the semester. In this section, we will use creative engagement with speculative fiction as our starting point to analyze intersecting systems of structural oppression and contemplate emergent possibilities for justice and transformation.

In her 1993 novel Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler wrote: “There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.” This class will offer an opportunity to spend time under new suns, as they have been imagined by creators of speculative fiction whose radical imaginations challenge oppressive structures of gender, race, sexuality, capitalism, and empire. In the new worlds, unexpected pasts, and transformative futures imagined by feminist, queer, and antiracist cultural producers, we can find tools that open up possibilities for transforming our own present.  Over the course of this semester, we will read and discuss works of speculative fiction while engaging with them in creative ways––adapting works for different forms and applying their insights to real-world situation. As the course progresses, texts for discussion will be determined by student interest as you pursue individual interests and commitments through their own speculative world-building projects.

By the end of the course, you will develop:

  • familiarity with scholarly and cultural conversations around speculative fiction
  • understanding of the significance of cultural production to social justice movements
  • fluency with frameworks of racial, gender, economic, and disability justice
  • skills and experience in multiple formats of speculative critical and creative practice

Required texts (available via online reserve via ELMS or 2-hour loan at McKeldin Library)

  • Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower. Grand Central Publishing, 2019 (first published 1993). Latest edition preferred, but earlier editions are acceptable.
  • Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown (eds.), Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. AK Press, 2015.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed. HarperPerennial, 1974. Any edition is acceptable.
  • Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts. Akashic Press, 2017.