Nalo Hopkinson, Afrofuturism, and Black Women as Technological Explorers

Cherie Ann Turpin

University of the District of Columbia


Stereotypes regarding Black women and intellectual abilities have proven to be extremely difficult to unravel by those who seek to build a counter-text to them.  Such beliefs assume that the presence of Black women in these fields are antithetical to dominant ideological notions of leaders in science and technology as being exclusively White and male.  Despite recent gains in unraveling racism and sexism embedded in North America’s perceptions of young black women potential leaders in science and technology, much work is still needed to counter the lasting impact of discrimination and discouragement that serves as a de facto tool of disenfranchisement with regard to African American women. 

Nalo Hopkinson’s novels serve as a persistent and significant literary process of dismantling these stereotypes in order to recover Black womanhood from degradation while creating new terrain in Africana women’s speculative/science fiction. This process expands an ongoing development of ideas about where and how people of African descent could position themselves as intricate parts of human collectives and unknown futures, both real and virtual.  Further, imagined worlds where Black women are leaders serves as a strong challenge to the weakened but still existing stereotypes of Black women as non-intellectual and incapable of academic excellence in science and technology.  

2019 National Conference
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