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On Queens and Monsters: Science Fiction and the Black Political Imagination


“On Queens and Monsters: Science Fiction and the Black Political Imagination” explores how black science fiction, both within and outside of inclusion within the American institution of SF, illustrates and contests the boundaries of black political discourse. Intersecting the fields of African American literary studies, cultural studies, SF studies, black feminist, and black queer theory, I highlight the congruence between dominant readings of Afrofuturism (as a site through which to escape racial alterity) and black political discourses that frame the ‘restoration’ of patriarchy and sexual normativity as preconditions for black community progress. I consider, rather, the political productiveness of ‘uneasiness,’ the discomfort produced by narratives that cannot easily be framed as liberating. Such narratives, found in the works of Pauline Hopkins, Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due, and Nicole Sconiers complicate the meanings of resistance and challenge the normative gender, sexual, and familial arrangements to which black politics often ascribe.

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