Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book


In this important interdisciplinary study, Josie Gill explores how the contemporary novel has drawn upon, and intervened in, debates about race in late 20th and 21st century genetic science. Reading works by leading contemporary writers including Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler and Colson Whitehead, Biofictions demonstrates how ideas of race are produced at the intersection of science and fiction, which together create the stories about identity, racism, ancestry and kinship which characterize our understanding of race today. By highlighting the role of narrative in the formation of racial ideas in science, this book calls into question the apparent anti-racism of contemporary genetics, which functions narratively, rather than factually or objectively, within the racialized contexts in which it is embedded. In so doing, Biofictions compels us to rethink the long-asked question of whether race is a biological fact or a fiction, calling instead for a new understanding of the relationship between race, science and fiction.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages224
ISBN (Print)9781350099838
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameExplorations in Science and Literature

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Black Humanities


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