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Biofictions : Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel
Bloomsbury Academic

Biofictions : Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

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Author(s): Josie Gill

This book is open access and available on www.bloomsburycollections.com. It is funded by Knowledge Unlatched.
In this important interdisciplinary study, Josie Gill explores how the contemporary novel has drawn upon, and intervened in, debates about race in late 20th and 21st century genetic science. Reading works by leading contemporary writers including Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler and Colson Whitehead, Biofictions demonstrates how ideas of race are produced at the intersection of science and fiction, which together create the stories about identity, racism, ancestry and kinship which characterize our understanding of race today. By highlighting the role of narrative in the formation of racial ideas in science, this book calls into question the apparent anti-racism of contemporary genetics, which functions narratively, rather than factually or objectively, within the racialized contexts in which it is embedded. In so doing, Biofictions compels us to rethink the long-asked question of whether race is a biological fact or a fiction, calling instead for a new understanding of the relationship between race, science and fiction.

“In Biofictions, Josie Gill compellingly demonstrates the importance of works of fiction engaging race and genomics in manifesting the continuing confusion of fact and fiction concerning race as well as of literary critical approaches to cultural narratives of race. Her astute readings offer insight into how racism creates the conditions that produce “race” as a biological category justifying social and political hierarchies-a “biofiction,” as she puts it--and how works of fiction challenge as they expose this process and how they imagine alternatives. The work of one of the foremost theorists of science and literature, Biofictions illustrates the importance of our cultural forms and our cultural critics in challenging the constantly mutating forms of racism that characterize contemporary life.” —Priscilla Wald, Professor of English, Duke University, USA, author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative

ISBN:  9781350099838