My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

January 17, 2024: Spring Semester Previews: Intro to Sci Fi/Fantasy

[As this new semester gets underway, it does so amidst a particularly fraught moment for teaching & learning the Humanities. So for this week’s Semester Previews series I’ll highlight one thing from each of my courses that embodies the value of the Humanities for us all—leading up to a special weekend post on MLK Day and the Humanities!]

For last year’s Spring Previews series, I wrote about my excitement to teach a new (to my syllabus) 21st century fantasy novel in this course, Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch (2011); for the first time ever I’m teaching Intro to Sci Fi/Fantasy in back-to-back years, and am just as excited to teach Okorafor’s book now that I’ve seen how well students respond to it. It’s also a great example of the power of representation, of what it means to read a fantasy novel (a genre that for too long was dominated, at least stereotypically, by Anglo characters and authors alike) whose main characters are Nigerian and author is Nigerian American. That’s a crucial value of the Humanities, full stop. But I would add that Okorafor’s novel likewise illustrates another and just as important stake of both fantasy storytelling and a class like this—the power of the imagination. Her main character Sunny learns throughout the book just how much there is to the world beyond what she knew, and how much becoming part of all of it is necessary for her and the world’s future alike. I’d say the same for all of us, and reading and engaging speculative storytelling is one exciting and effective way to do just that.

Next preview tomorrow,


PS. What do you think?

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