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H20-MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions

The neoMONSTERS Within: The Others in India’s Science Fiction

Tildelt: kr 2,3 mill.






2021 - 2023


The Science Fiction (SF) of a spatio-temporal location is a window into the soul of a people. It manifests the “cultural unease” that specific identities evoke in the national imagination. SF not only demonstrates how contesting ideologies slug it out within the ring of the popular but also interrogates how metaphorical reimaginings of the ‘other’ are projected on and by a people’s collective psyche. This proposed action maps India’s fictional futures and the state of its religious and political minorities through a study of its (SF) monsters. It explores how India’s popular imagination engages with a ‘Maoist’ China, ‘Islamic’ Pakistan, ‘Western’ transnational capitalism/neo-imperialism and Hindu Nationalism in and via its SF. The action argues that alterity in Indian SF – and hence, in India – is primarily contingent upon the discourses of nationhood (vis-à-vis Pakistan/China/U.S./Europe), religion (e.g. Islam, Christianity) and political orientation (e.g. Islamism, Maoism, Capitalism). It also seeks to comprehend how the ‘others’ of Indian SF (aliens, zombies, clones, mutants, robots, AI and monsters) become referents of religion, ethnicity and political orientation. Appropriating core methods of Science Fiction Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Digital Humanities, Game Studies and Transmedial Narratology, this action delves into the mechanics of otherness and its negotiation with contemporary South Asian geopolitics. Through its emphasis on post-2000 narratives selected from across mediums, the action spans across the extrapolations of tomorrow (e.g. future wars, religious dystopias) and the distortions of the present (e.g. zombie apocalypses, robot uprisings). It hunts for India’s such neoMONSTERS: Mutagenic Ontological Narratives in Space-Time Echoing Realistic Situations.


H20-MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions