Indigenous people occupy a paradoxical position in time. On one hand, as survivors of genocide and occupation, they are already post-apocalyptic, occupying what many Indigenous thinkers argue is “our ancestor’s dystopia.” On the other hand, Indigenous people are relegated to the past in settler and colonial discourses, which, in relying heavily on notions of contact, authenticity, and vanishing, preclude Indigenous peoples from not only futurity, but from modernity and associated visions of science and technology too. This tutorial explores how Native science fiction imagines and enacts futurity from this paradoxical Indigenous temporality. Looking across numerous national and transnational Indigenous contexts, in addition to different kinds of media, including short stories, novels, visual art, video games, films, and online platforms like second life, this tutorial foregrounds the ways in which science fiction functions as a mode of Indigenous theory, knowledge production, and claiming of not only the future but of the past and present, as well. Pairing media readings with works in science fiction and Indigenous studies, we will explore the role of indigeneity in the founding and tropes of European and settler science fiction, Native “slipstream” and eco SF, post-post-apocalyptic thinking, space travel and frontiers, Native pessimism, and Indigenous technologies and epistemologies cast into the future. We will pay careful attention to the political stakes of these narratives and expression for Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
attendance and participation, weekly 2- to 4-page written responses to class readings, short fiction prompts, and your partner's writing
permission of instructor
American Studies majors and Science and Technology Studies concentrators
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course will underscore the ways in which structures like race, gender, sexuality, and colonialism are deeply imbedded in every form of cultural production, and will highlight how imagining the future otherwise has real impact and import in the lives and political existence colonized people.
AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora