ABSTRACT

Given the tie that we have seen already between the spatial and racial politics of the utopian tradition and the practices of the nation from the nineteenth century forward, it should not be surprising to see contemporary SF writers exploiting that same tradition in order to critique the ease with which U.S. national and larger Western politics slides into utopian, pseudo-eugenicist practices.1 As Mizora and other works demonstrate, many early utopias are figured as solutions to what can generically be called the “race” and “gender” problems of the West. Lane’s text and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, for example, project separatist feminist societies that are also racist, that have bred out or violently “eliminated” non-white men and women. There have been, of course, disturbing and very much extant echoes of these fictional non-places throughout U.S. history, most obviously, in the postbellum period, in the histories of segregation and lynching, up to the present-day segregation of gated communities, surrounded by preserves of labour.2 More specifically, there have been continued attempts to further eugenicist practices as a part of national or state policy: June Dwyer, for example, traces “the role that the burgeoning eugenics movement in the United States played in the production of [immigration] laws.”3