Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy

Gary Westfahl,

Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy
 
 

Science fiction occupies a peculiar place in the academic study of literature. For decades, scholars have looked at science fiction with disdain and have criticized it for being inferior to other types of literature. But despite the sentiments of these traditionalists, many works of science fiction engage recognized canonical texts, such as the Odyssey, and many traditionally canonical works contain elements of science fiction. More recently, the canon has been subject to revision, as scholars have deliberately sought to include works that reflect diversity and have participated in the serious study of popular culture. But these attempts to create a more inclusive canon have nonetheless continued to marginalize science fiction. This book examines the treatment of science fiction within the academy.

The expert contributors to this volume explore a wide range of topics related to the place of science fiction in literary studies. These include academic attitudes toward science fiction, the role of journals and cultural gatekeepers in canon formation, and the marginalization of specific works and authors by literary critics. In addition, the volume gives special attention to multicultural and feminist concerns. In discussing these topics, the book sheds considerable light on much broader issues related to the politics of literary studies and academic inquiry.



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