Full text | PDF | Volume 1 (April 2019) | Request Permissions

“I am also a we”: The Interconnected, Intersectional Superheroes of Netflix’s Sense8

James M. Elrod

This article explores the hero collective in Netflix’s science fiction series Sense8 (2015–2018) as a manifestation of deeply-felt desires and anxieties in an era when neoliberalized capitalism and technology seemingly have encroached on every part of the globe. The superhero “cluster” of Sense8 carries the appeals of cosmopolitanism, globalism, and promised forms of intimacy which partially flatten experiences of difference by uncritically bypassing lines of nation, race, gender, and sexuality. However, as the cluster’s cosmopolitanism undercuts projects of re-negotiating and re-articulating power relations, it simultaneously represents various forms of enacted resistance in which bodies and inter-subjectivities of queer people and people of colour become literal sources of power. This meets the need, not only for greater identarian inclusivity across media, but for an intersectionality that can rebound against neoliberal logics.

Keywords: superheroes, intersectionality, cosmopolitanism, queer kinship, virtual intimacies

James M. Elrod is a doctoral student in the Department of Film, Television, & Media at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His broader interests include queer engagement with speculative genres in film and television. More specifically, however, he focuses on the ways queer adolescents incorporate and interact with these and other media as a part of social identity formation.