To (Not So) Boldly Go: Science Fiction as Instrument of Colonial Enterprise (Roundtable NeMLA 2016)

Jessica Gray's picture
Call for Papers
September 30, 2015
Connecticut, United States
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies, Literature

To (Not So) Boldly Go: Science Fiction as Instrument of Colonial Enterprise (Roundtable)

Both science fiction and postcolonial theory are concerned with troubling normative understandings of movement, diaspora, and hybridity. Indeed, “The Stranger in the Strange Land” is an oppositional trope that is at the heart of both science fiction and historical colonial encounters. The other-worldliness and futurity of science fiction has offered numerous writers an effective (and increasingly popular) medium to critique political, social, and cultural issues, and in many ways presents an ideal literary landscape to interrogate the colonial enterprise. Even so, there is a relative lack of postcolonial voices in the mainstream SF genre. What accounts for this silence? The purpose of this roundtable is to investigate and explore via a lively conversation how science fiction might fail to disrupt – and conversely further enshrine – colonial hegemony. How do works of science fiction that overtly deal with issues attendant to an emerging postcolonial identity still paradoxically capitulate to a western, heteronormative value system? How is the postcolonial subject further marginalized, and the associated bodily, racial, and gender issues disembodied when figured within an “alien” Other? How might institutional barriers of the genre affect the emergence of a postcolonial science fiction? Submissions might consider the ways various science fiction texts, series, and films represent or respond to postcolonial themes.

Please submit 250-500 word abstracts by September 30, 2015. Visit, and follow the instructions there to create an account and submit the abstract directly to the session. The direct link to the session is

Roundtable Chair: Jessica H Gray, University of Rhode Island

Contact Info: 

Jessica H Gray
University of Rhode Island

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