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Old FuturesSpeculative Fiction and Queer Possibility$
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Alexis Lothian

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479811748

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479811748.001.0001

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Utopian Interventions to the Reproduction of Empire

Utopian Interventions to the Reproduction of Empire

Chapter:
(p.33) 1 Utopian Interventions to the Reproduction of Empire
Source:
Old Futures
Author(s):

Alexis Lothian

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479811748.003.0002

The first chapter of part 1 (A History of No Future: Feminism, Eugenics, and Reproductive Imaginaries), argues that distinctions between queer and straight time are not always uncomplicated or obvious. The chapter takes up feminist utopian fiction that revolves around the racial and national politics of reproduction, focusing on two little-read British novels—New Amazonia (1889) by Elizabeth Burgoyne Corbett and Woman Alive (1936) by Susan Ertz—while contextualizing the many utopian fictions published by white US- and UK-based women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Critiquing the tendency to associate reproducing bodies and reproductive labor with maintenance of the status quo, the chapter uncovers ambiguous queer possibilities within the futures imagined by middle-class white women reckoning with what it meant to be charged with the eugenic reproduction of modernity, Englishness, and empire. These speculative narratives highlight breaks and bends in normative time articulated through the intersection of class, colonial, and racial imaginaries with questions of gender and desire. They have much to tell us about how feminist politics of reproduction and gendered embodiment function at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and race with mechanisms of white supremacy and state power.

Keywords:   British fiction, empire, eugenics, feminism, futurity, gender, modernity, reproduction, utopia, whiteness

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