Class Notes – 5/8/14

La Jetee – 1962

still images — difficult to pay attention

images so beautiful — nice to have time to look at them

very good storytelling – close eyes, examine

even though it lacks current standards —
time/imagination — viewer tries to connect what the narrator is saying to the photos

photos made it more believable

storytelling — voice droned — detached voice

stillness, not happening in the moment

photogaphs crystalize one moment — capture, make static, doesn’t change
why do we take photographs — to remember, memory
film — 28 fps
one photo vs. ten seconds of film

narrator’s voice provides interstitial frames?

back to past, to the future

photography — has the potential to fix time

fixing time

human power to control time


Nalo Hopkinson, _Brown Girl in the Ring_

Future earth?
core of city –
abandoned city — resources that a city should have = gone

is this a future earth?

retro dystopian
almost an 80s vision of the future
Mad Max
Escape from New York
The Warriors

— how do these stories imagine the city? in ruins, disorder, chaos, violence, decay

low end of the city

tales of crime taking over the city

exaggerates worst parts of cities in the 70s, 80s

police state

dropping a breast-feeding mother into the middle of that — gender

mix of sci-fi genre elements + folktales + voodoo

language, race, culture, futurity

in what ways does sci fi tell stories about the present through the figure of the future?

race / culture doesn’t disappear in the future! isn’t a magical erasure of race/culture/tradition in the future as we see in so many standard sci-fi tales.

as a corrective the ways in which the future has traditionally been imagined

code-switching —

diaspora – spreading of a group of people

source of power in this novel — very different from traditional sci-fi

in traditional sci-fi
prizing of technology, mechanization, automation, rationality

vs. Brown Girl in the Ring
religious, witchcraft, demons, folktales, spirituality,


class and science fiction
caves of steel – spacers, human — limited room, etc., shorter lives — promotion, hierarchy — C7

detective — middle class, move through upper/lower echelons of society

why do we read/like sci-fi?

take one element of present — mess w/it, play w/it

let’s us go to different place, from comfortable place

shows incredible potential technology we haven’t invented yet, then shows you how it will kill you

sci-fi vs. science — makes scientific advances seem natural — more focused on what happens w/technology

we feel powerless and limited by bodily, technological, temporal aspects of our lives; sci-fi gives us fantasy of world where we have control over such things

— yet also disrupts those fantasies — not utopian


This paper will examine the ways that Dawn and Brown Girl In the Ring treat the theme of violence. I will argue that the violence in Dawn, though biological rather than physical, does greater damage to characters in the text than the violence we see in BGITR.

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