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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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Dystopian Impulses, Feminist Negativity, and the Fascism of the Baby’s Face

Dystopian Impulses, Feminist Negativity, and the Fascism of the Baby’s Face

(p.57) 2 Dystopian Impulses, Feminist Negativity, and the Fascism of the Baby’s Face
Old Futures

Alexis Lothian

NYU Press

Building on the insights of the previous chapter, the second chapter of part 1 turns to feminist dystopian fiction written by antifascist British women between the First and Second World Wars. Man’s World (1926) by Charlotte Haldane and Swastika Night (1937) by Katharine Burdekin use divergent strategies to route modernity’s futures through reproductive bodies, troubling oppositions twenty-first-century critical theory tends to naturalize: between heteronormativity and its others, queer and straight time, futurity and negativity, deviant and normative pleasures. Both novels revolve around the production of futurelessness—not just an undesirable world for some, but the notion that the future could end altogether. This negative speculation resonates with the queer project of articulating a politics that might not rely on reproduction: a futureless politics. At the same time, both Haldane and Burdekin insist that same-sex desire can all too easily appear as one of the various interlocking forces that set in place politically horrifying futures. This convergence of reproductive oppression with homoerotic nationalism calls forth concerns and conflicts in queer studies over the ways in which nonheterosexual bodies, communities, and politics have participated in the perpetuation of racial and colonial violence.

Keywords:   British fiction, dystopia, eugenics, fascism, feminism, negativity, queer, race, reproduction, violence

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