Anna Bunting-Branch (UCL) - 2014-15 Students

Towards a methodology of feminist science fiction in practice

In my practice-related research, I read feminist science fiction stories (by Joanna Russ, Sally Miller Gearhart, Suzette Haden Elgin, Octavia E. Butler, Raphael Carter, Vandana Singh and others) together with the work of philosopher Luce Irigaray to address some enduring problems that trouble feminist movement: from the political mobilisation of ‘women’ and the philosophical figure of the feminine, to the questionable status of the body and contested discourses of sexual difference.

My thesis explores the intersections between different modes of practice, including art, philosophy and science, as well as consciousness-raising, genre fiction and fandom.  Re-framing these practices in the context of science fictional methods – such as defamiliarisation, worldbuilding, thought experiment, and sense of wonder – I suggest, in Irigaray’s words, that ‘things could be thought differently’ (1996, 43).  Can a methodology of feminist science fiction allow sites of past failures and present-day contestations to be reimagined as generative sites for future practice?

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