Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


This English literature thesis project explores an emerging, genre-defying body of fiction which I call “speculative migration fiction.” Speculative migration fiction imagines how ongoing global developments like climate change, technological development, and war may shape future migrations. Drawing on Benedict Anderson’s conception of national culture, Wendy Brown’s theory of the border, and Caroline Levine’s understanding of literary form, as well as close readings from Scattered All Over the Earth by Yōko Tawada, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, and 2 A.M. in Little America by Ken Kalfus, I argue that transnational migrations move toward becoming postnational migrations as migrants evade border control measures and undermine whether cultures and languages can be mapped along national lines. As future migrations corrode nation-states’ alleged historical antiquity and cultural cohesion, I employ Anna Kornbluh’s comparison of mathematical limits to literary limits, P.B. Guerrero’s discussion of critical nostalgia, and Wai Chee Dimock’s theory of deep time to understand how migration at the end of the nation-state becomes both unending and a tool to reimagine human societies’ structures. In this project’s last section, I invoke Samuel Delany’s “The Star Pit” to highlight how unending migration can perpetuate the capitalistic and imperialistic progress narratives which migrations in Scattered, Exit, and 2 A.M. subvert, ultimately acting as a cautionary tale for imagined, postnational futures.



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