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Signature Assignment: Original Speculative Fiction Sources: Course Texts: This essay assignment concerns the following pieces of speculative

Signature Assignment: Original Speculative Fiction

Sources:

Course Texts:

This essay assignment concerns the following pieces of speculative futurism:

  1. Chairman Sarris’ “After the Fall,”
  2. Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ “Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals,”
  3. Abigail Larkins’ “A Séance in the Anthropocene,”
  4. Mike McClelland’s “Secrets of the Last Greenland Shark”
  5. Nalo Hopkins’ “Midnight Robber,”
  6. William Sanders’ “When this World is All on Fire”
  7. Gary Lee Christensen’s “The Star Nation Messages: An Invitation for Humanity to Evolve”
  8. Any other source from this course or from outside this course (e.g. Black Elk Speaks, selections from Racial Ecologies, selections from Intergenerational Trauma and Healing, Will the Circle Be Unbroken…” , Dr. Lyla June Johnston’s talks, Serene Thin Elk’s talk, “The Restorative Revolution,” “Tending the Wild: Cutlural Burning,” “The Importance of Cultural Burning in Forested Regions…” and/or other course or out-of-course texts and narratives)

Assignment Description:

For this assignment, you will write an original piece of “Speculative Fiction” modeled after “After the Fall,” “Undrowned…,” “A Séance in the Anthropocene,” “Secrets of the Last Greenland Shark,” “Midnight Robber,” and/or other course texts and narratives.  Please also feel free to use texts or narratives from other sources.   

“Speculative Fiction” is a very broad category of literature (and spoken narrative) that includes many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, slipstream, visionary testimonials, prophecies, Indigenous- and other futurisms, and others. One characteristic shared by all speculative fiction is that it emphasizes what could be rather than what is.  Although it is most often associated with futurisms, “speculative fiction” also includes narratives that imagine the past or the present in new and imaginative ways, emphasizing what could have been. In general, then, “speculative fiction” contrasts with “mimetic fiction,” or the attempt to depict characters, plots and settings in the ‘real world,’ and includes the possibility of alternative views of spiritual, physical, or emotional realities, past, present, and future.  This could include responses to historical and emergent traumas through shape-shifting, magic, time travel, interstellar travel, shifting dimensions, traveling on the astral plane, interactions with other-than-human relatives, including all living things, as well as spiritual beings or beings defined as extraterrestrial, and many other possibilities.  A work of “speculative fiction” might extend a warning about the near- or distant future consequences of colonialism, oppression, exploitation, ecological destruction, or other dynamics that define the Anthropocene.  While these and many other experiences are ordinarily considered impossible in postindustrial societies and their (our) reductive sciences, speculative fiction often breaks the ‘laws of physics’ and allows us to differently imagine pasts, presents, or futures. 

Please write a piece of “speculative fiction” that depicts hope, inspiration, or solutions to emerging and predicted challenges (e.g., settler colonialism and neocolonialism, genocide, slavery, corporate hegemony, climate change, mass extinctions, or other) or provides a warning about the consequences of human choices, attitudes, beliefs, practices, and so on) or that otherwise addresses racial ecologies, intergenerational trauma, cultural and ecological revitalization, or other themes we have looked at in AMCS/NAMS 240.  

Please feel free to be creative and have fun with this unusual assignment!

Rubric

There are two main components to this paper:

  1. An original work of “speculative fiction” of 300-1000 words (1-4 pages, double-spaced, 12pt. font), that depicts hope, inspiration, or solutions to emerging and predicted challenges, provides a warning about consequences, or otherwise addresses and depicts themes or topics we have looked at in AMCS/NAMS 240—40pts.
  1. A reflection of 125-250 words (1/2-1 page, double-spaced, 12pt. font) in which you explain how you drew inspiration from at least one specific course reading (video, podcast, guest lecture, or any other course source), point out at least one theme or topic we have looked at in AMCS/NAMS 240, and reflect on how topics, information, or understanding in your short story relate to your prior educational experience and provide alternatives for a more equitable, resilient, secure, or sustainable future—10pts.

Total: 50pts.

Submission to Canvas, Due: Tuesday, May 14, by 11:59pm.

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