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Program Archive
Viewing convention Program information from 2012

Session Details

304. Octavia Butler and Ethnic American Speculative Fiction

Friday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 305, WSCC

Program arranged by the Division on Ethnic Studies in Language and Literature

Presiding: Susan Tomlinson, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston

1. "Still the Master's House? Home-Building Anxiety in Octavia Butler's Kindred," Koritha Mitchell, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

2. "Breaking Down Binaries: The Function of the Fantastic in Nnedi Okorfor's Who Fears Death," Jennifer Miller, Valparaiso Univ.

3. "Octavia Butler's Kindred and the Problem of Intimate Violence," Wanda Raiford, Univ. of Iowa


  • American Literature – General

Author Comment
Subject: Homebuilding Anxiety handout
For those who didn't get Koritha Mitchell's handout...

Your comments and questions are quite welcome!

A working definition of "homebuilding anxiety"
“The palpable tension that emerges when black women, in particular, invest in homebuilding even while seeing the signs that it will not yield for them the respectability and safety that it should.” (“Unbearable Burden” 1059).

First articulation of this concept in
Mitchell, Koritha. “Mamie Bradley’s Unbearable Burden: Sexual and Aesthetic Politics in Bebe Moore Campbell’s Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine.” Callaloo 31.4 (2008): 1048–1067.

Much of my work centers on the impact of racial violence on the home:
My book, Living with Lynching (University of Illinois Press, 2011), is particularly concerned with this, as a way of recuperating how blacks affirmed each other at the height of lynching rather than simply protesting and trying to convince whites to stop the violence.

Writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also understood that victimizing black families also brought destruction to white families and communities. I examine a play NOT discussed in my book that highlights white suffering in

Mitchell, Koritha. “Sisters in Motherhood(?): The Politics of Race and Gender in Lynching Drama.” Gender and Lynching: The Politics of Memory. Ed. Evelyn Simien. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 37 – 60.

For those interested in Octavia Butler, you should not miss this new book>>>
Hampton, Gregory. Changing Bodies in the Fiction of Octavia Butler: Slaves, Aliens, and Vampires. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2010.