Syllabus drafted, and…

Syllabus drafted, and I'm not going to tweak it anymore tonight. (During the semester, probably.) I'm a little bummed that I have almost nothing representing Latino/a writers, and very little from Middle Eastern-American writers or Native American writers either. The course as it stands is essentially in three parts: African-American, post-colonial, and Asian-American. Yes, I know that's a weird division, but that's how the material shook out. There are some strong thematic threads unifying each group, although, of course, a ton of variety within them as well. Hopefully, if I teach the course again in future, I can find more material from those underrepresented groups. Although then it really would need to be a year-long course.

Clarkesworld shines as a contemporary publisher of some awesome stories by writers of color; mad props to the editors. I think I need an additional 'core novels' list or some such -- N.K. Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms would go on it, for example, and Larissa Lai's Salt Fish Girl (I'm cranky I ran out of room in my syllabus to include either), along with basically all of Delany and Butler, for starters. Big thanks to Nisi Shawl for editing the relevant volume of the WisCon Chronicles -- a big help.

I'm too sleepy to say anything else coherent, so I'm toddling off. Syllabus follows, as promised; I tried to strip out some of the mundane course business, but I didn't get it all. If you want a prettier PDF or Word version, e-mail me; I'm happy to share.

ENG 474:  The Invisible Made Visible: Writers of Color in American Speculative Literature

Course Description: 

In this course we will examine speculative literature authored by American writers of color.  Speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making -- any piece of literature containing a fabulist or speculative element.  Writers of color will primarily be limited to non-white writers, although the nuanced details of that definition will be discussed further during class. 

Required texts:

Dark Matter, ed. Sheree Thomas
WisCon Chronicles vol. 5:  Writing and Racial Identity, ed. Nisi Shawl
So Long Been Dreaming (Mehan / Hopkinson)
Tales of Neveryon, Samuel R. Delany
Dawn, Octavia E. Butler
Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
Half-World, Hiromi Goto
Course-pack from bookstore

Week 1:

1/14 	Mon:  �Biting Tongues,� Amal el-Mohtar
	�The Bechdel Test and Race in Popular Fiction,� Alaya Dawn Johnson (

1/16 	Wed:  "Mary Anne Mohanraj Gets You Up to Speed:  Part I," John Scalzi's Whatever (
Sheree R. Thomas, �Introduction:  Looking for the Invisible,� Dark Matter
	Honor�e Fanonne Jeffers, �Sister Lilith,� Dark Matter

1/18 	Fri:  �Racial Identity and Writing:  A Dozen Writers and Thinkers Reflect � Part One,� ed. Eileen Gunn, WisCon Chronicles 
W.E.B. Du Bois, �The Comet,� Dark Matter
	Jewelle Gomez, �Chicago 1927,� Dark Matter�

Week 2:

1/21	Mon:  NO CLASS:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

1/23	Wed:  Charles Saunders, "Why Blacks Should Read (and Write) Science Fiction," Dark Matter
Robert E. Howard, �Queen of the Black Coast� (
Charles Saunders, Imaro excerpt (course-pack)

1/25	Fri:  Charles Saunders, Imaro (course-pack) and "Gimmile's Songs," Dark Matter
	�Racial Identity and Writing:  A Dozen Writers and Thinkers Reflect � Part Two,� ed. Eileen Gunn, WisCon Chronicles 
Week 3:

1/28	Mon:  �Racial Identity and Writing:  A Dozen Writers and Thinkers Reflect � Part Three,� ed. Eileen Gunn, WisCon Chronicles 
Walter Mosley, "Black to the Future," Dark Matter
	Evie Shockley, �Separation Anxiety,� Dark Matter

1/30	Wed:  Nalo Hopkinson, �Introduction,� So Long Been Dreaming; �Greedy Choke Puppy� and �Ganger (Ball Lightning),� Dark Matter; �Riding the Red,� So Long Been Dreaming

2/1	Fri:  Samuel R. Delany, "Racism and Science Fiction," Dark Matter
	Samuel R. Delany, "Aye, and Gomorrah," Dark Matter

Week 4:

2/4	Mon:  �Racial Identity and Writing:  A Dozen Writers and Thinkers Reflect � Part Four,� ed. Eileen Gunn, WisCon Chronicles 
Samuel R. Delany, Tales of Neveryon

2/6	Wed:  Samuel R. Delany, Tales of Neveryon

2/8	Fri:  Samuel R. Delany, Tales of Neveryon

Week 5:

2/11	Mon:  �Racial Identity and Writing:  A Dozen Writers and Thinkers Reflect � Part Five,� ed. Eileen Gunn, WisCon Chronicles 
Charles W. Chesnutt, �The Goophered Grapevine,� Dark Matter

2/13	Wed:  Steven Barnes, "The Woman in the Wall," Dark Matter 
Derrick Bell, "The Space Traders," Dark Matter

2/15	Fri:  Ama Patterson, �Hussy Strut,� Dark Matter
	Octavia E. Butler, "The Monophobic Response," Dark Matter

Week 6:

2/18	Mon:  Octavia E. Butler, Dawn

2/20	Wed:  Octavia E. Butler, Dawn

2/22	Fri:  Octavia E. Butler, Dawn
Paper #1 Thesis Due
Week 7:

2/25	Mon:  �Racial Identity and Writing:  A Dozen Writers and Thinkers Reflect � Part Five,� ed. Eileen Gunn, WisCon Chronicles 
Draft of Paper #1 Due; Workshop

2/27	Wed:  �The Russ Categories,� M.J. Hardman, WisCon Chronicles 

3/1	Fri:  Suzette Mayr, �Toot Sweet Matricia,� So Long Been Dreaming
	Amal el-Mohtar, �Selkie Stories Are For Losers,� Strange Horizons (
�WisCon, Stories, and Ontological Blackness� Maurice Broaddus, WisCon Chronicles 

Week 8:

3/4	Mon:  Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death
	Paper #1 Due

3/6	Wed:  Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death

3/8	Fri:  Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death 

Week 9:

3/11	Mon:  �Racial Identity and Writing:  A Dozen Writers and Thinkers Reflect � Part Six,� ed. Eileen Gunn, WisCon Chronicles
�Ooku� excerpt, Fumi Yoshinaga, WisCon Chronicles 
E. Lily Yu, "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees"

3/13	Wed:  Amal el-Mohtar, �Song for an Ancient City,� and �The Meaning of This Translation,� WisCon Chronicles; �The Green Book,� Apex Magazine

3/15	Fri:  Jaymee Goh, �The Dirigible of Dreams:  Steampunk, Race, Histories, and Visions of Inclusivity,� WisCon Chronicles
	Karin Lowachee, �The Forgotten Ones,� So Long Been Dreaming

Week 10:

3/18	Mon:	Jane Irwin, �Restarting Clockwork Game:  A Self-Examination of White Privilege Through an Ongoing Work,� and �Excerpts from Clockwork Game,� WisCon Chronicles

3/20	Wed:  Eden Robinson, "Terminal Avenue,"
	Celu Amberstone, �Refugees,� So Long Been Dreaming 

3/22	Fri:  Greg Van Eekhout, �Native Aliens,� So Long Been Dreaming
	Ken Liu, �Paper Menagerie,� io9 

Week 11:

4/1	Mon:  Aliette de Bodard, �Scattered Along the River of Heaven,� Clarkesworld; �Shipbirth,� Asimov�s

/3	Wed:  Vandana Singh, �The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet,� Trampoline and �Delhi,� So Long Been Dreaming
	Uppinder Mehan, "Final Thoughts," So Long Been Dreaming

4/6	Fri:  Tobias Buckell, "Toy Planes," (handout, from Nature online)
	Los Bros. Hernandez, Mechanix (handout)

Week 12:

4/8	Mon:  Hiromi Goto, Half-World

4/10	Wed:  Hiromi Goto, Half-World

4/12	Fri:  Hiromi Goto, Half-World

Week 13:	

4/15	Mon:  John Chu, �The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere,� and 
�Thirty Seconds from Now�

PRESENTING:  _____________________________________________________
PRESENTING:  _____________________________________________________

4/17	Wed:  Ted Chiang, �Liking What You See� (
	Alice Sola Kim, �Beautiful White Bodies,� Strange Horizons

4/19	Fri:  Ted Chiang, �Stories of Your Life�
	Larissa Lai, �Rachel,� So Long Been Dreaming

Week 14:  

4/22	Mon:  Indrapramit Das, �muo-ka�s Child,� Clarkesworld
	N.K. Jemisin, �Non-Zero Probabilities,� Clarkesworld
Thesis Due

PRESENTING:  _____________________________________________________

4/24	Wed: K. Tempest Bradford, �Until Forgiveness Comes,� Strange Horizons
Saladin Ahmed, �The Faithful Soldier, Prompted, Escape Pod

4/26	Fri:  Outline Due

Week 15:

4/29	Mon:  Final Paper Draft Due

5/1	Wed:	Mary Anne Mohanraj, �Jump Space,� Thoughtcrime Experiments, �The Princess in the Forest,� Bending the Bow, and �WisCon 34 GOH Speech,� WisCon Chronicles

5/3	Fri:  Review and Closing Comments

Additional Reading of Interest

Writer of color SF/F anthologies & magazines (not necessarily American):

AfroSF:  Science Fiction by African Writers, edited by Ivor W. Hartmann
Apex Book of World SF, vol. 1 & 2, edited by Lavie Tidhar
Bending the Bow (Indian SF), edited by Anil Menon and Vandana Singh
Dark Matter & Dark Matter II, edited by Sheree R. Thomas
The Dragon & the Stars (Chinese culture-inspired science fiction), edited by Derwin Mak, Eric Choi and Tess Gerritsen
Indian SF Magazine:
It Happened Tomorrow, Indian science fiction, edited by Bal Phondke
People of the Book:  A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, ed. Rachel Swirsky and Sean Wallace
So Long Been Dreaming:  Postcolonial SF, edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
Three Messages and a Warning:  Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic, edited by Eduardo Jimenez Mayo, Chris N. Brown, and Bruce Sterling
Walking the Clouds:  Indigenous SF, edited by Grace L. Dillon
Wandering Stars:  Jewish SF, and More Wandering Stars, edited by Jack Dann

Single Author Collections:

Chesya Burke, Let�s Play White
Octavia Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories
Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life
Aliette de Bodard, Scattered Among Strange Worlds
Rana Dasgupta, Tokyo Cancelled
Samuel R. Delany, Driftglass, Distant Stars, Atlantis:  Three Tales, Aye and Gomorrah and Other Stories
Minister Faust, E-Force:  Sixteen Stories of Ultra-Freaking Awesomeness
Craig Gidney, Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories
Hiromi Goto, Hopeful Monsters
Nalo Hopkinson, Skin Folk
Alex Jennings, Here I Come
Stephen Graham Jones, The Ones That Got Away
Minsoo Kang, Of Tales and Enigmas
Mary Anne Mohanraj, Silence and the Word
Amal el-Mohtar, The Honey Month
Daniel Jos� Older, Salsa Nocturna
Kiini Ibura Salaam, Ancient, Ancient
Nisi Shawl, Filter House; Something More and More
Yasutaka Tsutsui, Salmonella Men on Planet Porno
Vandana Singh, The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet
Charles Yu, Sorry Please Thank You


The Carl Brandon Society:
The Geffen Award (Israeli SF and Fantasy):

3 thoughts on “Syllabus drafted, and…”

  1. Did you do something strange in how you wrote up this entry? It has VERY long lines and can only be read by scrolling sideways several (seven) times on the top line and almost as many on others??

  2. I found a workaround by pasting the text into a word processor window and reading it there, and then just deleting it when I was done. I will have to keep this option in mind for when such problems occur in the future!

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