Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9193-1844

AccessType

Campus-Only Access for One (1) Year

Document Type

dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Afro-American Studies

Year Degree Awarded

2022

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Britt Rusert

Second Advisor

James Smethurst

Third Advisor

Cameron Awkward-Rich

Subject Categories

African American Studies | American Literature | Literature in English, North America | Other English Language and Literature | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Abstract

This dissertation, Conjuring New Worlds: Black Women’s Speculative Fiction and the Restructuring of Blackness, examines Black speculative fiction as a site of theorization within worlds where Black existence has not already been pre-determined by the forces of slavery and ideologies of race and culture in a white supremacist world. In this sense, my dissertation models ways of reading Black literature that demonstrates how Blackness can disturb, rather than reproduce, notions of racial meaning and the Human. I argue that writers of Black speculative fiction go beyond the creation of alternative realities to produce sites that allow for nearly limitless possibilities for theorizing Blackness. I chronicle how Black writers including Jewelle Gomez, Nalo Hopkinson, Nnedi Okorafor, and N.K. Jemisin, have made use of speculative forms to rearticulate Blackness in ways that complicate notions of history, identity, and futurity itself. In my analysis of this literature, I employ Black queer and feminist frameworks as they demonstrate the ways that singular and linear notions of time and space cannot fully accommodate the breadth of Black existence. This dissertation frames Black speculative fiction as a project of Black Studies, rather than a revision of science fiction and fantasy, or an escape from the politics of race. In this way, Conjuring New Worlds seeks to demonstrate how Black speculative fiction can inform our conception of the possibilities within Black study to contend with the realities of Blackness in the 21st century such as black ontology, alternative forms of knowledge and sensation, temporality, and the end of the world as we know it.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.7275/28635013

Share

COinS