Communication and Humanities


Nicholas Boyer



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Nicholas Boyer, Philosophy & English
Faculty Mentor: Professor Lorna Perez, English

This project explores Afrofuturism and Speculative Black Fiction, genres that use the conventions of sci-fi and speculative fiction to speak to the social conditions of Afro-diasporic peoples. While there is wide variety in the genre, conventions like time travel, magic, and the supernatural all function within this fiction to create a commentary on the continued oppression of Afro-diasporic peoples. My project specifically examines two novels—Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring—each of which use the conventions of the genre in very different ways. While Butler’s text uses the convention of time travel to point to the ways that we are never free of the past, and its traumas are written on our bodies even centuries later, Hopkinson uses the conventions of a future dystopia to point to the ways that drawing on a vibrant and resistant African past can allow the narrator to overcome evil and violence and imagine a different future. In the midst of this, the characters use the powers of spirituality, rooted in African diasporic experiences, to resist and survive in an urban wasteland. In both, young black female protagonists are forced to confront, literally and figuratively, the violence of their forefathers, and conquer them in order to ensure their own survival. My research examines these battles with the past, and with the patriarchal figures in the novel, using thinkers like Franz Fanon, Toni Morrison, Ytasha L. Womack, Reynaldo Anderson and Charles E. Jones, and André M. Carrington, among others.

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Arts and Humanities

Confronting the Sins of Our Fathers: Black Women's Speculative Fiction
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