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Isiah Lavender III

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Sterling Goodman Professor of English
Graduate Coordinator

As long as I can remember, science fiction and race have been tangled together in my thoughts. My earliest memory involves witnessing Han Solo shoot the green-skinned Greedo first in Star Wars some time during the summer of 1977 while at a drive-in theater with my father. I was three years old, but I can still recall the thrill seeing green skin gave me. Flash-forward forty-six years and this brief moment in time informs my research agenda—depictions of race and ethnicity in science fiction.

So far, I have produced seven books, a special double issue of the journal Extrapolation titled "Beyond Afrofuturism," fifteen book chapters, twenty-one peer-reviewed articles and essays, three review essays, sixteen published book reviews, three encyclopedia entries, and nineteen media appearances on the subjects of race and racism in science fiction. My eighth has been submitted for review at a university press in addition to a forthcoming book chapter and one more commissioned. I have given twenty-eight keynotes and invited lectures across the world at places big and small with the pinnacle being the Smithsonian Institute's National Air and Space Museum. I have also made forty-one professional presentations at a variety of academic conferences. Surely, I never imagined seeing my words in Rolling Stone Magazine let alone giving a lecture at the Zora Neale Hurston Festival or participating on an Afrofuturism panel at Carnegie Hall.

I was simultaneously honored and humbled to be presented with The International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award at ICFA 44 on March 18, 2023. This award is a career award recognizing distinguished contributions to scholarship and criticism of the Fantastic.

All these amazing things have happened because of a love of reading instilled in me by my parents and teachers.

In the future, I envision getting a book series off the ground while carrying on with my scholarship.






Ph.D., English, University of Iowa, 2004.

M.A., English, Louisiana State University, 1998.

B.A., English (honors), Southern University and A & M College, 1996.

Selected Publications:

Afrofuturism Rising book cover  DisOrienting Planets Cover

Black and Brown Planets Book CoverRace in American Science Fiction Cover

Literary Afrofuturism Cover ImageConversations with Nalo Hopkinson

Routledge Handbook of CoFuturisms



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