The Quileute Dune: Frank Herbert, Indigeneity, and Empire

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Frank Herbert's influential science fiction novel Dune (1965) is usually understood as a prescient work of environmentalism. Yet it is also concerned with empire, and not merely in an abstract way. Herbert worked in politics with the men who oversaw the United States' overseas territories, and he took an unusually strong interest in Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest, particularly the Quileute Nation. Conversations with Quileute interlocutors both inspired Dune and help explain Herbert's turn toward environmentalism. This article recovers the neglected imperial context for Herbert's writing, reinterpreting Dune in light of that context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-216
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of American Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 22 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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