English 166

Special Topics: Black Science Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2017 Serpell, C. Namwali
TTh 3:30-5 130 Wheeler

Book List

Butler, Octavia: Dawn; Delaney, Samuel: Babel-17; Duffy, Damian: Kindred: A Graphic Novel; Johnson, Mat: Pym; LaValle, Victor: Destroyer; Laymon, Kiese: Long Division; Lovecraft, H.P.: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; Schuyler, George: Black No More

Other Readings and Media

Screenings of a Star Trek episode (1966), Sun Ra, Space is the Place (1974), John Sayles, The Brother from Another Planet (1984). Stories by Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, W.E.B. DuBois, Samuel Delaney, Derrick Bell.


This course addresses two genres—black fiction and science fiction—at their point of intersection, which is sometimes called Afrofuturism. The umbrella term “black fiction” will include texts that issue out of and speculate about the African-American experience. The category “science fiction” will comprise texts that speculate about alternative, cosmic, dystopian, and future worlds. Overlapping—and mutually transforming—concepts will include: genetics, race, diaspora, miscegenation, double consciousness, technology, ecology, biology, language, history, futurity, space (inner and outer), and, of course, the alien. We will consider stories, novels, graphic novels, comics, films, music, and television clips. 

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