The dystopian future : the influence of Christian fundamentalisms in representative feminist dystopian speculative fiction, 1970 - 2000
Matheson, Laura Jean
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A significant sub-genre exists within feminist dystopian speculative fiction that has recently consisted of a growing collection of works in which patriarchal theocracies have played an integral role. In Lee Killough's A Voice Out of Ramah (1979), Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), Sheri S. Tepper’s Gibbon’s Decline and Fall (1996), and beyond, a growing number of feminist writers have recognized the role of religious fundamentalisms within modern patriarchies, and the role that these fundamentalisms could play in the creation of a dystopian future. For the sake of brevity, this thesis focuses on Christian fundamentalism in its various manifestations in the late twentieth century. In addition, it discusses the ideological and organizational characteristics of fundamentalisms, the role of fundamentalism, and the implications of fundamentalists’ deep mistrust of both liberalism and what they call secular humanism, in feminist dystopian speculative fiction from the final three decades of the twentieth century. The current conflict between feminists and fundamentalists is exemplified by the assertion of many different varieties of Christian fundamentalists that the current state of contemporary society—one they consider to be morally depraved—is a direct result of women’s emancipation. Dystopian speculations based on this assertion play an integral role in A Voice Out of Ramah (1979), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), and Gibbon’s Decline and Fall (1996), and will be examined, in the work of these and other authors, where relevant.
DegreeMaster of Laws (LL.M.)
CommitteeRelke, Diana M. A.; Morrell, Carol; Clark, Hilary
feminist speculative fiction