My PCA Abstract

by Dr Davis on April 19, 2011

Speculative Fiction Representations of Rape: From the Survivor’s Perspective

Fantastic literature is popular at least partially because it “challenge[s] the received notions of reality” (Armitt 7), which allows it to break expectations on a regular basis. An exploration of speculative fiction’s representations of rape can create “a new knowledge pertaining to the ideological necessities of a text’s silences and deletions” (Sielke 5) and it is particularly apt for an examination of the voices of rape survivors, since it deals with “that which evades articulation” (Jackson 37) and rape often “exists as an absence or gap” (Higgins and Silver 3).

Fiction frequently features an “aestheticized rape narrative” (Stockton 16), a mediated rhetorical interpretation of a fictitious event (Sielke 2) and a cultural representation which constructs a particular view of rape (Bal 101). “[W]ho gets to tell the story and whose story counts as ‘truth’ determine the definition of what rape is” (Higgins and Silver 1), especially in a text where dialogue and narration limit the reader’s access to information. Alternatively literature provides an avenue for noticing the silenced voice, because the authors indicate to us when there are silences.

Looking at the works of four different speculative fiction authors who tell stories of rape survivors—Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth Moon, and David Weber—offers an opportunity to talk about a topic that is often silenced.

I will be presenting on Saturday, at 4:45 pm. (And there appear to be only two speakers for our session. Perhaps I can do the nine pages!)

6216 Science Fiction/Fantasy (Ginn): Violence against Women and Children in the Worlds of SFF: RC-Salon I
Session Chair: “I’m sick of this” : Gendered Racial Violence and Resistance in Rabbit Fall
Teghan Barton, Carleton University
Speculative Fiction Representations of Rape: From the Survivor’s Perspective
Suanna H Davis, Houston Community College: Central

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ReadyWriting 04.20.11 at 8:33 am

Wow, your interests are as varied as mine! Have you read Nalo Hopkinson’s work? The Robber Bride has one particular rape scene (it is also pedophilia and incest, so, yeah, the trifecta, I guess).

Wish I could be there. I adore speculative fiction/sci-fi (MA thesis was on magical dyspopias). Sounds like a lot of fun (and by fun, I mean, intellectually stimulating and just really interesting).

2 Dr Davis 04.20.11 at 3:51 pm

Yes, very varied. Had to put a mindmap together to show how what I was doing related to other things I was doing. Turns some people off (in hiring) and intrigues others.

I figure, I may never be “the” expert on a field, but I can have multiple important contributions to a number of disparate studies.

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