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Reading Groups

Decolonizing Science Fiction and Fantasy with Ana Klimchynskaya

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Four Sessions Mondays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT June 19 to August 7, 2023

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 10% discount from our Bookstore.

Meeting Dates:
6/19, 7/10, 7/24, 8/7
Online via Zoom

Science fiction and fantasy have a long and intimate relationship with empire; science fiction, in particular, coalesced into its most prominent and “canonical” expression during the height of European imperialism in the nineteenth century. Often full of literally inhuman—alien, supernatural, or mechanical—characters, it has historically used such fantastical Others as dehumanizing allegories for real-world peoples. This reading group will consider two recent SFF novels—Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire and R.F. Kuang’s Babel—that “flip” this narrative, taking on the perspective of the outsider to examine the practices through which empires maintain their cultural and political domination and draw distinctions between who is human and who is Other.

Participants should read the following in advance of the first meeting: A Memory Called Empire, pg. 1-241 (this should be the ending of one of the interludes).

What to expect from this reading group: Four meetings will consist of a mix of discussion and lecture that offers historical and genre context; there will also be optional secondary readings.


Led by

  • edited headshot - Ana Klimchynskaya

    Ana Klimchynskaya

    Ana Klimchynskaya

    Dr. Anastasia Klimchynskaya is a scholar of science fiction and an instructor at Loyola University Chicago. She has taught, published, and presented widely on science fiction and the history of science, including appearing as a recurring co-host on the Rosenbach Museum’s virtual series Sundays with Frankenstein, teaching courses on Frankenstein, Jules Verne, early science fiction, and Science Fiction Film, and contributing SF criticism to