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Fall 2023 - Class Option #2

Science Fiction and Detective Literature:
Popular Genres in the Global South

Science fiction and detective literature are genres whose formulaic nature has often been derided or ignored by literary critics. Yet the very formal structures of these genres may be part of the key to their popularity and increasing ubiquitousness. Emerging in England in the nineteenth century from, in part, an urban unease brought on by the colonial encounter, the detective novel form was quickly “translated” back into colonized territories, soon becoming one of the most truly transnational literary genres in the world. Similarly, while science fiction’s early narratives drew from the scenarios and power dynamics of the colonial encounter, it has more recently become a space from which to contest official histories as well as posit decolonial futures. Focusing on the spaces of the Global South, late colonial and postcolonial South Asia and (post)colonial Latin America in particular, this course will trace how and why these popular genres have emerged as a mode of narration with which to confront political and social transformations and contemporary crises.  

Sample texts

Possible outings


Laura Brueck is Associate Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the Comparative Literary Studies Program. She specializes in modern and contemporary Hindi literature, with a particular focus on literatures of resistance, popular literatures, and translation studies. Her book, Writing Resistance: The Rhetorical Imagination of Hindi Dalit Literature, focuses on modern and contemporary Hindi Dalit literature, or resistance writing by those formerly known as “untouchables.” Her new book project considers Indian “pulp” fiction, particularly the genre of detective fiction and crime narratives. She is especially interested in the ways that the socio-political discourse of crime and criminality are reflected in twentieth century Hindi, Urdu, and English detective novels. Brueck teaches courses on South Asian literature in Hindi/Urdu, English, and in translation, Bollywood cinema, Indian epic literature, the theory and practice of translation, and South Asian civilization, with a particular focus on the modern politics of caste, class, and gender.

Emily Maguire is an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where she specializes in the literature of the Hispanic Caribbean and its diasporas. The author of Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography (2011), she has published articles on contemporary Caribbean Literature, Afrocubanismo, Black internationalism, Latinx poetry, and Latin(x) American speculative literature. Her second book, Tropical Time Machines: Science Fiction in the Contemporary Hispanic Caribbean,is forthcoming from University Press of Florida in 2024.