Fictions of Land and Flesh

Blackness, Indigeneity, Speculation

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: Published: August 2019

Author: Mark Rifkin

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, American Studies, Native and Indigenous Studies

In Fictions of Land and Flesh Mark Rifkin explores the impasses that arise in seeking to connect Black and Indigenous movements, turning to speculative fiction to understand those difficulties and envision productive ways of addressing them. Against efforts to subsume varied forms of resistance into a single framework in the name of solidarity, Rifkin argues that Black and Indigenous political struggles are oriented in distinct ways, following their own lines of development and contestation. Rifkin suggests how movement between the two can be approached as something of a speculative leap in which the terms and dynamics of one are disoriented in the encounter with the other. Futurist fiction provides a compelling site for exploring such disjunctions. Through analyses of works by Octavia Butler, Walter Mosley, Nalo Hopkinson, Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, and others, the book illustrates how ideas about fungibility, fugitivity, carcerality, marronage, sovereignty, placemaking, and governance shape the ways Black and Indigenous intellectuals narrate the past, present, and future. In turning to speculative fiction, Rifkin illustrates how speculation as a process provides conceptual and ethical resources for recognizing difference while engaging across it.


Fictions of Land and Flesh considers the points at which Black and Indigenous studies might relate across histories and struggles. It does so with an eye toward the necessity of that engagement and the danger of conflating the urgencies that constitute those histories and struggles. With characteristic brilliance and creativity, Mark Rifkin turns to Black and Indigenous futurist work as a way to produce that difficult but necessary dialogue.” — Roderick A. Ferguson, author of One-Dimensional Queer

“Anchored in the contemporary movements of #NoDAPL and Black Lives Matter, Fictions of Land and Flesh is a welcome and expert guide to thinking through the resonances and impasses that attend Black and Indigenous articulations of justice. Essential reading in American studies.” — Beth H. Piatote, author of Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature


Availability: In stock
Price: $27.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Mark Rifkin is Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is the author of six books, most recently Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction  1
1. On the Impasse  15
2. Fungible Becoming  73
3. Carceral Space and Fugitive Motion  117
4. The Maroon Matrix  168
Coda: Diplomacy in the Undercommons  220
Notes  233
Bibliography  287
Index  313
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0483-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0425-7