Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, v, pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jeffrey Berman


Afrofuturism, Extraterrestrial, Galactic Age, Sankofa, Whiteness, Whitley Strieber, Extraterrestrial beings, Extraterrestrial beings in literature, African Americans, Human-alien encounters, Human-alien encounters in literature

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Africana Studies


Octavia Butler asked if black skin was so disruptive a force that the mere presence of it alters a story? In a post-colonial era, skin color remains a polarizing topic. While humans are still redefining perceptions about race, people across planet earth are opening up to the possibility of the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. This paper explores how the acknowledgment of a galactic presence would transform perceptions of whiteness. The experiences of the best-selling author and proclaimed contactee, Whitley Strieber, are used as case studies to analyze if Amero-European ingrained bias toward melanin would influence the western world’s interactions with dark-skinned extraterrestrials species. The white male is portrayed as the prototypical sci-fi nerd in popular American culture; however, the themes and struggles present in science fiction remain deeply connected with those present in African American culture. Despite the presence of extraterrestrials in African centered tradition, Stieber's experience demonstrates that whiteness still holds influence on the dominant cultural position regarding alien contact.