Humanities: Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Due Date: 03-09-2020

In Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life, Karen and Barbara Fields argue that “race” is a pseudoscientific system for explaining invisible forces. For the authors, race is inexorably speculative; it is a way of using imaginary science to construct or craft the extra-empirical reality of racial difference. This special issue of the open-access journal Humanities ( seeks to explore the intersections between the concept of racecraft—the ensemble of beliefs and practices that make and remake the social reality of race—and the various forms of crafting, pretending, playing, fabulating, extrapolating, cognitively estranging, and world-building in speculative culture. As a supergenre or transgeneric category, the speculative stretches across science fiction, fantasy, and horror while also including practices such as role playing and fan cultures. If race is always already speculatively crafted, what happens when racecraft meets the implausible, magical, fantastic, or weird in speculative culture?

One important limitation of Racecraft is its neglect of the intersections among race and other forms of difference. Thus, Racecraft and Speculative Culture also seeks to go beyond the Fields’ work and explore how gender, sexuality, class, religion, coloniality, and dis/ability are crafted with (and against) race.

This call invites contributions that map the portals between race in the realm we call the “real world” and the fantasies of race we encounter in the kingdoms of speculation. Possible thematic clusters include the following:

  • Reading Racecraft with or against aesthetic and cultural theories of speculation, science fiction studies, horror studies, the Gothic, etc.
  • Biology, genetics, skin color, “blood,” descent, mixture, etc., in the crafting of speculative peoples, bodies, and places
  • Racecraft and monstrosity, bestiaries, dragons, orcs, aliens, zombies, etc.
  • “Race before race” in medieval studies and the medieval impulse in the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, etc.
  • Colonial and postcolonial racecraft, imperialism, racial capitalism
  • Racial technologies, race and or as technology
  • The dystopian, utopian, and apocalyptic dimensions of racecraft and speculative culture; racial speculation as inspiration for projecting and reimagining future societies
  • Racecraft and sexual reproduction, queer/trans/xenofeminist futurisms
  • Alternative and counter-racecrafts, Afrofuturism, Black utopias and dystopias, Chicanafuturism, indigenous and non-European speculative writers and traditions
    young adult fiction, superhero comics, board games, videogames, other historically low-prestige cultural forms
  • Cosplay, comic conventions, fan communities, Black nerd cultures, live-action role playing, other nontextual speculative practices.

Send article proposals of 300–500 words to and by 9 March 2020. Full-length articles will be due 31 August 2020. For more details, see