Dr. Elda María Román, Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Southern California
In this lecture, Elda María Román first discusses how media and scholars are engaging with the current wave of demographobia, which Sami Alim defines as “the irrational fear of changing demographics.” Since speculative fiction can creatively play out “what if?” scenarios, Román turns to speculative dystopian texts, America Libre, Ink, and Elysium that envision what would happen if demographobia toward Latinxs and other people of color continues to amplify. Román argues that these texts register what she calls the realist-speculative convergence, which enables us to understand the point at which what previously seemed improbable no longer is. Attuning to this point of convergence in texts revolving around demographobia reveals how close we are to extreme measures of population control, and what mechanisms might be reintroduced or developed to contain people as well as resources.
Co-sponsored by the English Department at UC Berkeley