Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Laura Nicosia

Committee Member

Jeffrey Gonzalez

Committee Member

Fawzia Afzal-Khan


Octavia Butler authored many science fiction novels and short stories, almost all of which have been associated with race and/or slavery. I argue that two of her works, Dawn and “Bloodchild,” are not specifically about race and can be approached from a posthuman perspective. I discuss the place of black literature in the Western Literary tradition, and I highlight the literary reception of Butler’s work. Since her novels and short stories have been compared to slavery, which I argue against, I point out the disparity between the lives of the characters in Butler’s texts and historical accounts of the slave experiences.

In this paper, I rely on the definition of Philosophical Posthumanism, as explained by Francesca Ferrando. Furthermore, I utilize this component of posthumanism from which to approach both texts, since the theory is inclusive of post-anthropocentrism and post-dualism, both of which are relevant to my critique of the humanistic tradition of Othering and setting strict, dualistic binaries to which humans conform.

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