Reimagining Human Futures with Octavia Butler
This course explores the work of speculative fiction writer Octavia Butler, recipient of the Hugo and Nebula awards and a MacArthur “genius.” Credited with influencing the field of Afrofuturist studies, Butler rendered a dystopian vision of the world, one rooted in her own experiences as a Black woman in twentieth-century America. Like all good literature, her work says something important about the period in which she wrote. It was also eerily prescient and can serve as a lens turned on our current moment of political instability, climate change, inequality, social disorder, and the Movement for Black Lives. The course will incorporate original texts alongside supplemental materials and will focus on the recurring themes of race, gender, sexuality, environmentalism, reproduction, social hierarchies, and varied meanings of human. There has never been a more apt and rewarding time to reexamine Octavia Butler’s award-winning work and to reimagine human futures.
Butler, Octavia E. Kindred. Beacon Press, 2003.
---. Fledgling. Grand Central Publishing, 2007. ISBN-10: 0446696161.
---. Parable of the Sower. Earthseed Series. Grand Central Publishing, 2000. ISBN-10: 0446675504.
Duffy, Damian and John Jennings. Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation. Abrams Comic Arts, 2018. ISBN-10: 1419728555.
STEPHANIE TROUTMAN is Assistant Professor of Emerging Literacies in Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English. She is an affiliated faculty member in the Institute for LGBT Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies, and Faculty Coordinator of the award-winning Wildcat Writers outreach program and Director of the Southern Arizona Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project. She is an editor for the groundbreaking new series “Queering Teacher Education Across Contexts,” and co-editor of Race & Ethnicity in US Television.
MONICA J. CASPER is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Inclusion and Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In spring 2016, she taught a course on gender, race, and superheroes for the Humanities Seminars Program. More information can be found at www.monicajcasper.com.