Year of Study in Programme: First
Supervisor: Dr Sara Martín
Area/Topic of Research: Science fiction
Title/Provisional Title of Thesis: Humans as Prey: Bodily Vulnerability in Science Fiction and Horror Narratives
Short Abstract: My PhD project will look at narratives where humans are the prey of other beings (aliens, monsters, nonhuman animals, or other humans), specifically from the science fiction and horror genres. My aim is to study the contrast between the naturalization of the violence that happens in slaughterhouses and the commodification of sentient beings, and the disgust that stories where humans are turned into flesh produce in us. I will study questions such as: how is the relation between predator and prey constructed? What does the hunt look like? How is it intended to make us feel? What is being represented in the predation process? Is the attacker animalized as an irrational power over us, or is the human the one that is animalized to shift our position as predators in real life to one of prey in fiction to make us see the world through the eyes of the Other? How is the concept of “meat” or “flesh” depicted?
My theoretical approaches will be, in a broad sense, literary studies, gender studies, and critical animal studies. I want to explore the political use of the concept of vulnerability and the power of literature and specifically science fiction to produce an estrangement in our understanding of the world, which may provide alternative directions in our relation to everything that is subject to our predation, from animals to nature itself, especially in the neoliberal time we are in.