Speculative Fiction as Activism
At the heart of speculative fiction is the question, “what if?”
What if wizards and magic existed? (Harry Potter)
What if the world as we know it ends, and water is so scarce that it becomes a tool of power? (Mad Max)
What if there’s a shadow-world beneath our feet, in which our shadow-doppelgangers live in squalor and darkness? (Us)
Because of its inherent questioning of the world as we know it, speculative fiction is ripe with potential for activist writers. Our political causes, whether environmental justice, prison abolition, disability justice, reproductive justice, or otherwise, demand that we envision the post-struggle world for which we’re fighting. Through speculative fiction, we can imagine worlds in which things have gone totally wrong/right; and craft stories in these worlds that can change how our readers think about the state of our real society.
In this class, we’ll watch Wanuri Kahiu’s short film “Pumzi” (CW: physical aggression against women). We’ll discuss why this speculative film is an activist work, as well as how Kahiu builds this world. Students will then take a deep-dive into their own speculative writing through a guided series of world-building exercises and an extended writing session. Students will leave class with an understanding of speculative fiction, techniques for world-building, and new visions for their political cause.
This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!
Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.
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