• Utopia/Dystopia, Race, Gender, and New Forms of Humanism in Women's Science Fiction
  • Drage, Eleanor Guistina Prudence <1991>


  • L-LIN/10 Letteratura inglese


  • This thesis aims to uncover new forms of humanism grounded in a critique of systems that produce and reify race and gender by staging a conversation between six contemporary works of science fiction (SF) written by women from Italy, France, Spain, and the UK, and five acclaimed theorists in the fields of gender, queer, postcolonial, humanist, and cultural studies: Judith Butler, Rosi Braidotti, Gayatri Spivak, Paul Gilroy, and Jack Halberstam. As outlined in the second chapter, I focus, in particular, on Butler’s conception of subjects who ‘become’ through affective encounters, Braidotti’s critical posthumanism, Spivak and Gilroy’s respective notions of ‘planetarity,’ and Halberstam’s theory of a ‘queer art of failure.’ In doing so, this thesis asserts the complementarity of academic and science fictional enquiries into what I view as examples of new forms of humanism that arise from historicised interrogations of systems of race and gender. The first chapter introduces the way in which SF appeals to women writers who embrace the genre’s political energy and its anti-racist, anti-sexist, and humanistic potential by tracing a genealogy of European women’s SF from the seventeenth century to the present day. The second half of the thesis reads examples of politically charged SF from my corpus alongside the critical theory outlined in the second chapter, in order to demonstrate how SF engages with new forms of humanism through a critique and reformulation of issues of race and gender. I follow this analysis with an exploration of the way in which SF’s unique spatial attributes can probe the borders of the planetary humanisms or ‘planetarity’ proposed by Gilroy and Spivak. I finally assess, by way of a conclusion, the extent to which SF can reassemble and amplify the achievements of these new forms of anti-racist and anti-sexist humanism.


  • 2019-03-29


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Drage, Eleanor Guistina Prudence (2019) Utopia/Dystopia, Race, Gender, and New Forms of Humanism in Women's Science Fiction, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Dese - les litteratures de l'europe unie/ european literatures/ letterature dell'europa unita , 31 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/8828.