55 min

Exploring the Dark Fantastic with Ebony Thomas How do you like it so far?

    • TV & Film

This week we welcome Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, author of the new book The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. She counters the deficit-framed language describing an achievement gap among youth of color by asserting that there is a corresponding, long-standing imagination gap – that lack of representation in children’s literature and media has left them unable to imagine themselves as the center of the story, in fantasy or in life. Progress is being made in media diversity and inclusion, yet Thomas argues, we’re not keeping pace in terms of priming the audience to accept these shifts. The internet is allowing children to connect with like-minded readers outside of their immediate community “bubbles,” participate in fan fiction and expand their interpretation of what they read. But do they have the resources they need to be able to read the world differently? What are the negative effects of such limited representations? Where will alternative fantasies come from? Thomas discussed here the debates that have sprung up around Black Panther and recent projects to bring alternative perspectives to historical narratives, concluding that it’s still imperative to create a dream space with and for minority youth.

This week we welcome Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, author of the new book The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. She counters the deficit-framed language describing an achievement gap among youth of color by asserting that there is a corresponding, long-standing imagination gap – that lack of representation in children’s literature and media has left them unable to imagine themselves as the center of the story, in fantasy or in life. Progress is being made in media diversity and inclusion, yet Thomas argues, we’re not keeping pace in terms of priming the audience to accept these shifts. The internet is allowing children to connect with like-minded readers outside of their immediate community “bubbles,” participate in fan fiction and expand their interpretation of what they read. But do they have the resources they need to be able to read the world differently? What are the negative effects of such limited representations? Where will alternative fantasies come from? Thomas discussed here the debates that have sprung up around Black Panther and recent projects to bring alternative perspectives to historical narratives, concluding that it’s still imperative to create a dream space with and for minority youth.

55 min

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