Utopia and the Gendered Past in Pauline Hopkins' Of One Blood; Or, The Hidden Self

  • Jalondra A Davis University of California, Riverside


This article examines the gendered implications of what I call Afrotopia: the imagining of an ancient, powerful African civilization untouched by colonialism, in Pauline Hopkins 1903 serial, Of One Blood; Or, The Hidden Self. Many, in tracing a geneology of Afrofuturism have identified this novel as a precursor to the contemporary form. As such, this article interrogates the novel's, and dominant critical readings' association of contemporary black femininity with realism and racialized trauma, and unquestioningly represent Afrotopia as a liberatory space. It argues that gendered violence and black women's autonomy often gets overlooked in the fleeing away from the racial past, and calls for more critical engagements of Afrofuturist visions in order to maximize the genre's political potential.

Author Biography

Jalondra A Davis, University of California, Riverside
Jalondra A. Davis is a fifth-year PhD Candidate in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside. She also holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. Her research interests include black feminism, black cultural studies, and popular literature and culture. Jalondra's current work looks at how black female writers use the tropes of science fiction to revise disciplinary narratives of black womanhood that circulate in black political discourse. She is also the author of a 2012 coming-of-age novel Butterfly Jar.