The IAFA BIPOC Caucus

The BIPOC Caucus (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Caucus) exists to protect and further the interests of members and guests of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts who self-identify as being members of cultural groups of peoples of non-European ethnic and/or racial descent. Please see our Constitution and Bylaws here: BIPOC Constitution and Bylaws May 26 2021-2.pdf.

The BIPOC Caucus hosts Counter Space and Brave Space events. Counter Space is an intercultural and transracial Think Tank and creative haven where the BIPOC Caucus hosts events that may be of particular interest to members of BIPOC ethnic and racial groups and to scholars of BIPOC-focused studies, including conversations known as Brave Spaces. Anyone submitting a proposal of potential BIPOC relevance and interest is welcome to submit their proposal indicating a preference to present in the Counter Space.

Brave Space is a type of conversation intended to regulate and dignify an exchange of vulnerable questions and sensitive answers about racial bias and the pain of transforming traditions of privilege into shared opportunities, among other topics that have to do with race and ethnicity in historically colonized spaces and contexts. Brave Space conversations take place in the Counter Space under BIPOC Caucus supervision. Please review the Brace Space Rules of Engagement here: https://iaftfita.wildapricot.org/Policies.

Organization: The BIPOC Caucus is chaired by the BIPOC Caucus Representative with support from the BIPOC Caucus Public Information Officer and Counter Space Scheduler. The PIO and Counter Space Scheduler work with and are supported by the Counter Space Scheduling Team and the Creative Council.

Membership: Members and guests of the IAFA who self-identify as peoples of BIPOC descent as described above may enroll in the BIPOC Caucus, receive its updates and participate in its votes and Town Halls.  Allies are affiliated support persons who have self-identified as being allied to and supportive of the BIPOC Caucus’s goals, and who have not violated the tenets and Bylaws of the BIPOC Caucus.

Annual Meeting: At ICFA every year (please check the program for day/time) the BIPOC Caucus has a meeting which is open to members. This body meeting reports on what the BIPOC Caucus has been doing and welcomes feedback and suggestions from members.  Separately, a similar catch-up meeting is held for Allies to which BIPOC Caucus members are also welcome.  


BIPOC Caucus Representative

Alexis Brooks de Vita

Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, USA

iafa.bipoc@fantastic-arts.org


With degrees in Comparative Literature specializing in the works of women of African descent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish, Alexis Brooks de Vita (she/her/one) is a professor of literature at Texas Southern University, an HBCU.  Dr. Brooks de Vita’s non-fiction books are The 1855 Murder Case of Missouri versus Celia, Mythatypes:  Signatures and Signs of African, Diaspora and Black Goddesses, and the translation Dante's Inferno:  A Wanderer in Hell.  She has chapters and essays in Science Fiction from beyond the Anglosphere, God is Change: Religious Practices and Ideology in the Works of Octavia Butler, Lingua Cosmica:  Science Fiction from Around the World, Fourth Wave Feminism in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Extrapolation, Humanities Bulletin, Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Proverbium, The Griot, English Language Notes, College Language Association Journal, and The Maroon: Journal of Arts and Letters.  Her gothic/horror novels are Left Hand of the Moon and The Books of Joy Trilogy: Burning Streams, Blood of Angels and Chain Dance; she has edited the anthologies Love and Darker Passions and Tales in Firelight and Shadow. Her short stories and poems also appear in Nightlight, The Horror is Us, What the Flame Whispers, Candle in the Attic Window, Safari, Forced from the Garden, I Have Consumed Destruction, and several Guild Press collections.


BIPOC Caucus PIO and Counter Space Scheduler

Novella Brooks de Vita

Houston Community College, Houston, Texas, USA

iafa.div.bipoc@fantastic-arts.org


Novella Brooks de Vita has adored her involvement with ICFA since she first attended the conference in 2008. She is currently at the fairly-end-stages of her Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction and Higher Education Administration while adjunct teaching developmental reading and writing at Houston Community College.  Novella has made extensive presentations on literature including comics, film, theatre, literacy, and pedagogy.  Her published book scholarly chapter and essays include "Wiz Kids: An Exploration of Pedagogy in the World of Harry Potter” in Palgrave-Macmillan’s Teaching and Learning on Screen: Mediated Pedagogies, “Made into Nothing: Surviving Multifaceted Vulnerability” in The Maroon, “’You Have Forever Changed My Life’: The Need for Academic Rigor in Teaching Humanities in a Global Society” in Humanities Bulletin, and "African American College Preparation through Reading in Secondary Schools," "Beloved and Betrayed: Survival and Authority in Kindred" and "Abiku Babies: Spirit Children and Human Bonding” in The Griot.  In addition to scholarly publications, Novella has published poetry in the Guild Press anthologies Forced from the Garden: Poetry and Short Prose by Women, Full Circle Twenty-Two and Full Circle Twenty-Three. Her previously published short fiction includes the speculative "Cacie's Prism" in Love and Darker Passions and horror-sci fi "My Bogeyman" in Tales in Firelight and Shadow, anthologies published by Double Dragon.  In addition to administrative educational support roles as a graduate student for TSU’s Student Academic Support Services and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law’s Center for Legal Pedagogy and behind-the-scenes work in various creative productions throughout the years, Novella has engaged in research, planning, logistics, outreach, and event management for a range of scholarly and creative engagements, including Texas Southern University’s “Incarceration Patterns of African and Latino America” conference, “Addressing the Tex-Book Controversy” community forum with Texas State Representatives, “Identity Crisis/ Mission Statement: Are We an Urban Learning University?” faculty symposium, Before They Die! documentary screenings and panel, “A Discussion of the DREAM Act with Gaby Pacheco,” a Gloria Rolando film festival featuring the Cuban filmmaker at TSU, as well as planning and producing Mystery Monday Movies, Knit Wits, Kitchen Capers Readers’ Circle, River Park Riverside Shakespeare Workshop, Youth Arts Festival, Wabruda Hidden History Quiz Bowl, Dance Dance Revolution Branch Tournament, Dead Man’s Chest Pirate Party, a Fruits Basket program, and Anim√©Afternoon while working in a county library system.  Novella has worked on making experiences accessible and relevant to those she has served in previous roles and hopes to support such goals' success in her current role.



The Counter Space Scheduling Team


Aileen “A.E” Fonsworth

Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas


Aileen “A.E” Fonsworth is a native of San Francisco, California currently residing in Huntsville, Texas while attending Sam Houston State University. On her pursuit of an MFA in Poetry, she is an Editorial Fellow, a Poetry Fellow, GUIA Fellow, and an A.S.P.I.R.E Scholar. AE is a mother of two and serves the undergraduate population as an Academic Recovery Coach. She is a traveling Poet and speaker, as well as a proud Texas Southern University Alumna.










Lynette James

Independent Scholar, North Carolina, USA

lynettetjames@gmail.com


Lynette James is an independent scholar, author and educator based in North Carolina. Her work explores the intersections of representation, critical theory, and genre writing pedagogy in speculative stories for diverse audiences, with her recent projects focusing on inclusive horror, particularly in stories aimed at young people. She is a graduate of the USM Stonecoast MFA Popular Fiction program and frequent presenter at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Her work has appeared in Dissections: The Horror e-zine, Extrapolation, the LA Review of Books, and the Children's Literature Hawai'i Conference.








Ida Yoshinaga

Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia, USA

ida@hawaii.edu


Sansei (third-generation Japanese) Ida Yoshinaga grew up on Maui dreaming of monsters and multiverses and inbibing the silent films of her father's Depression Era moviegoing youth.  Named after a prominent female performer (and later, director) from Hollywood's classical cinematic period, what could she do, if not feminist film studies? She teaches science fiction film and TV, folklore and screenwriting, and other productive troublemaking at the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology.








The Creative Council


Joyce Chng

Singapore



Joyce Chng lives in Singapore. Their fiction has appeared in The Apex Book of World SF II, We See A Different Frontier, Cranky Ladies of History, and Accessing The Future. Joyce also co-edited THE SEA IS OURS:  Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia with Jaymee Goh. Alter-ego J. Damask writes about werewolves in Singapore. Their YA fantasy, Fire Heart, is published by Scholastic Asia. You can find them at http://awolfstale.wordpress.com and @jolantru on Twitter. (Pronouns: she/her, they/their)









Candice Thornton

Clark Atlanta University, Georgia, USA



Often described as an innovative and passionate multi-hyphenate, Candice Thornton (they/them/theirs) is a second-year Humanities doctoral student and adjunct English professor at Clark Atlanta University. Candice earned their B.A. in Art History from the illustrious Spelman College and their M.A. in English Literature from Texas Southern University.

While attending Texas Southern, Candice was awarded the Most Outstanding Student for the English department, Most Impactful Award from the Student Academic Support Services department, and the Outstanding Thesis Award from the Graduate School.

Broadly speaking, Candice’s research interests combine their love of Black folx, linguistics, comparative literature, and hermeneutics to examine how oral and literary traditions of the African Diaspora articulate the complexities of Black consciousness. Beyond academia, Candice enjoys tending to their loved ones, their business MN8Beauty, and their houseplants, as well as creating mood-based playlists, painting past-life portraits, and eating all the snacks.



Immediate Past Representatives


Taryne Jade Taylor

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

ttaylor5@fau.edu


Dr. Taryne Jade Taylor is an Advanced Assistant Professor of Science Fiction at Florida Atlantic University, and co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook to CoFuturisms. Her research focuses on the politics of representation in speculative fiction, particularly feminist SF and Latinx futurisms. Dr. Taylor is currently working on her monograph on Latinx Futurisms. She is an associate editor for the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, editor of the Routledge book series Studies in Global Genre Fiction, and a juror for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.
 







Isiah Lavender III

University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA

isiah.lavender@uga.edu


Isiah Lavender III is Sterling-Goodman Professor of English at the University of Georgia, where he researches and teaches courses in African American literature and science fiction. His books include Race in American Science Fiction (Indiana UP, 2011), Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction and Dis-Orienting Planets: Racial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction (UP of Mississippi, 2014 and 2017 respectively), Afrofuturism Rising: The Literary Prehistory of a Movement (Ohio State UP, 2019), and Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century (Ohio State UP, 2020), co-edited with Lisa Yaszek. His interview collection Conversations with Nalo Hopkinson is forthcoming from UP of Mississippi in early 2023. He is currently hard at work on The Routledge Handbook of CoFuturisms, co-edited with Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Grace Dillon, and Taryne Jade Taylor as well as his manuscript-in-progress Critical Race Theory and Science Fiction. If you would like to know more about Dr. Lavender, check out https://narrativeencounters.aau.at/how-reading-shapes-us-isiah-lavender/


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