Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Comparative Literature

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Jorge Camacho

Abstract

This dissertation consists of a bio-political reading of a wide variety of Latin American, American, and British works of science fiction, written from 1919 to 1989. In this project I have analyzed how works of science fiction in different historical and geographical contexts deal with issues such as eugenics, racism, fear of the alien, the threat of nuclear global conflict, etc. I have made a conscious effort to demonstrate that Latin America has been part of global phenomena such as the Cold War, and has produced a wide and rich corpus of science fiction works that deal with these global issues, as well as with local political or social circumstances particular to the nations where these works were written and read. My project demonstrates that Latin America is no stranger to Modernity, and has articulated its own understanding of what Modernity is; this can be seen in several of the works of that I have analyzed.

In this project I have also confronted prejudices and misconceptions about science fiction: I argue that science fiction is not an escapist genre, unworthy of critical attention; far from it, this genre is ideal for engaging in conversations about the way in which technology shapes our world, our personal relationships, and our understanding of ourselves and others. In a similar way, I confront prejudices against the graphic novel and the comic book, demonstrating that the medium of graphic narrative is well-suited for dealing with issues of great importance, in a rich and complex way. Finally, this project contributes to the study of Latin American science fiction, which (especially in the context of Colombian literary criticism) has been neglected in academia for way too long.

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