Ep. 1: Octavia Butler’s “Kindred”

Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler was an African-American science-fiction writer. She received an Associate of Arts degree in 1968 from Pasadena Community College, and also attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles. She wrote many other novels, such as Dawn (1987), Wild Seed (1980), and Parable of the Sower (1993). She was the recipient of a MacArthur Award and a Nebula Award, and she twice won the Hugo Award. 


Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.


In our first episode, your intrepid professors try their hand at recording themselves waxing philosophic about Octavia Butler’s classic novel, Kindred. The results are wonderful and devastating (possibly an exaggeration).


  • Lonestar (film) by John Sayles
  • Ken Gonzalez-Day
  • Roots (2016 film remake)
  • 12 Years A Slave (film)
  • Birth of a Nation (2016 film)
  • Underground (TV series)
  • Stephanie Camp on rival geography
  • The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
  • Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin’s “Performing the Archive”
  • Silences of the Archive


  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  • How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon
  • Long Division by Kiese Laymon
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty
  • The Nix by Nathan Hill
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  • Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
  • The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
  • In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe
  • Monstrous Intimacies by Christina Sharpe
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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