Next Article in Journal
Introduction: Fashion/Religion Interfaces
Previous Article in Journal
The Relevance of the Centrality and Content of Religiosity for Explaining Islamophobia in Switzerland
Previous Article in Special Issue
Ted Chiang’s Asian American Amusement at Alien Arrival
Open AccessArticle

White Womanhood and/as American Empire in Arrival and Annihilation

Joint Doctoral Program in the Study of Religion, University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO 80210, USA
Religions 2020, 11(3), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030130
Received: 12 January 2020 / Revised: 26 February 2020 / Accepted: 11 March 2020 / Published: 16 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue This and Other Worlds: Religion and Science Fiction)
American science fiction stories, such as U.S. historical narratives, often give central place to white, Western male subjects as noble explorers, benevolent colonizers, and border-guarding patriots. This constructed subjectivity renders colonized or cultural others as potentially threatening aliens, and it works alongside the parallel construction of white womanhood as a signifier for the territory to be possessed and protected by American empire—or as a sign of empire itself. Popular cultural narratives, whether in the world of U.S. imperialism or the speculative worlds of science fiction, may serve a religious function by helping to shape world-making: the envisioning and enacting of imagined communities. This paper argues that the world-making of American science fiction can participate in the construction and maintenance of American empire; yet, such speculative world-making may also subvert and critique imperialist ideologies. Analyzing the recent films Arrival (2016) and Annihilation (2018) through the lenses of postcolonial and feminist critique and theories of religion and popular culture, I argue that these films function as parables about human migration, diversity, and hybrid identities with ambiguous implications. Contact with the alien other can be read as bringing threat, loss, and tragedy or promise, birth, and possibility. View Full-Text
Keywords: world-making; hybridity; futurism; imagined community; popular culture; audience; science fiction; speculative fiction; religion and film; post-coloniality world-making; hybridity; futurism; imagined community; popular culture; audience; science fiction; speculative fiction; religion and film; post-coloniality
MDPI and ACS Style

Johnston Aelabouni, M. White Womanhood and/as American Empire in Arrival and Annihilation. Religions 2020, 11, 130.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop