Date of Graduation

12-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Constance Bailey

Committee Member

Robin Roberts

Second Committee Member

JoAnn D'Alisera

Keywords

indigenous futurism, meta-slavery, Nnedi Okorafor, postcolonial literature, science fiction, speculative fiction

Abstract

In recent years, a number of authors have written science fiction works that express the concerns and experiences of marginalized people groups, including those in postcolonial societies, Indigenous/First Nations peoples, and other racial minorities. These works provide counter narratives to that of much canonical science fiction, which developed from narrative forms that often explicitly and implicitly supported colonial ideologies, and still often includes these ideologies today. This thesis analyzes the way The Book of Phoenix (2015) by the NigerianAmerican speculative fiction author Nnedi Okorafor uses a combination of the forms of Indigenous futurism and what Isiah Lavender terms meta-slavery narratives in order to challenge the hegemonic ideologies of Western science fiction. Through the fictional LifeGen Technologies, Okorafor draws attention to the continuation of the racist ideologies that informed slavery and colonialism into today’s systems, thus highlighting the modern exploitation of people of color. The character of Phoenix provides an example of ways to resist hegemonic ideologies, such as community, self-definition, and non-Western ways of viewing the world.

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