Racism in Sci Fi films (Extra Credit)

When you think of Sci Fi films you might think of aliens or non human beings with or against humans. The Science Fiction Symposium showed many great films about racism in science fiction. I enjoyed listening to the presentations about racism in Sci Fi films. They presented Sci Fi films that I haven’t seen or even heard of before. They talk about films like Blade Runner (1982)  and Captive Wild Woman, explaining the film and quotes related to the topic of racism with pictures of the film and quotes.

I’ve only watched a few episodes of the Twilight Zone and I enjoyed them. Each episode I watched, was very interesting and mysterious. But I’ve never watched the episode “I Am The Night – Color Me Black” or “The Encounter” which showed such racism. In “The Encounter”, it represented an historic moment of a Japanese American and a World War Two veteran. In the episode the war veteran killed a Japanese soldier  already surrendered who was the Japanese American father. At one point the veteran also said he was told to think the Japanese as inhuman. Due to its racial overtone, it was taken down. From history, during World War Two Japanese Americans were forced to be in internment camps by the United States. By today’s standard that would be racist and would never happen.

Till this day I still haven’t watched Blade Runner, even though I’ve been recommended to watch many times. Sadly most of it was spoiled to me during this presentation. In the movie Blade Runner (1982) directed by Ridley Scott, and written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, there are artificial beings also called replicants. The movie showed that humans were hostile to these replicants that were not functioning as the normal. The replicants were so highly advanced and human like, it required a lengthy test to determine whether it was human or not. When the replicants were trying to flee the planet, the main character Rick Deckard was hired to kill them all. But by the end of the film, us the viewers still don’t know whether the main character is human or a replicant. In the film the white replicants were shown as superior compared to the other colors. I do also question why AI or androids are shown as white.

Captive Wild Woman seemed like a strange film. A mad scientist transforming a gorilla into a woman. In the film this woman was the only person of color. Already showing racism being the only colored person while everyone else is white even though throughout the movie the character wasn’t treated differently from other white woman.

Even in Science Fiction, there is racism in different forms whether aliens or AI. Just like the real world, it’s an issue. The Science Fiction symposium was great at presenting the topic of racism in science fiction. It was a good insight on sci fi films that I haven’t seen before, which now makes me want to watch them.

Paper Session 2: Film

The Pulps and Golden Age Session at the Science Fiction Symposium (Extra Credit)

This session of the Science Fiction Symposium talks about the subject of Race in Science Fiction. Chris Leslie being the main presenter starts off by showing how race became solidified around the 19th century, with about 4 groups and each of them having their own aptitudes and possibilities and strong statements about Race in 1853-1877 with “An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Race , Types of Mankind and Ancient Society“. He then goes on to show how there are 3 distinct stages of civilization among this topic, Barbarism, savagery and civilization. Also on how the concept of culture is tied to biology, as coined by Lewis H. Morgan in 1877, a key factor for this topic. There are four stages for this as per “The Trend of Human Progress (1899)” that being Savagery, Barbarism, Civilization and Enlightenment along 3 activities and vary, with Aesthetics, Innovation and Society. Currently in our current time, Science Fiction with race has been on the rise per humanity growing up along with science fiction as it starting to grow in the 1920s.

Some racism lurking in early science fiction would be in Lee Hawkins Garby and E.E. Smith’s “Skylark of Space, 1928” (one light race and one darker race being liberated from subjugation). Edward H. Keller’s “The Feminine Metamorphosis, 1929″ with women plot failing when races are mixed. Finally also with Stanley G. Weinbaum’s “A Martian Odyssey , 1934″ due a defending by a tool belt. Decemeber 1926: cover without story, “The Fate of the Poseidonia, 1927″ and “Graduate of Smith” found in Weird Tales, all by Clare Winger Harris being part of this as well.

Clare Winger Harris is a big one for this factor, as from winning 3rd place from “The Amazing Stories“, comes along with “The Menace of Mars, 1928” which is also part of Amazing Stories comes with that the Universe is always in a change of pace, as with here the planets are starting to get closer. This story comes with the thought that Mars has no civilization, but there is a chance there their possibly is one. As with finding out that one does exist with it being full of aliens, a civilization in Venus is gone and they go ahead and attack Earth. However, the amount of water that is on Earth saved it from being destroyed. The Resistance of this being that Menace “of” Mars is used instead of the typical Menace “from” Mars, implying that the aliens are the real menace and not those on Earth. There is also “The Ape Cycle” from 1930 in which a scientist family named Stoddard begin breeding intelligent apes with a desire to find more servants to lead some kind of ape rebellion. The resistance with this is that the family is non-meritorious, meaning they have no seeing in this going right.

Another person to talk about with be L. Taylor Hamsen with her work of “The Man from Space, 1930″. This is about frat brothers talking about origins of a supernova and end up confronting a creature from a different world and causes them to realize about human cognition, meaning they are not a hive mind at all, they cannot be heroes, there is no point and to just live out what is going on with society. The resistance being that it has less than serious and astute male characters, as well as competing theories that either debunk this or there are other theories out there. “Prince of Liars” is another one of her works on how it talks about gentlemen scientists arguing about relativity. They end up finding out that ancient Egyptians had advanced science ahead of their time. The resistance here being that science was better off in the past and there was a bid dispute among the elite, only elites can talk about this, no one else can.

Scientific Racism is shown in a way that isn’t really obvious and would have to be looked into deeper, even if the story or passage is by a well-known author. Harris and Hansen are easier to see since they talk about the topic on hand within the story out in the open.  Before 1950, homogenous races were challenged and tied to biology, like a how a beehive works. This session end also with lessons on how to challenge issues regarding race and those who have talked about it in the past more in-depth and hidden under everyone who read these stories.

(This session was from 12:50pm-1:35pm, right after the student roundtable)

Class Notes 11/17/2020

Peer review of Annotated Bibliographies:

  • Split up into groups of 3-4 people and look over each other annotated bibliographies.  
  • Write comments in the google doc about your peer’s annotations; give feedback


  • Do annotated bibliographies even if you still didn’t do them. 
  • Worth 10% of your grade 


Research Project Individual Conferences 

  • Sign up if you haven’t already


Work on individual research project

  • Research project guide can be found under the assignments category. 
  • Presentation last week of class


Next Class:

Attend City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.

  • Info about the symposium can be found under schedule for 11/19 and in your email
  • Our Class Roundtable starts at 12pm. Come during our regular class time at 11:30am.


Due tomorrow: Revised annotations 


Extra Credit opportunity: Attend additional parts of the symposium and write a blog which is due by 11/22



Research Project Individual Conferences with Professor Belli

*Reply to this post listing, indicating which slot you want. Scheduling is first-come, first-served. Please do not request a time slot that has already been taken/requested (unless you absolutely can’t make any other slots–because you have another class or job–in which case you can ask another student–in the comments–to switch with you).

Research Project Individual Conferences with Professor Belli

  • These conferences are a time for you and me to get together one-to-one to discuss your ideas/progress on the Individual Research Project and to address any questions you may have. This is also a chance to get your topic formally approved by me (each student needs me to sign off on their project as soon as possible).
  • Please bring all relevant materials with you (proposals, sources), and come prepared to discuss specifics (questions you have, etc.).
  • Please only sign up for a spot that you are 100% sure you can make (and make note of the time/date you are coming).
  • All meetings will be through our regular Zoom office hours link.
  • Each slot is 10 minutes long. Arrive a few minutes early (and be prepared to stay a few minutes late, in case we are running behind).
  • If you miss a conference or come unprepared, it will be counted as an absence and you forfeit your right to schedule future conferences (on the research project) with me.

Monday, 11/30

  • 11:00-11:10am:
  • 11:10-11:20am:
  • 11:20-11:30am: Arin

Tuesday, 12/1

  • 1:00-1:10pm: Shamach
  • 1:10-1:20pm: Max
  • 1:20-1:30pm: Ronald
  • 4:00-4:10pm: Xavier
  • 4:10-4:20pm: Oscar
  • 4:20-4:30pm: Itmam

Wednesday, 12/2

  • 11:00-11:10am: Khoury
  • 11:10-11:20am: Phillip
  • 11:20-11:30am: Edward

Thursday, 12/3

  • 4:00-4:10pm: Justin
  • 4:10-4:20pm:
  • 4:20-4:30pm:
  • 4:30-4:40pm:
  • 4:40-4:50pm:
  • 4:50-5:00pm:

Class Notes 11/12/2020

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae – Class Thoughts 

  • Was very Different 
  • Back and Forth between music and the plot 
  • Presentation was very rich and colorful 
  • Janelle shows to be heavily influenced by the idea of Afrofuturism 


Janelle “ I am the American nightmare, I am the American Dream” ( Expresses that the American dream is to yes be free, but in what space and context if this freedom allowed?:Race, gender, etc) 


Science Fiction Tropes 

  • Higher technology 
  • The Sound (Music) 
  • Abandonment of humanity (Androids, cyborgs, emotion) 
  • Names of people-using numbers in names is common in science fiction 

(Robert-Similar to gamer tags in which using number in your name is almost required so there are no duplicates) 


Thoughts and Ideas

Oscar- “The way that the movie was structured and formulated really paved a theory I had about humans, since taking psychology in High School. I was formulating a theory about what humans have become to follow due to their confusion. And this film showed that humans have begun to confuse lust for love, this is due to the amount of things she(Janelle) said throughout the film” 


Myself-When it comes to conforming, society always rejects people that are different, until it can be used and exploited 


“People worked so hard to be free. You were lucky (Could be the idea that people in modern times have life easier than those who came before) 


Ending of Dirty Computers may represent the saying ‘You can not fix what is not broken” 


Lack of Representation in Science Fiction for African Americans 


Project Info and Etc 

Theme for project – Race and Science Fiction, but does not mean it is solely on African Americans. Other races or the human race as a whole is allowed


If you did not register for City Tech Symposium on 11/19, do so by today 


Roundtable for Symposium will be 12:50-1:35 

Questions relating to Science fiction and society of all types will be asked towards students on zoom call 


3 Extra Credit Options 

  1. Attend Utopian roundtable and blog about it
  2. Be apart of City Tech Symposium Roundtable 
  3. Stay longer than class time for another session during the day and write about it

Class Notes for November 11 2020

Race and Science Fiction 


Space is the place 


Was very different. 

Confused; had to watch it twice 

There is a lot going on in the film. Both aesthetically and historically 

Songs to show everyone’s different frequency 

Bets on who would win. 


When you work on sources for annotated bibliography, it doesn’t have to solely be in this area. 

How did the film make u think about race and science fiction? 

Sparse responses 


Watched Dust Sci-Fi Digital Series “Afrofuturism” Sun Ra Part 1 and take notes 

What does it say that the message still resonates with us? 

What else does the series bring up? 

The pyramid in the movies 

The “Space in the Place” clothes 

Arkestra being a pun of orchestra. (music is the bridge to outer worldliness) 


Watched Afrofuturism Explained: Not Just Black Sci-Fi | Inverse and take notes 

Ideas from video (Ripped from chat): 

“This is not our land. This is not our people.” 

Afrofuturism provides an avenue to transform ourselves and communities 

Clothes being made to openly show how person is inside. (Freeart Clothing) 

Afrofuturism is not a concept that just became a thing, its something that people liker Harriet Tubman did when she arose to create a better future for people of color. 

“Black women, for example are often hypersexualized leaving them at a greater risk for sexual assault and violence.” 

To me, Afrofuturism isn’t like Marvel’s Black Panther in the sense of Vibranium technology and advancements, it’s like Black Panther in the idea of having a Kingdom of only Black People. A place where the oppressed are the prosperous ones.  

I liked how a lot of the fashion and music were pretty experimental. I couldn’t hear much from the song that girl was singing but it just sounded like a heavily distorted language 

we have used their work of art to see how they live their life. audiobility to see how they sound like.  its ironic how black people can be hyper-visible and hyper-invisible.  afroturism is the pathway to black liberty. 

For this video the part I noticed is afrofuturism is to see themselves in the future despite a distressing time now. To me it sounds similar to paradise or utopia where people forget about the 500 plus years of slavery and racism. 

“a 500 year history of colonialism, slavery, racism and segregation have left people of African diaspora with a disjointed idea of what it really means to be home” 

Afrofuturism gives the representation that is normally ignored in science fiction, while also more directly tackling the themes that science fiction references. 


Conversation of the film 

Dun Ra is a trying to be a prophet. Bring them away from their treatment. They are skeptical of Sun Ra’s motives because of history. 

Overseer vs Sun Ra; Anarchy vs utopia; working with the system or pulling them out (scene in the beginning when Sun Ra talks about bringing black people to another place with music.) 


Jimmy Fey split of black and white soul 

Music get dense when something happens in the movie 

Some people thought Sun Ra was doing the music only for money and fame. 

NASA trying to steal secrets from Sun Ra.  Bubbles takes a shot for Sun Ra.  Conflict between Black people’s creative and artistic idea to be co-oped and commodify. 

Overseer’s position. (antagonist) exploit to get ahead does not seem to have the black people at heart 

“Everything you desire from this planet and never have received will be yours in outer space. ” Quote says a place that will come true in Outerspace.  Saying that the space in Outerspace is going to be a kingdom of heaven type thing.  Dope shooting person allowed onto ship because he doesn’t seem to feel he fits in on earth. 



Please do the readings assigned. 

Class Notes 11/5/20

Discuss Election

      • “Cautious Optimism”
      • Releasing the pressure
      • Fragmented way of doing elections
      • Suppression of voting
        • Trump Lawsuits
      • Lincoln Project
        • Against Trump
        • Made up of Republicans including Michael Steele

Class Notes Schedule 

  • 11/10 Tommy
  • 11/12 Khoury
  • 11/17 Paulo
  • 11/19 Symposium?
  • 12/1 Oscar
  • 12/3 Edward
  • 12/8 Mafrurza
  • 12/15 Derrick
  • 12/17 Ronald

Next Week

  • Afrofuturism
    • Three Texts
      • Space is the Place main text
      • Annotations of all three texts
        • May or may not be collected
  • Survey Due Sunday 11/8
  • Possible quiz Tuesday
  • More texts Thursday

Annotative Bibliography

  • 2 sources due next Thursday
  • Small Excerpt of source
  • Must relate to Race + Science Fiction
  • What does it add to the conversation?
  • How does it tackle science fiction + race?

Primary Vs. Secondary Source

  • The primary source is first-hand information
  • A secondary source is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere.

Classes in Spring 2021

  • Film through literature
    • English 2400
    • Tuesday/Thursday
  • English 3302
    • Self Help Literature

Individual research paper

  • We will work on throughout the rest of the semester


See You Yesterday

  • Consequences of time travel
  • Ethical + moral responsibility of technology

“Greatest philosophical + ethical debate of modern age”

  • Unintended Consequences


    • Sebastian’s Funeral
      • “Like so many of you, Where is the Justice?”

“When will there be justice?”

“None of us do”

“No one deserves this”


What do you think the ultimate message of the movie?



Class Notes, November 3, 2020

Max is on notes today, Phillip is on for 11/5.

Professor Belli mandated that no student names are to be used in class notes going forward. This is to respect the privacy of the students involved and to reinforce the idea that the classroom is a safe space for ideas and individual opinions.

Today was a discussion about science fiction and politics, primarily how reading and critical thinking about the political realm can be used to analyze competing political messages, e.g.: who benefits from x policy, what does progress mean, etc.

Three writing prompts:

  • Ask yourself: “How are you feeling? What if anything would block you from writing right now? As a response comes to mind, write it down.
  • Then, ask yourself: what questions or thoughts or issues are on your mind?
  • What are your hopes for the future? This might be for tonight, tomorrow, the next four years, or more long term.

The class discussed this for an extended amount of time. Among the issues raised were anxiety, safety, a difficulty to write in general, and the desire to see actual change rather than hear about it ad nauseam.

  • It is seductive and compelling to claim that someone is either ignorant or voting against their own interests. However, it is important to remember that many political movements, including Trump’s MAGA or even Hitler’s Nazi Germany, were intended to be seen as utopian movements. Supporters of those movements genuinely believed the policies enacted by those political systems would make their lives better — that they were the ideal to be striven for.

Quotes offered and discussed:

“A word after a word after a word is power.”

-Margaret Atwood (Canadian science-fiction author, renowned feminist thinker, creator of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Penelopiad, among others.)

“This is painful, and it will be for a long time.”

-Hillary Rodham Clinton, November 6th, 2016

“Utopia also entails refusal, the refusal to accept that what is given is enough. It embodies the refusal to accept that living beyond the present is delusional, the refusal to take at face value current judgements of the good or claims that there is no alternative.”

-Ruth Levitas, 2013, Utopia as Method: The Imaginary Reconstitution of Society

“We must live in this world as citizens of another. What is required of us is both specific to our distinctive situation, and the same as for every earlier or later generation. Mourn. Love. Hope. Imagine. Organize.”

“The eventual disappointment of hope is not a reason to forsake it as a critical thought process.”

“The present is not enough. It is impoverished and toxic for queers and other people who do not feel the privilege or majoritarian belonging, normative tastes, and “rational” expectations. (I address the question of rationalism shortly.) Let me be clear that the idea is not simply to turn away from the present. One cannot afford such a maneuver, and if one thinks one can, one has resisted the present in favor of folly. The present must be known in relation to the alternative temporal and spatial maps provided by a perception of past and future affective worlds.”

Affective: relating to moods, feelings, or attitudes.

No homework, but two requests:

  1. Please vote.
  2. Practice self care; sleep, meditation, etc. Two meditation apps: Take 90, Headspace. Meditative breathing technique to lower one’s heart rate: 2 second inhalation, 8 second exhalation, repeat. (Alternatively, 4 second inhalation, 8 second exhalation, repeat.)

Set up an appointment with Professor Belli if you have a midterm grade below a P.

Stay safe.

Midterm (mid-semester) Grades + Individual Conferences

Hi everyone:

A friendly reminder to please go in and check your Midterm (mid-semester grades). Please do so again even if you already had done so, as there were a few glitches in my first round of inputted grades that I had to work out.

You can do this either by clicking on the link (that says, “Students, check your grades!”) under”OpenLab GradeBook” the right sidebar of our course homepage OR by going to the Dashboard on our course site and then going to OpenLab GradeBook (in left sidebar). In either case, you need to be logged in to view your grades. An individual student’s grades are only visible to you and to me.

As we discussed in class, if you received a BL (borderline) or U (unsatisfactory) grade, you must email me ASAP to set up a time to meet next week to discuss your work and progress in the course, and for us to develop strategies to make sure you are successful going forward. In your email, please explain why you are requesting a meeting and list all of your availability for a brief meeting (10-15 minutes) for Monday-Friday of the next week (11/2-11/6). I’ll reply shortly to confirm a time slot for our conference: please note that I’m juggling my own schedule along with many many other students’ schedules, so the more options you can provide, the easier scheduling this will be.

Of course, anyone who received a P (passing) is also welcome to email me to schedule a conference. I’m happy to discuss your work and provide additional feedback on your writing and participation at any point in the semester.

Have a great weekend, & looking forward to discussing next steps with many of you soon 🙂

People’s Choice Posts #7: ‘See You Yesterday’

Thanks for all the amazing responses to See You Yesterday!

I know voting is on everyone’s mind this week (with the looming Presidential election!), and it’s time for one more vote …

Now’s the time to choose for your People’s Choice post, so get your votes in (complete with your chosen post–author/title/link, an excerpt from it + rationale for choosing it). This time around, comments are due by Sun 11/1. As always, looking forward to seeing your choices 🙂