1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Cesagen · People

Dr. Ildney Cavalcanti


1995-1999 PhD English Studies, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK1986-1988 MA English Studies, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, UFSC, Florianópolis, Brasil


(0) 2381 228281 / (0) 7825477091




Ildney Cavalcanti is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Languages (Ufal, Brazil, 1991-present), where she coordinates the research group Literatura e Utopia; has taught courses, given lectures and seminars on literatures in English, English as a foreign language, and the teaching of English; surpervised undergraduate and postgraduate students (MA and PhD); and carried out research on the following areas: literary studies, with special focus on contemporary women´s writing, utopias, dystopias and science fiction; Brazilian utopianisms; gender studies; cultural studies, the teaching of English as a foreign language. She is currently a Visiting Research Fellow in the ESRC Cesagen (Cardiff University), where she collaborates with Dr. Joan Haran on the project Fiction, Gender And Science: A Bilingual Critical Anthology of Women Authors´ Science-Fiction, Utopias and Dystopias, related to the study of the convergences of science and gender in women-authored short-stories in the genres of science-fiction, utopias and dystopias. She is also a member of the Women and Literature Research Group – ANPOLL, Brazil; of the Brazilian Association of University Professors of English in Brazil – ABRAPUI; of the Centre for Studies on Utopias – U-TOPOS; and of the Brazilian Association of Comparative Literature – ABRALIC. She has published articles, book chapters and reviews and edited books on the interfaces of gender, literature and science, on utopianism, on literature and the teaching of EFL; and is member of the editorial boards of Brazilian academic journals.

Research Update

Stories on science and gender: working towards the composition of a sci-fi anthology

Visiting researcher, Ildney Cavalcanti (Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil) and are collaborating on the project entitled fiction, gender and science: a bilingual critical anthology of science-fiction, utopias and dystopias by women, which , which involves surveying the field and translating and analyzing a selection of stories for publication of a bilingual (English and Portuguese) critical anthology comprising the fictions and related critical commentaries.

The initial step involved surveying and reading anthologies and collections of short stories in circulation in English. Thirty-eight anthologies published in the UK, the USA, Australia and Canada have been consulted, and over a hundred and twenty twentieth-century women sci-fi authors listed so far. This mapping has enabled visualizing the massive community formed by producers/editors in these speculative genres, as well as the most anthologized authors/texts. During this stage, there were visits to special collections and archives to trace and copy stories which are out of print, especially the ones published in pulp magazines in the first half of the twentieth century. This was accompanied by the drawing of the initial criteria for selection, which included both very instrumental details (the story length and year of original publication, for instance) and others less so, such as identifying the gender/science intersections; pursuing an encompassing definition of science; finding a balance between well-known and less known works; considering both ‘sci-fi’ and ‘mainstream’ authors; being aware of previous anthologies so as not to duplicate selections without a compelling reason, while, at the same time, acknowledging their importance and trying to incorporate their positive structural qualities.

An initial analysis and cross-reading were carried out for the definition of an overall conceptual framework that will give the volume a shape. This stage has led to thinking in terms of the scientific practices and discourses incorporated in/by the fictions in three major ways: concepts, ethics, pragmatics. These broad ‘trends’ are metaphorically stylized by means of recurring narrative tropes, motifs or figures relating to essentialism/anti-essentialism (biology as destiny, eugenics, genetic engineering and genetic mutation); reproduction and NRB (New Reproductive Biotechnologies); post-human subjectivities (artificial intelligence, cyborgs); the political ‘grammar’ of scientific practice and experimentation; women as subjects X women as objects of science; journeys of scientific exploration; the reutilization of scientific concepts and metaphors (evolution and evolutionary theory, parallel universes and alternate worlds, entropy, chaos theory).

This was followed by a fourth step, the final selection of fourteen short stories based on the previous stages. Networking with potential collaborators and translators has been in progress, and so have the bureaucratic activities of tracking authors and publishers for permissions and rights. Work on the analyses and on the translations themselves has also been in progress; and the final editing and the publication of the volume itself is planned to be complete next year.


Book chapters:

CAVALCANTI, I (2011) O amor em tempos distópicos: corpos utópicos em The Stone Gods, de Jeanette Winterson. [Love in times of dystopia: utopian bodies in The Stone Gods, by Jeanette Winterson.] In: Mundos gendrados alternativamente: ficção cientáfica, utopia, distopia. Maceió : Edufal, 2011, v.1, p. 13-27.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2009) Às margens das margens, o futuro do futuro: o espaço-tempo utópico em Body of Glass, de Marge Piercy [The margins of the margins, the future of the future: utopian space-time in Body of Glass, by Marge Piercy.] In: Sacramento, S. (Ed.)Gênero, Identidade e hibridismo cultural: enfoques possíveis. Ilhéus : Editus - Editora da UESC, 2009, p. 194-202.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2006) Oryx and Crake: restos de natureza e de cultura na distopia (quase) pós-humana de Margaret Atwood. [Oryx and Crake: rests of nature and culture in Margaret Atwood´s (quasi) post-human dystopia.] In: Cavalcanti, I; Cordiviola, A; Santos, D (Orgs.). Fábulas da iminência: ensaios sobre literatura e utopia. Recife: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Letras - UFPE.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2006) You´ve been framed: o corpo da mulher nas distopias feministas. [You´ve been framed: women´s bodies in feminist dystopias.] In: Monteiro, M.C.; LIMA, T. M. O. (Orgs.) Entre o estético e o político: a mulher nas literaturas de línguas estrangeiras. Florianópolis: Mulheres.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2006) Mestras, esposas, tias e mães: as mulheres e o poder nas distopias feministas. [Masters, wives, aunts and mothers: women and power in feminist dystopias.] In: Cavalcanti, I.; Lima, A.C.; Schneider, L. (Orgs.). Da mulher às mulheres: dialogando sobre literatura, gênero e identidades. Maceió: Edufal.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2004) Una Discesa nelle Distopie Contemparanee Scritte da Donne. [A Descent into Women´s Contemporary Dystopias.] In: Basile, M.; Suvin, Darko (Orgs.) Nuovissime Mappe Dell´Inferno - Distopia Oggi. Roma: Monolite.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2003) A Distopia Feminista Contemporânea: um Mito e uma Figura. [The Contemporary Feminist Dystopia: a myth and a figure] In: Brandão, I.; Muzart, Z. (Orgs.) Refazendo Nós: Ensaios sobre Mulher e Literatura. Florianópolis: Editora Mulheres.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2003) The Writing of Utopia in the Feminist Critical Dystopia. In: Baccolini, R.; Moylan, T. (Orgs.) Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination. London: Routledge.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2001) Contemporary Utopias: Configurations and Representations. In: Spinozzi, P. (Org.) Utopianism/Literary Utopias and National Cultural Identities: A Comparative Perspective. Bologna: University of Bologna, 2001.

Refereed articles:

CAVALCANTI, I, ROCQUE, L (2010) Essentialism and anti-essentialism in "The evening and the morning and the night", by Octavia Butler. Leitura (UFAL), v.41, p.55- 73.

TAVARES, R, CAVALCANTI, I (2010) Políticas Linguísticas e Letramentos Críticos no Ensino de Línguas Estrangeiras na Faculdade de Letras da Ufal. [Linguistic policies and critical literacy in the teaching of foreign languages of the Faculty of Languages, Ufal]. Letras & Letras (UFU), v.26, p.455 – 467.

CAVALCANTI, I, CORDIVIOLA, A (2009) Em busca das utopias da/na América Latina. [In search for utopias of/in Latin America.] Morus (UNICAMP) , v.6, p.413 - 421.

CAVALCANTI, I (2009) Feminismo, literatura e utopia: reflexões sobre uma "fotografia". [Feminism, literature and utopia: reflections on a “photography”.] Leitura (UFAL). , v.43/44, p.359 - 375.

CAVALCANTI, I (2009) O amor em tempos distópicos: Corpos utópicos em The Stone Gods, de Jeanette Winterson. [Love in times of dystopia: utopian bodies in The Stone Gods, by Jeanette Winterson.] Revista Fronteiraz, v.4, p.17.

CAVALCANTI, I. (2000) Utopias of/f Language in Contemporary Feminist Dystopias. Utopian Studies, v. 11, n. 2.

Books organized:

CAVALCANTI, I; PRADO, A eds. (2011) Mundos gendrados alternativamente: ficção científica, utopia, distopia. [Worlds gendered alternatively: science fiction, utopia, dystopia]. Maceió : Edufal.

CAVALCANTI, I ed. (2010) Revista Leitura 41 - Número temático Os (não) lugares da representação de gênero. [Journal Leitura 41 – Special issue: The (no) places of gender representation]. Maceió : Edufal.

CAVALCANTI, I ed. (2010) Revista Leitura 32 - Número temático Literatura e utopia. [Journal Leitura 41 – Special issue: Literature and Utopia]. Maceió : Edufal.

CAVALCANTI, I; CORDIVIOLA, A; SANTOS, Derivaldo dos Org. (2006) Fábulas da Iminência: ensaios sobre literatura e utopia. [Fables of imminence: essays on literature and utopia.] Recife: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Letras / UFPE.

CAVALCANTI, I; LIMA, Ana Cecília A; SCHNEIDER, Liane orgs (2006) . Da mulher às mulheres: dialogando sobre literatura, gênero e identidades. [From woman to women: dialogues on literature, gender and identities.] Maceió: Edufal.

Other publications:

CAVALCANTI, I (2012) Prefácio: Christine de Pizan via Luciana Deplagne; ou, da Cité des Dames à Cidade das Damas: utópica escritura em necessária ponte [Preface: Christine de Pizan via Luciana Deplagne; or, from Cité des Dames to Cidade das Damas: utopian writing and a necessary bridge.] In: Pizan, Christine. Cidade das Damas. Tradução Luciana Deplagne. João Pessoa: UFPB – forthcoming.

BRANDÃO, I; CAVALCANTI, I; LIMA, A C; COSTA, C L (2011) Caminhos de um Projeto de Tradução Feminista. [Tracks of a Project on Feminist Translation]. In: Anais do XIV Seminário Nacional & V Seminário Internacional Mulher e Literatura.

SAWADA, A; CAVALCANTI, I; ROCQUE, L (2008) Gênero, maternidade, maternagem e poder: variações na ficção científica de Atwood e Butler. [Gender, motherhood and power: variations in the science fiction by Atwood and Butler]. In: Anais do Fazendo Gênero 8: Corpo, Violência e Poder.

Research Interests

In the areas of literary studies (with focus on women’s contemporary narratives), gender studies, cultural studies and utopianisms. She has carried out eight projects in these areas (all were awarded supporting grants by Brazilian research agencies; six were finished; two are currently being developed), whose results have been presented in national (in Brazil) and international conferences and/or published as academic articles and book chapters.