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Indiana University Bloomington

Rebekah Sheldon

Rebekah Sheldon

Assistant Professor

PhD, City University of New York, Graduate Center, 2010

BA, Rutgers University, 2002

I work on contemporary American literature and culture, with particular emphasis on speculative and science fiction. I also teach, research, and write about queer theory, childhood studies, speculative philosophy, and feminist new materialism.

These interests come together in my first book, The Child to Come: Life After the Human Catastrophe, which considers the child figure under conditions of environmental threat. In the Anthropocene, the longstanding identification of the child with the future has begun to shift meaning. I ask what new purposes the child figure serves when the future no longer guarantees safe harbor. In the apocalyptic visions of contemporary science fiction, I find profound transformations in the meanings of the child, reproduction, the species, and the planet.

My second book project takes up the question of the future through speculative metaphysics, affect theory, and queer occultism.

Recent Courses

T600: Special Topics in Critical Theory

L752: Research in Gender and Sexuality

L391: Literature for Young Adults

L389: Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory

L369: Studies in British and American Authors

L316: Literary History 3

L249: Representations of Sex and Gender

Select Publications (click image for ordering information)


The Child to Come: Life after the Human Catastrophe The Child to Come: Life after the Human Catastrophe (University of Minnesota Press, 2016).

Recent Writing

"Matter and Meaning." Rhizomes: Quantum Possibilities: The Work of Karen Barad. Eds. Karin Sellberg and Peta Hinton

"Queer Universal," E-flux 73

"Spectrum Orders: Digital Science Fiction and the Corrected Present," Science Fiction Studies: Special Issue on Digital Science Fictions, ed. Pawel Frelik 43.1 (March 2016): 33-50.

"Double Agency: Knowledge | Performativity," Stanford Arcade Colloquy: We, Reading, Now, eds. Julie Orlemanski and Dalglish Chew

"Utopian Limits: Materialism." Science Fiction Film and Television, 9.1 (2016): 109-111.

"Three Books in Speculative Realism: Review of Steven Shaviro’s The Universe of Things, Peter Gratton’s Speculative Realism, and Tom Sparrow’s The End of Phenomenology." Configurations 23:3 (Fall 2015): 403-407.

"Form/Matter/Chora: Object Oriented Ontology and Feminist New Materialism," The Nonhuman Turn, ed. Richard Grusin. (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2015).

"After America," Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction, eds. Gerry Canavan and Eric Carl Link (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

"Somatic Capitalism: Reproduction, Futurity, and Feminist Science Fiction," ADA: Special Issue on Feminist Science Fiction, ed. Alexis Lothian