Event Title

Contextualizing Jewelle Gomez's The Gilda Stories within a Black (Queer) Literary and Cultural Tradition

Presenter Information

Brandi Metzger, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A247

Start Date

10-27-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

This research project examines the relationship between representations of power and the culture of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre that includes the subgenres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, among others. White, heterosexual, and male characters have dominated the popular aspect of the speculative genre--they star in most of our movies and fan fiction, become our children’s action figures, and are cloned via costume over and over again at our comic conventions. By implication, white hetersexual men have overshadowed some of the groundbreaking work of writers from historically marginalized backgrounds. I have found that many black writers of speculative fiction have used the genre to represent the very real powers that black (queer) people wield against forces that aim to erase their existence. My research will analyze these representations of power and how these representations are currently helping the black speculative fiction claim more visibility in popular culture than ever before. I also want to examine the discourse that is growing between black speculative fiction and greater black literature. My research has begun with Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories, which is a speculative horror novel about a black lesbian vampire whose blackness, queerness, and womanhood have shaped her relationship with power, both natural and supernatural.

Notes

Session II, Panel 5 - Art | History
Moderator: Matthew Rarey, Assistant Professor of Art History

Major

Creative Writing; Africana Studies

Award

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF)

Project Mentor(s)

Gillian Johns, English

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Oct 27th, 4:30 PM Oct 27th, 5:50 PM

Contextualizing Jewelle Gomez's The Gilda Stories within a Black (Queer) Literary and Cultural Tradition

Science Center A247

This research project examines the relationship between representations of power and the culture of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre that includes the subgenres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, among others. White, heterosexual, and male characters have dominated the popular aspect of the speculative genre--they star in most of our movies and fan fiction, become our children’s action figures, and are cloned via costume over and over again at our comic conventions. By implication, white hetersexual men have overshadowed some of the groundbreaking work of writers from historically marginalized backgrounds. I have found that many black writers of speculative fiction have used the genre to represent the very real powers that black (queer) people wield against forces that aim to erase their existence. My research will analyze these representations of power and how these representations are currently helping the black speculative fiction claim more visibility in popular culture than ever before. I also want to examine the discourse that is growing between black speculative fiction and greater black literature. My research has begun with Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories, which is a speculative horror novel about a black lesbian vampire whose blackness, queerness, and womanhood have shaped her relationship with power, both natural and supernatural.