I’m a Ph.D. student in the Department of English at Michigan State University.
A scholar of intersectional American cultural studies, I work on the culture and literature of twentieth-century America. My research and teaching emphasize the role of popular narrative forms, namely sff (science fiction and fantasy) and comics, in responding to social, political, and economic shifts that affect understandings of American racial, gender, sexual, class, and national belonging in the second half of the twentieth century. My scholarship considers the broad range of sff’s history and manifestations across twentieth-century media, cultures, and communities, and is engaged in questioning how people with radical political desires have used sff forms as tools for utopian and heterotopian world-making.
I am currently working on a dissertation that traces how science fiction and the Literary Left met in the guise of the Futurians, a group of Leftist sf writers and fans that existed from 1937-1945 and whose members thereafter became some of the most significant sf writers and editors in the following decades, including Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Damon Knight, Cyril Kornbluth, Judith Merril, Robert Lowndes, Frederik Pohl, and others. My dissertation attends to the ways in which the discourses of sf in the middle of the century and the Literary Left merged and evolved through the Futurians’ writing, editing, and criticism from 1937 to 1961. More details can be found here. I am also at work on a critical anthology of sf and essays by John Michel, the largely forgotten founder of the Futurians.
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 scholarly work, and spoken on and organized conference panels on a broad range of topics in American literary, sff, 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: @SeanGuynes.
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The image above, from The Fantastic Four #51 (June 1966), is by Jack Kirby