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Strange Matings: Hybridity and Miscegenation in Octavia Butler's Fiction
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies. (Kulturvetenskapliga forskningsgruppen (KUFO))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7640-0639
2016 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

“Strange matings” is a quotation from African American science-fiction writer Octavia Butler’s fifth novel, Wild Seed (1980) – it also serves as the title of the second book entirely devoted to Butler’s work.[1] Nothing could be more appropriate since there are intimate encounters between humans and different species in a number of her narratives from the Clayarks (a quadruped hybrid human-alien species) in her first published novel Patternmaster (1974) to the Ina (vampires) in her last novel, Fledgling (2005). The protagonist of this novel is a genetic experiment, a hybrid, whose African American ancestry is the solution to a problem but, at the same time, means that her family members are murdered due to enduring racist ideas originating in American slavery, which in this speculative novel has spread to another humanoid species. In many of her novels, Butler addresses the racist notion of miscegenation both literally and figuratively. Many of her main characters are what other characters often regard as miscegenated offspring; many are also placed in situations where they have to embrace, or at least accept, inter-species biological relations and reproduce differently in order to survive and possibly develop. In this paper, I will focus on how Butler portrays “strange matings” and imagines different family constellations for hybrid protagonists against the backdrop of American ideas of miscegenation.

[1]Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler (2013) edited by Rebecca J. Holden and Nisi Shawl.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Octavia Butler, hybridity, miscegenation, American literature
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-47291OAI: diva2:1049912
Swedish Association for American Studies (SAAS) conference, Göteborg, 30 September-1 October, 2016
Available from: 2016-11-26 Created: 2016-11-26 Last updated: 2016-11-26

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