Sherryl Vint, Professor
Research and Teaching Areas: science fiction, technoculture, popular culture and science, human-animal studies
Sherryl Vint’s current research project, The Promissory Imagination: Speculative Futures and Biopolitics, reads science fiction in the context of biopolitical theory. The project takes its title from Kaushik Sunder Rajan’s diagnosis of what he calls the “nontruth” of the bioeconomy. Statements about the biotechnological future, he argues, can be considered neither truth nor false in traditional logic but instead must be understood as operating in a realm that might, following Derrida, best be described as truth under erasure; that is, such statements are not true in that they do not describe an existing, material reality, but further they cannot be understood as false since they anticipate a future whose truth or falseness can be determined only after the proposed research plan has been executed. Expanding upon earlier work that argues science fiction functions as a supplementary discourse to the discourses of science, this book will explore the exchanges between speculative imagination and material practice in personalized medicine, agribusiness and other genomic research. Within a context in which biotechnology itself relies on speculative discourses, and one in which the economy is largely propelled by such fantasies, critical discourses of science fiction have a crucial role to play in ongoing struggles over how to imagine the future.
Dr. Vint’s work begins from the premise that popular culture both expresses the cultural anxieties and preoccupations of its contemporary audience and intervenes in the construction of cultural common sense, engaging with rather than merely reflecting surrounding technoculture. She has previously published Bodies of Tomorrow (2007), which investigates representations of the body in science fiction and in posthumanist discourses to argue for a version of posthumanism focused on expanding our connections to others rather than embracing fantasies of disembodiment, and Animal Alterity (2010), which extends this exploration of how we understand the human, and whom should be included in our ethical communities, focusing on the human/animal boundary articulated in philosophical and scientific discourses now restructured by material technoscientific practice and speculative representation. Dr. Vint has co-authored The Routledge Concise History of Science Fiction (2011) and co-edited Beyond Cyberpunk (2010), The Routlege Companion to Science Fiction (2009), and Fifty Key Figures in Science Fiction (2009). She has also published widely on sf film and television, and most recently on the HBO’s The Wire for Wayne State UP’s Television Milestones series.
Dr. Vint is an editor of the journals Science Fiction Studies, Science Fiction Film and Television, and Humanimalia. She is currently the 1st VP of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts and the Chair for the Science Fiction and Technoculture Book Prize awarded at the Eaton Conference on Science Fiction. With Dr. Rob Latham (English) and Dr. Nalo Hopkinson (Creative Writing), she is developing graduate and undergraduate programs in Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies at UCR.