Event Title

“...like the sky, constantly changing”: Queer Futures and the Fluid Alien Body in Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis

Presenter Information

Kayleigh Rhatigan, Dickinson College

Location

Stern Center Great Room

Start Date

18-4-2019 5:30 PM

Description

Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series, published in the late 1980s, theorizes gender, sex, sexuality, and embodiment through the character arc of a half-human, half-alien being. Butler criticizes the policing of gender and sexuality in the United States by devoting a third of her series to imagining the pleasures and possibilities of a fluidly-gendered body of a third sex. Writing during the coalescing of queer movements and contemporary meanings of “queer” that asserted the fluidity of identity, Butler imagines characters whose fluid embodiments challenge the notion that identity is stable. However, Butler remains attentive to histories of racial injustice and systemic power imbalances in the United States. She imagines a future in which queer embodiments do not inherently dismantle existing hegemonies, and in fact can be complicit in the enforcement of unequal power structures.

Presentation Type

Presentation

Comments

Advisor: Professor Claire Seiler

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Apr 18th, 5:30 PM

“...like the sky, constantly changing”: Queer Futures and the Fluid Alien Body in Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis

Stern Center Great Room

Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series, published in the late 1980s, theorizes gender, sex, sexuality, and embodiment through the character arc of a half-human, half-alien being. Butler criticizes the policing of gender and sexuality in the United States by devoting a third of her series to imagining the pleasures and possibilities of a fluidly-gendered body of a third sex. Writing during the coalescing of queer movements and contemporary meanings of “queer” that asserted the fluidity of identity, Butler imagines characters whose fluid embodiments challenge the notion that identity is stable. However, Butler remains attentive to histories of racial injustice and systemic power imbalances in the United States. She imagines a future in which queer embodiments do not inherently dismantle existing hegemonies, and in fact can be complicit in the enforcement of unequal power structures.