Professor Nunn delivers talk regarding race in science fiction

By Grace Apostol

News Co-Editor

On Thursday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall in John S. Toll Science Center, English Professor and Sophie Kerr Scholar Professor Andy Nunn led a discussion on Race and/as Science Fiction.

Chair and Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Sophie Kerr Endowment Professor Courtney Rydel first introduced Professor Nunn to the audience.

According to Professor Nunn’s biographical page on the WC website, she is a resident Sophie Kerr Scholar teaching English courses at WC while finishing her PhD. at University of Maryland. Before coming to Maryland, Nunn graduated from Colorado College.

“Her dissertation explores the unique approach Black science fiction authors take to imagining racialized futures, and how these imaginings are shaped by the past and present realities of Black life in the United States,” the website says.

Professor Nunn took over the talk with a prepared slideshow discussion on race regarding science fiction and how society regards race and science fiction.

“I am going to demonstrate to you here today that this is actually not only the most intuitive, but also the most consistent relationship between two popular obsessions happening in the U.S.,” Professor Nunn said as she introduced her talk on Race and Science Fiction.

Throughout her discussion, Professor Nunn brought up different concepts involved within these topics to the audience. Included in these concepts were the breakdowns of critical race theory as well as transformation of the self within the way that society has inherently worked.

Nunn also brought up Asian representation and Native American representation in Science Fiction and technology.

“The inability to see our past and our future and our present as anything but all part of the same story leads into a state of disillusionment, but also through that disillusionment we’re able to envision new possibilities for the past, for the present, and for the future,” she said. “So it’s all about remaining displaced in order to reconsider what we want to be normal.”

Nunn discussed different projects that she is working on including posthumanism in the way that humans of color have not been given the “dignity of their humanity.”

“In worlds where certain individuals are not considered human, and posthumanism has already happened… how would they tell stories of science fiction,” Professor Nunn said regarding individuals who have already had apocalypse occur, like Native Americans.

To end the discussion, Professor Nunn answered several audience members’ questions that paired with her talk.

One student and audience member was senior and Vice President of SGA Jonah Nicholson who commented on Professor Nunn’s presentation.

To round out the event, Nunn answered a few more questions before ending the discussion

“Science fiction is popular because it takes us somewhere most of the time,” she said. “What we watch, and what we consume when we turn our brains off, is what we consider normal, and what we consider normal is what is worthy of our deepest integration.”

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