The theme of this and the previous special issue has been a flashpoint in the interdisciplinary field of queer studies since Lee Edelman's influential No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004). Edelman argues that to be queer is to oppose futurity, coining the term “reproductive futurism” to describe the tendency to define political value in terms of a future “for the children” and insisting that the power of queer critique inheres in its opposition to this narrative and therefore to politics as we know it. This assertion inspired extensive debate on relationships between queer artistic and political movements and discourses of futurity. This article argues that the conversation changes when feminist writings on the politics of reproduction and the genre of speculative fiction are taken into account, as they have not been so far. Drawing on Katharine Burdekin's dystopia Swastika Night (1937), the article suggests that the history of feminist speculative fiction offers a counter to twenty-first-century queer scholarship's sometimes reductive approaches to gender and reproduction. Burdekin's book is best known for its prescience in imagining the horrifying prospect of a Nazi victory before Britain's entry into World War II. It prefigures many concerns of queer studies in its disturbing depictions of homoerotic love among Nazi soldiers and women reduced to mindlessly reproductive bodies. Focusing on the significance of the women in her narrative, the article argues that Burdekin's speculative critique of fascist futurity turns saying no to the future into an effective form of feminist resistance — one that does not require a refusal of politics itself.
Alexis Lothian; A Speculative History of No Future: Feminist Negativity and the Queer Dystopian Impulses of Katharine Burdekin's Swastika Night. Poetics Today 1 September 2016; 37 (3): 443–472. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-3599507
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