Rachel Gutin Profile picture
Jul 17, 2019 20 tweets 5 min read Read on X
The fourth panel I attended at #Readercon was "Recent Nonfiction Essay Club: 'Decolonizing the Imagination' by Zetta Elliott" with Vandana Singh, @john_chu, @CadwellTurnbull, @ShiningComic, and moderated by @katenepveu. (Note: I haven't read the essay)
As with my previous recaps, I'm not sure which things in my notes are quotes, and which are paraphrases. I have fewer notes for this thread than the last one, probably because the panelists were speaking about things that felt more personal.
Panelists began by speaking about some of their own decolonization experiences.
From Vandana Singh: Feminism is not an exclusively Western phenomenon.
Also from Vandana Singh: Rural, uneducated people have something to contribute.
And @john_chu talked about how someone had to tell him he needed to not write like a white European man.
From @ShiningComic: I needed to decolonize the idea of Western Scientific Method as the best/only method. Indigenous people often point out things they know to be true and are overlooked.
From @CadwellTurnbull: I want to see vernacular used in third person omniscient.
Also from @CadwellTurnbull: Language has authority. It affects who gets access, who's centered, and where we think the information comes from.
More from @CadwellTurnbull: Linguists study people, then write about those people in a way that's inaccessible to the people they're writing about. (So the people being studied can't, for example, correct misrepresentation.)
From @john_chu: Science fiction tends to view things through a lens of conquest and colonization rather than immigration: we go to a place, and it's ours vs. we go to a place and become part of it.
From @john_chu: I have to do an amount of translation that I shouldn't have to do.
From Vandana Singh, on growing up reading British fiction: "I thought exciting things only happen to white people."
From Vandana Singh: We have so many identities in different contexts.
Also from Vandana Singh: Colonization makes you ashamed of what you love and tears you inside.
More from Vandana Singh: Decolonization is not only for the less privileged.
From Vandana Singh: There's a notion you separate yourself from what you're studying in order to be objective. This bothers me, so I have scientists try to understand a thing by being inside it.
From @CadwellTurnbull: Complete decolonization is impossible.
From @CadwellTurnbull: "Standard" has markers - they're just the dominant ones.
From @CadwellTurnbull: Over time, we've separated the narrator from the author. Do you have to combine them to use vernacular?

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More from @Rachel_Gutin

Dec 25, 2020
For those of us who aren’t celebrating Christmas, I would like to share a story:
In a small Jewish community on an outlying planet sits a museum. At its center, a narrow plinth. Upon the plinth, a boxy container, folded from heavy white paper, its edges charred. A wire handle across its top.

The label reads: In Commemoration of the Great Christmas Alliance
There is no further explanation posted, but ask any museum staff member, and they will tell you the tale of the time when Chinese food saved the Jews from boredom and despair, on the occasion of yet another Christmas.
Read 26 tweets
Sep 22, 2020
This Rosh Hashanah, my thoughts kept returning to a single story. It’s the story of a soul, newly arrived at the gates of Heaven And while I’m not sure I believe in a literal heaven, with an actual gate where angels stand guard, a story doesn’t have to be factual to be true.
So a woman arrives at the gates of Heaven. She is small of stature, but she stands tall before the imposing gates. A simple black robe hangs from her shoulders, and a lacy white collar adorns her neck. In her eyes, there is a gleam of steely determination.
In most stories, this is when the angels would stop her. They would ask her to prove she deserves a place in Heaven. But in this story, the angels step aside.
Read 15 tweets
Aug 23, 2020
After nearly five months at my parents’ house, I am finally back in my own apartment.

The first thing I unpacked: stuff that needed refrigeration.

Next: my laptop.

After that, books.

Here are all the books that spent time at my parents’ house. 39 books in three stacks, s...
And here are the books that I read while I was at my parents’ house: 26 books in two stacks, spi...
I also purchased a total of 18 books, 17 of which were shipped to my parents' house, and one of which I picked up while traveling.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 21, 2020
The eighth panel I attended at #ConZealand this year wasn’t technically a panel. It was a dialogue between @doctorow and @Ada_Palmer entitled “Corey Doctorow and Ada Palmer Discuss Censorship and Information Control”

I learned a lot from their conversation.
This thread will include some of the things the two of them said. I’m copying this over from my handwritten notes, so assume I’ve paraphrased unless I put something in quotes.
From @Ada_Palmer: Every time there’s new media technology, people worry about the new one and forget to censor older ones. Censorship focuses on the newest saturate media - and on where people get political information from.
Read 31 tweets
Aug 14, 2020
The seventh panel I attended at #ConZealand this year was “Justice in Science Fiction and Fantasy”, with @BrentCLambert, @AdriJjy, @MMSnodgrass, and Fred Lerner, moderated by @jennlyonsauthor.

This panel gave me a lot to think about.
This thread will include some of the things the panelists said. I’m copying this over from my handwritten notes, so assume I’ve paraphrased unless I put something in quotes.
The panelists began by listing pet peeves about how justice is handled in science fiction and fantasy:

@AdriJjy: I want more about societal institutions and systemic things rather than an individual. And I hate the bad guy getting redeemed by dying.
Read 32 tweets
Aug 13, 2020
The sixth panel I attended at #ConZealand this year was “Infinite Entangled Futures - Indigenous Voices in Conversation,” with @ShiningComic, @RoanhorseBex, @understatesmen and @toniwaiaroha, moderated by @sloanesloane.

This was a fascinating and enjoyable panel.
This thread will include some of the things the panelists said. I’m copying this over from my handwritten notes, so assume I’ve paraphrased unless I put something in quotes.
First, the panelists introduced themselves. Among other things, each shared which indigenous tribe they are a part of. Because most of these tribal names were unfamiliar to me, I didn’t know how to spell them, so I looked them up afterward on author websites and twitter.
Read 49 tweets

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