n Gender Questions - Fictions of immanence : gender-fluidity in the science fiction of Angela Carter and Octavia Butler - research

Volume 5 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2309-9704



This paper reads Deleuze-Guattarian and new materialist theories alongside two landmark works of speculative science fiction by Angela Carter and Octavia Butler that queer normative conceptualisations of gender and sexuality. These theoretical and fictional explorations argue that subjectivity should be reconceptualised as immanent rather than fixed. Utilising uncanny affective registers, they attempt to push rigid ideas about gender/sex toward more fluid configurations that affirm a heterogeneity of lived experiences, situating subjectivity along lines of becoming. To execute such moves, Deleuze and Guattari propose a kind of experimental and experiential rupturing process; a mechanism for accessing what is immanent to everyday experience, rather than governmental. This is particularly useful for exploring transgender and other minoritarian subjectivities. By invoking breaks or ruptures from habituated ways of thinking and feeling, as these philosophers suggest, writers, artists and theorists might succeed in creating points of emergence around which new configurations and relations of gender-fluid identities might coalesce. I will investigate how Deleuze and Guattari, as well as Carter and Butler, who wrote before the emergence of transgender studies during the 1990s, paved the way for nomadic conceptions of sexuality, gender and lived contradiction.

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