The neoMONSTERS Within: The Others in India’s Science Fiction
Which divergent constructions of alterity and monstrousness do we find within contemporary India’s popular imagination?
Photo: Zaara Haroon, Freepik.
About the project
These are the days of monsters in South Asia. The intermeshing of geopolitical conflicts, historical realities and antagonistic economic agendas transforms “others” into “monsters” – a metaphorical and systematic morphosis that refracts political, religious and environmental concerns.
India’s Science Fiction (SF) becomes a polyphonic space where Science and Fiction collide and collude with Global North and South, Hindu Nationalism and Islamism, neo-imperialism and self-governance, and communism and capitalism.
The neoMONSTERS project studies how and why the others in India’s SF are encoded and deployed as monsters in and via alternate presents and imagined tomorrows. It also investigates how this process is contoured by political and ideological conflicts and geopolitical and geoeconomic interests. Popular narratives identify monsters as either enemies of the nation or its exact opposite.
Since the “Indianness” of the nation’s SF is dependent “on the cultural and social ambience which gives it soul” (Phondke), neoMONSTERS theorizes how this soul possesses the semantic and syntactical markers of the monster amidst India’s lurch towards the right. The project specifically hunts for these neoMONSTERS: Mutagenic Ontological Narratives in Space-Time Echoing Realistic Situations.
This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 101023313.