The Witch and Speculative Worlds: modes of opposition to the normative figure of the white Western cis hetero woman as witch

Speculative fiction encompasses a broad arena of genres that range from alternative histories to science fantasy. What almost all of these have in common is envisioning and enacting a world beyond our current one. This mode of imagination and exploration is integral for minoritarian and outcast people as modes of escape, ways to instigate empowerment, and establishment of real-life community though shared imaginative spaces. The figure of the witch is vital when considering minoritarian worldmaking. The witch -- in cultural, literary, and psychological spaces of the speculative imagination -- is also instrumental in shaping, shifting, and distributing a non-kyriarchical and more equitable understandings of witches and witchcraft that move beyond the Western, Global Northern, and Christian assumptions.

Four-time Hugo nominated science fiction editor, story producer, and all-around nerd, Diana M. Pho joins Ashley Lauren Rogers, an award-winning writer and trans activist and artist, for a discussion on the witch and speculative worlds. Focusing on genre speculative fiction, pop cultural media, and broader subcultural practices, such as convention life and cosplay, they are interested in other avenues of speculation in contrast with, in relation to, and as a mode of opposition to the normative figure of the white Western cis hetero woman as witch. From exclusions of trans women in cultural representation to depictions of and cultural borrowing from non-Western witches, such as through Vietnamese lore, the speakers will unpack, engage, and rethink the speculative and the witch.


Diana Pho (Speaker)

Ashley Rogers (Speaker)

Diana M. Pho and Ashley Rogers in front of a bookcase smiling at the camera
Ashley Rogers and Diana M. Pho