Presentation Title

Starbound Salvation: Octavia Butler's Parables and Afrofuturism

Faculty Mentor

Jerry Jenkins

Start Date

23-11-2019 10:15 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:30 AM

Location

Markstein 201

Session

oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

In Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998) crime, violence and poverty have become an inescapable facet of daily life for every citizen in the United States. Set in the first quarter of the 21st century, Sower depicts eighteen-year-old Lauren Oya Olamina’s perilous northward journey through the ruins of a dystopian California in search of a new location that will allow her to begin nurturing her new religion Earthseed. Sower ends in 2027 with Olamina and her newfound companions arriving in Humboldt County where they establish Acorn, the first Earthseed community. Set five years later in 2032, Talents depicts the destruction of Acorn, the birth and estrangement of Olamina's daughter Larkin, and the first steps toward the fulfillment of Earthseed’s penultimate goal—the colonization of the cosmos by humanity. According to Peter G. Stillman, “Butler’s dystopian images or maps serve as a warning to the present because she ties her images to existing problems and ideologies.” (Stillman 15). The severity in Butler’s warnings still carry relevance in contemporary discourse, therefore, making them worthy of scholarly debate and analysis.

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Nov 23rd, 10:15 AM Nov 23rd, 10:30 AM

Starbound Salvation: Octavia Butler's Parables and Afrofuturism

Markstein 201

In Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998) crime, violence and poverty have become an inescapable facet of daily life for every citizen in the United States. Set in the first quarter of the 21st century, Sower depicts eighteen-year-old Lauren Oya Olamina’s perilous northward journey through the ruins of a dystopian California in search of a new location that will allow her to begin nurturing her new religion Earthseed. Sower ends in 2027 with Olamina and her newfound companions arriving in Humboldt County where they establish Acorn, the first Earthseed community. Set five years later in 2032, Talents depicts the destruction of Acorn, the birth and estrangement of Olamina's daughter Larkin, and the first steps toward the fulfillment of Earthseed’s penultimate goal—the colonization of the cosmos by humanity. According to Peter G. Stillman, “Butler’s dystopian images or maps serve as a warning to the present because she ties her images to existing problems and ideologies.” (Stillman 15). The severity in Butler’s warnings still carry relevance in contemporary discourse, therefore, making them worthy of scholarly debate and analysis.