In the Hard Times (and the Good): Solidarities Beyond Race and Gender in Critical Utopian and Dystopian Women’s Science Fiction

Eleanor Drage


As global inequality increases, solidarities are put to the test. With global dissent expressed through the election of a populist president by 53 percent of American white women and 29 percent of Latino Americans, the anti-racist and feminist movements must find new ways to usher in support. Critical utopian and dystopian science fiction written by women from the late 1960s onwards point to how productive solidarities can be forged that go beyond “shared” race and gender. Joanna Russ’ 1975 feminist critical utopia The Female Man explores how four versions of one woman, living in four interplanetary moments, must not only reconcile themselves with one another’s differences, but use them to create a stronger resistance to patriarchy. Thirty-nine years later, Jennifer Marie Brissett’s Elysium (2014) employs a similar layering and blurring of characterisation to forge unexpected solidarities between its non-white characters, but this time it is a broken, post-apocalyptic computer code that creates its own connections in the newly composite script. These novels discard the idea that women and people of colour automatically see eye-to-eye, and instead move parallel to feminist and/or anti-racist theories of their day to point to how hardier, more inclusive, and more successful communities of solidarity and resistance can be forged in times of acute global insecurity. 

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ISSN 2465-2415


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