English 9211A

Indigenous Futurisms

Instructor: Professor Pauline Wakeham.
Fall Half Course.

What role does Indigenous storytelling in its varied forms play in envisioning—and building—futures beyond colonization? Guided by this question, our course will engage with a range of literature, drama, and film that challenges settler colonialism’s longstanding efforts to relegate Indigeneity to the past. While a growing body of Indigenous speculative storytelling and science fiction has been generated in recent decades, such artistic visions of the future are not a new innovation amongst Indigenous nations of Turtle Island (North America). Nor is such storytelling reducible to responses to colonial apocalypse. As Anishinaabe scholar Grace Dillon avers, “incorporating time travel, alternate realities, parallel universes and multiverses, and alternative histories is a hallmark of Native storytelling tradition, while viewing time as pasts, presents, and futures that flow together like currents in a navigable stream is central to Native epistemologies.”[i] In this way, Indigenous futurisms is a movement built on the longstanding knowledges, stories, and creative brilliance of Indigenous nations. It is a movement that imagines and inspires sovereign Indigenous futures.

 

[i] Grace Dillon, “Native slipstream.” The Fictions of Stephen Graham Jones: A Critical Companion, edited by Billy J. Stratton, University of New Mexico Press, 2016, pp. 343-56.