Looking for some help here. The conference topic for the next ICFA is “Representing Self and Other: Gender and Sexuality in the Fantastic,” and I’ve been trying to think of a paper that would fit in. (You’re not limited to the topic, but I’d like to give it a shot this year, instead of ignoring it entirely.) Gender and sexuality aren’t my usual stomping grounds, though, so it’s been a little tough. In fact, for a while the only thing I could think up was “Drow: The Black Hole of Otherness,” which is not so much a paper as an exercise in shooting fish in a barrel, and dead fish at that.
But I think I’ve found a way to develop that into a paper, by looking at the original appearance of the drow in a game module, and then their development since then in game materials and fiction — specifically, what work certain writers have done to try and rehabilitate them as something other than a horrible, horrible stereotype of Otherness. (I’ve gotten some indications that there have been some moves in that direction — enough to persuade me that reading a dozen or so new Forgotten Realms novels won’t be a complete waste of time that leaves me with nothing to talk about when I’m done.) So I’m halfway to being able to write an abstract. What I need now are academic references.
Y’see, I really haven’t taken any classes on this topic, and so I barely know where to begin. Who should I read if my focus is on the process of de-Othering a black-skinned, matriarchal, subterranean, racist, slave-owning, rigidly stratified, back-stabbing, religiously twisted and sexually perverted race of chaotic evil people? I think I can talk well enough about why it’s happening, but I need more on the how.