The Unarchiving Blackness Mellon Sawyer Seminar hosts a conversation on Octavia E. Butler's Archive & Climate Change, featuring scholars Alyssa Collins, and Ayana Jamieson, moderated by Professor Jade Sasser of the UCR Gender and Sexuality Studies Department. Butler was a visionary science fiction and fantasy author whose novels and stories wrestled with changes to our world and its people, including a future California. Our speakers have worked firsthand with her archive at the Huntington Library in Pasadena. They share their insights with us as part of our Spring 2023 focus on Technology, Afrofuturism, and Black Speculative Practices.


The event will take place in person at Humanities 1500, at 12:30p.m., on Thursday, May 4.
It will also be live-streamed on Zoom. To RSVP, use


Refreshments will be provided.


Ayana Jamieson, PhD is an assistant professor of Ethnic Studies at Cal Poly Pomona, a mythologist, and depth psychologist. She is the founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, a global community founded in 2011, committed to highlighting Octavia Butler’s life and work while creating new works inspired by Butler’s legacy. Dr. Jamieson’s essay, “Far Beyond the Stars” appears in the Black Futures anthology. She has also published at The Feminist Wire, Uneven Futures: Strategies for Community Survival from Speculative Fiction, Public Books, Sierra Club Magazine and elsewhere. She was a featured speaker at the New York Times “A New Climate” on climate change.


Alyssa Collins, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. She also served as the inaugural Huntington Library Octavia E. Butler Fellow from 2021-2022. Her research focuses on black life, humanity, and technology as represented in the presents and futures of black speculative fiction. Currently, she is working on her first book, Cellular Blackness: Black Feminist Posthuman Ontologies, an investigation of moments of black female embodiment, human evolution and symbiosis, and black posthumanity as established and represented in the work of Octavia E. Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, and other contemporary black science fiction writers.


The Unarchiving Blackness Sawyer Seminar is funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation and administered through the Center for Ideas and Society. For more information, check out and follow @unrchvngblcknss on Instagram and Twitter.

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