Through the lens of speculative fiction, this course seeks to query what happens to race at the end of the world. We will explore how fictional dystopias imagined by Asian American and African American authors refract and reframe very real histories of racism, colonialism, sexism, and homophobia, urging us to think beyond the present and beyond the human. How does imagining the future, in other words, help critique the here and now? This junior research seminar will combine contemporary literature and film with critical writing on biopolitics, globalization, capitalism, and climate change to think through urgent questions of life and death, survival and memory. Possible authors/filmmakers include: Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Bong Joon-Ho, Larissa Lai, Chang-rae Lee, Ling Ma, Colson Whitehead, and Karen Tei Yamashita.
This is a Junior Research Seminar, designed to introduce students from all backgrounds to a variety of literary research methods and academic writing skills. Assignments include an annotated bibliography, creative writing exercises, and a final research project.