Imagine Otherwise: Aimee Bahng on Speculating from the Undercommons

Dec 6, 2018 | Podcast

Episode 76 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast is up! I chat with transnational feminist studies scholar Aimee Bahng about how speculative fiction and other geeky genres help us imagine and create radical queer of color futures; how professors can link classroom activities to local social justice movements; how Indigenous thought and politics are challenging US colonialism in the Pacific; and why moving away from statistics is such an important part of how Aimee imagines otherwise.

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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Aimee’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Guest: Aimee Bahng

Aimee Bahng is an assistant professor of gender and women’s studies at Pomona College. She is the author of the book Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times (Duke University Press, 2018), which examines narrations of futurity across various platforms, from speculative fiction by writers of color to the financial speculations of the 1%.

With teaching and research interests at the conjuncture of transnational Asian/American cultural studies and feminist-queer science and technology studies, Aimee has published a range of articles on techno-Orientalism and Asian/American speculative fiction.

Aimee is currently working on another book manuscript, tentatively titled Transpacific Ecologies. Focusing on Pacific contexts of nuclear subjection and ecological management born out of the post-WW2 era, the project foregrounds feminist, decolonial approaches to thinking across species difference and planetary futures. Given the ongoing capitalist speculations on oceanic routes that exploit maritime law from earlier centuries, Transpacific Ecologies interrogates the histories of settler colonialism and forced displacement that inflect present-day approaches to environmental conservation and regeneration.

Key quote

“I think the defamiliarization that a lot of speculative fiction drops you into in the first few pages provides an occasion for you to really scrape down your assumptions about how the world works. This is really key to a lot of the work that we do in gender studies and ethnic studies about imagining social hierarchies totally upside down or even beyond upside down, to make the idea of hierarchy completely alien.”

– Aimee Bahng on episode 77 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast


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