I’m a PhD student in the Department of English at Michigan State University and Book Reviews Editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction.
I work on the cultures and literatures of twentieth-century and twenty-first-century America. My research and teaching emphasize the role of popular narrative forms, namely sffh (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) and comics, in responding to social, political, and economic shifts that affect understandings of American racial, gender, sexual, class, and national belonging over the past century. My scholarship considers the broad range of sffh’s history and manifestations across twentieth-century media, cultures, and communities, and is particularly engaged in questioning how people with radical political desires have used sffh forms as tools for utopian and heterotopian world-making.
I am currently working on a dissertation that traces how science fiction and fantasy responded to what Mark Greif has called “the crisis of man,” a period in American thought and fiction, circa 1933-1977, during which the question of who “man” is was central to thinking about what political, academic, and public discourses considered the declining state of “civilization,” multiply defined. Where Greif emphasized the intellectual dimensions of “crisis of man” discourse, I focus on how the mass-mediated popular fiction genres of science fiction and fantasy, both in pulp magazine and mass market paperback form, were rallied to the intellectual’s question of “man” in the work of authors such as Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Arthur C. Clarke, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert E. Howard, Cyril Kornbluth, Judith Merill, C.L. Moore, Frederik Pohl, William Tenn, and A.E. Van Vogt between the 1930s and 1950s.
In addition to my dissertation project, I am co-editor of two books, the first on Star Wars and its defining role in the history of transmedia franchising, the second on whiteness and its figurations in the American superhero comic. I have also written articles, book chapters, reviews of fiction and scholarship, and spoken on and organized conference panels on a broad range of topics in American literary, sffh, and comics studies. Each is a small part of my larger project to forward an understanding of how popular forms narrate, usefully complicate, fruitfully challenge, outright attack, and (c)overtly embody radical politics—racial, gender, sexual, and/or economic (e.g. Marxist/anarchist)—within the context of particular historical, social, cultural, and political discourses.
You can read more about my scholarship and teaching. And via the blog you can find personal updates, calls for papers, and the occasional mini-essay (e.g. a “how to” for graduate school personal statements), as well as examples of successful conference abstracts and panel proposals that might serve as demonstrative models for others embarking on conference adventures.
You can also find me on Twitter: @guynesvishniac.
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The image above, from The Fantastic Four #51 (June 1966), is by Jack Kirby