CfP: Suvin Today?, A Roundtable Discussion, The Society for Utopian Studies (November 9-12, 2017 in Memphis, TN)

Suvin Today?

A Roundtable Discussion

The Society for Utopian Studies (November 9-12, 2017 in Memphis, TN)

Proposal Deadline: July 8, 2017

Co-Organizers: Gerry Canavan and Hugh O’Connell

Nearly 45 years ago in December 1972, Darko Suvin published the signal sf studies text, “On the Poetics of the Science Fiction Genre.” It was this article that (in)famously introduced “SF as the literature of cognitive estrangement,” and which was later expanded for the equally trailblazing Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre (1979). Writing in the introduction to the recent Ralahine Classics edition of Metamorphoses, Gerry Canavan notes that although sf studies certainly predated this text, its publication was a watershed moment, delimiting a foundational discourse for science fiction studies. Indeed, whether in agreement or in strict opposition to Suvin’s work, it is still rare to find sf criticism that does not set out from Suvin. However, in recent years, the “Suvin Event,” as it has come to be known, seems increasingly to garner detractors with ever more calls to dislodge the Suvinian paradigm from the heart of sf studies. These works often proceed in the name of a more nuanced attention to the socio-historical function of genre studies, as a dismissal of the hierarchical ordering of speculative forms, or as an end to sf as a particular form with a particular vocation altogether. Yet Suvin did more than offer a formal definition of sf. While much has been written, particularly in relation to the notion of “cognition” and the formal gatekeeping rigidity of Suvin’s work, the utopian and radical historical materialist aspects of Suvin’s work are often lost or submerged by a long critical commentary that has fixated on its structural weaknesses (whether real or perceived). And this occlusion perhaps goes doubly so for his work in the historicization and internationalization of sf studies.

Therefore, with the 45th anniversary of “On the Poetics” upon us, not to mention the recent republication of the long out of print Metamorphoses in 2016, this informal roundtable discussion invites contributors to re-engage with the Suvin Event.

· In the words of Rhys Williams, how can we continue to break down the walls that Suvin’s “paradigm threw up” and that keep its still vital “living concepts petrified,” in order to free them for contemporary sf criticism?

· Or, following Patrick Parrinder, if the utility of the Suvin moment was already exhausted by 2000, not to mention the more recent withering critique by fellow marxist China Miéville, what is left to salvage from the Suvin Event?

· At the proposed end of the Suvin Event, what surprisingly new utopian anticipations await us?

· What aspects re-emerge – whether in new or altered form – after the updatings, alterations, and critiques?

· What parts of Suvin’s work have been under-attended?

· What has been left undiscovered – or is left to rediscover – at this late moment of zombie neoliberalism and the slow violence of its concomitant environmental apocalypse?

· How – or even, can – we conceive of sf’s utopian impulse in the post-Suvinian critical zeitgeist?

· Alternately, have the critics got it wrong?

We invite participants that take up these or any other aspects of Suvin’s work and the debates over the Suvin Event.

A note about the format: This session is being proposed as an informal roundtable discussion. Rather than the usual 20 minute, written presentations, contributors will be asked to keep their opening comments to a brief 5 minutes. Gerry Canavan, editor of the 2016 Ralahine Classics edition of Metamorphoses of Science Fiction, will then act as a respondent. Our intent is to provide more time for panelists to interact and discuss ideas with one another as well as with audience members than in the usual conference panel setting.

Please email Gerry Canavan (gerrycanavan@gmail.com) and Hugh O’Connell (hugh.oconnell@umb.edu) with a brief (250 words) synopsis or proposal for participation in the roundtable by July 8, 2017.

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CfP: Essays for Collection on Supergirl Television Series

Essays for Collection on Supergirl Television Series–Under Contract

deadline for submissions:
June 1, 2017

full name / name of organization:
Tim Rayborn and Melissa Wehler

contact email:
trayborn@sbcglobal.net

McFarland Publishers, an independent book publisher devoted to a wide variety of topics, including history, sports, and pop culture, will be releasing a collection of essays on the CW television series Supergirl. Tim Rayborn and Melissa Wehler will take on the role of editors.

Tim has written three books for McFarland (The Violent Pilgrimage, Against the Friars, and A New English Music), and co-edited an anthology of studies of the series Jessica Jones, to be published by McFarland in 2017. He has a PhD from the University of Leeds (UK), and has written numerous articles for magazines and journals, as well as an ongoing book series for Skyhorse Publishing. Melissa is the Dean of Humanities and Sciences, Central Penn College, Summerdale, PA. Her publications include book chapters in various edited collections, including “‘Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky’: Neil Gaiman’s Extraordinarily Ordinary Coraline,’” in A Quest of Her Own: The Female Hero in Modern Fantasy (McFarland, 2014) and “The Haunted Transatlantic Libertine: Edmund Kean’s American Tour” in Transnational Gothic: Literary and Social Exchanges in the Long Nineteenth Century (Ashgate Publishing, 2013).

Supergirl is now in its second season. It began life on CBS, but was moved to the CW at the end of season 1 to bring it into the same continuity as Executive Producer Greg Berlanti’s other DC Comics television shows (Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow). It has generated many positive reviews, though some feel that season two has shifted its tone somewhat from the first, particularly in keeping its female characters as the main focus.

The show explores a variety of topics, including women’s lives and roles (as a government agent, as the CEO of a media empire, as a police detective, as president, and as one of the most powerful beings on earth), the sister relationship between Kara and Alex Danvers (often held to be the heart of the show), the importance of family (regardless of how that family is created), issues concerning immigration and refugees, and LGBTQ representation (Alex’s coming out story arc and her subsequent relationship with detective Maggie Sawyer).

There is a wealth of material from the show that can be thoroughly examined. In assembling a collection of essays, we would like to see a variety of topics, particularly centered on gender studies, LGBTQ studies, and related psychology and sociology. Possible subjects might include:

The positive portrayal of women in these various and important roles
The portrayal of women as many of the show’s best villains
Subverted gender roles
LGBTQ representation in Alex’s highly-praised coming-out story arc
The “Sanvers” romance and its positive impact on LGBTQ communities and fandom
The role of family in the show (Alex and Kara as sisters; their relationship to their mother, Eliza; J’onn as a surrogate father to them both)
Thematic similarities and differences between seasons one and two, related to any of these topics
Sociological studies, such as which themes resonate with modern viewers, especially women and the LGBTQ community.
Essays must be in American English and spellings, fully cited with end notes, and bibliography, all in accordance with the current Chicago Manual of Style (the preferred style manual for this collection). The length of each contribution should be between about 6,000 and 8,000 words, unless there is a good reason that a given essay should be shorter or longer. Please use clear, concise writing, not overly academic jargon or dense prose.

Peer review will be conducted after the collection is submitted, currently scheduled for October, 2017. Accordingly, the deadline for final chapter submission is July 15, 2017, to allow us time to edit properly. Submissions before that deadline are, of course, most welcome and helpful. Season 2 has not yet finished, but contributors are welcome to submit proposals now about their topics before the season finale airs in early May. All proposals must be submitted by mid-May (final date to be decided).

If contributors wish to include images not in public domain or text excerpts from copyrighted materials requiring written permission to reproduce, they will be expected to obtain such permissions on their own, and pay the required reproduction fees (if needed); McFarland cannot reimburse for this expense. We will need hard copies of each such permission. McFarland also prefers that contributors not use extended quotations of dialogue from episodes, as well as images/screen captures, as these require additional permission/fees from the television network and can delay publication, unless contributors can obtain said permissions and pay fees themselves.

Potential contributors should submit a one- to two-page proposal including a potential title, a short description of the topic(s) for your essay, a brief summary of your background and qualifications, and contact information.

Please email your proposals to Tim at: trayborn@sbcglobal.net

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CfP: Organic Systems: Environments, Bodies and Culture in Science Fiction, London Science Fiction Research Community

Organic Systems: Environments, Bodies and Culture in Science Fiction

deadline for submissions:
May 31, 2017

full name / name of organization:
London Science Fiction Research Community (Birkbeck + Royal Holloway)

contact email:
londonsfsymposium@gmail.com

Though often understood in ecological terms, the word ‘environment’ can also be viewed more widely as the surroundings and conditions of a specific system—whether they be mechanical, biological, social or chemical. Culture arises from and then informs these systems, becoming itself a further component of environments. Science fictional texts have explored the interactions between culture, environments and bodies on a wide spectrum of scale: from the level of a planetary biosphere or climate system (e.g. terraforming) to a single body or organ (e.g. genetic engineering). This conference will gather Science Fiction researchers, critics, authors and readers together to discuss intersections between cultural and organic systems in all forms of SF media. Potential topics for presentation include, but are not limited to:

Interactions between culture, ecosystems and organisms;
Rhetorics, stylistics and tropes common to ecological SF;
Ecological SF’s relationship to its context of production;
Living worlds (e.g. the Gaia hypothesis);
Analogical connections between smaller bodies (e.g. humans) and larger (e.g. cities, planets, universes);
Environmental utopian and dystopian themes;
The technological versus the natural in environmental systems;
The relationship between socio-political systems and the environment;
The impact of radically altered bodies and conceptions of the body on culture, and vice versa;
The aesthetic and conceptual significance of modes and subcategories such as Biopunk and Ribofunk;
Interrelations between posthuman theories and texts and different types of technological and environmental change;
Transhumanism, both as a movement and an ideology;
Connections between SF media and the geohumanities.
The conference will also feature a keynote session with environmental humanities researcher Chris Pak, as well as a panel discussion with award-winning SF authors Gwyneth Jones, Paul McAuley and Adam Roberts.

Conference organisers: Francis Gene-Rowe (PhD, Royal Holloway, University of London), Rhodri Davies (PhD, Birkbeck, University of London), Aren Roukema (PhD, Birkbeck, University of London).

This conference is supported by the Centre for Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck College (University of London) and the Department of English, Royal Holloway (University of London)

Submit abstracts of up to 300 words for 20 minute papers by 31 May 2017 to londonsfsymposium@gmail.com. Please include a brief biography of no more than 100 words. Applicants will receive a response by 1 July.

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CfP: The Final Frontier (SAMLA 2017), November 3-5, Atlanta, Georgia

THE FINAL FRONTIER: OUTER SPACE AND POPULAR CULTURE

SAMLA 2017, November 3-5, Atlanta, Georgia

This CFP invites papers dealing with fictional representations of outer space, intergalactic travel, and other worlds. This panel is particularly interested in discussing why some texts about outer space remain central within scholarly and popular discourse while others fade into obscurity. Does the value of intergalactic fiction derive from its scientific and technological realism and its ability to, according to Hugo Gernsback, inspire “scientific fact and prophetic vision”? Or, does the staying power of these speculative fictions come from their complex worldmaking and engagement with empire and colonization (as in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series)? What determines whether we return to someone’s vision of life beyond the boundaries of Earth? We will consider space travel narratives from various decades and types of media including novels, short fiction, film, television, games, and music. By June 2, please submit a 250-word abstract, brief bio, and AV requirements to Andrea Krafft, Georgia Institute of Technology, at akrafft3@gatech.edu.

For additional CFPs and conference information, please visit https://samla.memberclicks.net/samla-89-cfps.

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Roger Schlobin and the IAFA: A Remembrance by C.W. Sullivan III

Roger Schlobin and the IAFA: A Remembrance

C.W. Sullivan III

Roger Schlobin, ICFA 24, photo courtesy of FAU Library Special Collections, the Robert A. Collins Collection

In 1978, I attended and read a paper at the “International Symposium on Creatures of Legend” in Omaha, Nebraska. It was there that I saw, on a sheet of paper thumbtacked to a corkboard, the announcement of “The First International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts,” Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton. I went, and Roger Schlobin may well have been the first person I got to know there. Roger was already emerging as an important scholar, perceptive critic, and demanding editor in the field of fantasy literature. But as I think about Roger in these days since his passing, I am struck by how singularly important he was to ICFA and then IAFA (the conference came first and then the organization, oddly enough) and to many individuals in the group.

ICFA was fairly small in those days, and the regular returners were an even smaller group. Roger and I got to know each other initially through shared interests, especially medieval British literature (each of us had earned a PhD in that area) and fantasy literature. We also liked talking about cars, both of us “gear heads,” I suppose, and Roger’s progress with his Datsun 280Z (which he still had) or my adventures with my Mazda MX-6 (which I still have) were always important topics between us.

But Roger was also a social and intellectual force in the organization, introducing people with like interests to each other (Canadian scholar Nick Ruddick and myself, for example) and organizing groups to go out to dinner. Roger would get six or eight people together, and we would go somewhere he had picked (he had a good nose for restaurants) and sit around a big table and talk. Roger would preside, directing without dominating the conversation, and all of us would return to the hotel having had a great time. Throughout the years, even after his official duties were over, Roger would continue to be a social force.

Roger mentored or encouraged or pushed me into a more active role within the organization. I was on the original organizational committee for the IAFA and then moved up through the ranks to be a division head, vice president (with Don Palumbo as president), and president (with Nick Ruddick as vice president). I spent years on the Executive Board as a result of holding those offices and never forgave Roger for all the work I had to do. OK, I am kidding about that. Roger’s continuing interest in and concern for the health of the organization and the conference meant that he was always around—socializing, mentoring, encouraging, and influencing people he thought would be “good for the conference” and for the organization.

If Roger did not have the original idea for the Graduate Student Award, now the David G. Hartwell Emerging Scholar Award, he was its selection committee chairperson for a number of years and drew great pleasure from coming up to the podium at the banquet and announcing the graduate student winner. If he made more of a performance of the presentation of the award than some people liked, it was because he felt that the award was important and that its presentation was a serious event, honoring the future of scholarship, the future of the organization.

I do not know how many ideas for ICFA/IAFA came from Roger in discussions with Bob Collins, Tim Sullivan, and Donald Morse, but Roger’s one year as president may be the role for which he should be most remembered. In 1984-1985, the IAFA went independent from previously sponsoring organizations and moved the conference from Boca Raton, Florida, with some encouragement from Hap Henrikson, to Beaumont, Texas. As an independent academic organization and conference IAFA/ICFA was dependent for its success on membership dues and conference registrations, the latter being funds that would not be fully available until after the conference. Roger, as President, and the redoubtable Donald Morse, as Hotel Liaison, guaranteed to the conference hotel that they would be personally and financially responsible if not enough guests showed up to cover the expenses of the conference rooms, the conference meals, and the conference banquet. The discussions between Roger and Donald about how to hold a respectable conference as cheaply as possible are the stuff of legend. I kidded Roger and Donald over the years about risking “Their Lives, their Fortunes, and their Sacred Honors” (as we read in medieval narratives) for IAFA and ICFA, but that bit of humor was not far from the truth. If not for Roger and Donald, who more than stepped up at that crucial moment, we might not be approaching the 40th meeting of the ICFA in 2019.

Roger Schlobin and Donald Morse, ICFA 6, 1985, photo courtesy of FAU Library Special Collections, the Robert A. Collins Collection

Roger was absent from the last few years of the conference, and I am sorry for that. I have a feeling that he had begun to feel out of the loop, that he no longer mattered to the conference and the organization. If so, that was everyone’s fault and no one’s fault; an organization moves on, and running IAFA and putting on ICFA year after year is a full-time job for the Executive Board. Some years ago, when all the former presidents save Jules Zanger and Marshall Tymn could be or were going to be at the conference, I proposed that their oral histories be recorded. The proposal was rejected, and although there are some archives, we, as an organization, have lost much important information as we have since lost Bob Collins, Mike Levy, and Roger Schlobin.

I retired from East Carolina University in 2011 and had seen Roger only on occasional visits to Greenville since then. We had planned to have some kind of 75th birthday blowout in 2019 (he was two weeks younger than I, both of us June 1944 babies—and I never let him forget that), but, sadly, that celebration will not now happen. As John Donne wrote, “Any man’s death diminishes me,” and I think that Roger Schlobin’s death diminishes us all, especially the “us” that is the IAFA and the ICFA. Let us remember him.

The presentation of the first Collins award to Bob Collins by Roger Schlobin as IAFA President, ICFA 6, 1985, photo courtesy of FAU Library Special Collections, the Robert A. Collins Collection

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CfP: Science Fiction for PAMLA Conference 2017 Honolulu, Hawaii (11/10-12/2017)

deadline for submissions:
May 21, 2017

full name / name of organization:
Justin Wyble, Chaminade University of Honolulu

contact email:
justin.wyble@chaminade.edu

This panel seeks any and all papers related to science fiction, especially in relation to this year’s theme of sight, visuality, and ways of seeing.

Individual paper presentations will be between 15 and 20 minutes long. Please submit proposals via the online system by May 21, 2017. The PAMLA 2017 Conference will be held at the lovely Chaminade University of Honolulu (with the official conference hotel being the Ala Moana) from Friday, November 10 to Sunday, November 12.

Paper proposals must be made via our online system found here:

http://pamla.org/2017/topic-areas

Any questions can be sent to the above email address.

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CfP: Video Game Studies: The Visual Politics of Play for PAMLA Conference 2017 Honolulu, Hawaii (11/10-12/2017)

deadline for submissions:
May 21, 2017

full name / name of organization:
Daniel Ante-Contreras, University of California, Riverside

contact email:
dante001@ucr.edu

This session is interested in both analysis of games and the gaming industry and the visibility and role of “video game studies” as an institutional entity. It seeks papers willing to engage with the intersections of visuality and play in games and game studies as they are and as they might be.

Individual paper presentations will be between 15 and 20 minutes long. Please submit proposals via the online system by May 21, 2017. The PAMLA 2017 Conference will be held at the lovely Chaminade University of Honolulu (with the official conference hotel being the Ala Moana) from Friday, November 10 to Sunday, November 12.

Paper proposals must be made via our online system found here:

http://pamla.org/2017/topic-areas

Any questions can be sent to the above email address.

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International Summer School on ScienceHumanities [British Society for Literature and Science]

In 2018 Cardiff University’s ScienceHumanities research group will host a
week-long International Summer School dedicated to the examination of the
relations between the humanities and the sciences.

The Summer School programme features workshops from leading scholars in
literature and science, the histories of science and medicine, and the
philosophy of science from across the UK and Europe. It is designed to give you
access to significant researchers in the field, and professional development
opportunities on publishing, public engagement, and archival research.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to share ideas, concepts and methods
with other doctoral students and begin to build a network of global contacts.
The Summer School also incorporates a cultural programme focussed on the rich
heritage of Cardiff as both a Welsh and British city.

The Summer School is open only to doctoral students located in universities and
research centres outside the UK. There are only 12 places available.

It is free to attend, but participants must be able to meet the cost of their
own transport, accommodation and part of their subsistence during their stay in
Cardiff. Advice will be given on accommodation and transport and some meals will
be included during the Summer School.

Two bursaries of £400 are available for students from nations with limited
resources.

To express initial interest and receive an application form please email
Professor Martin Willis on willism8@cardiff.ac.uk. Further information can be
found on the ScienceHumanities website at: https://cardiffsciencehumanities.org.

The closing date for expressions of interest is 29 September, 2017. Applications
must be submitted by 30 November, 2017 and decisions will be communicated by 31
December, 2017. Participating doctoral students must be able to commit to the
full 5 days of the Summer School.

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Call for Applications: Director of the Jamie Bishop Memorial Award

Call for Applications: Director of the Jamie Bishop Memorial Award

Letters of application should address the following items:

a. ability to collaborate with the IF Division Head (sharing contacts, etc)

b. ability to network with scholars working on all areas of the “fantastic” (broadly defined) in languages other than English

c. organizational skills, ability to respect deadlines, and to (politely) request others to respect deadlines

Address letters of application to the current director: Amy J. Ransom at ranso1aj@cmich.edu.

Deadline for applications: May 30

Applications will be reviewed by the current director, the IF Division Head and the ICFA Awards Director.

The selected applicant will begin his/her term June 1, 2017, with assistance by the current director.

For information on the Jamie Bishop Memorial Award, please visit: http://www.fantastic-arts.org/awards/jamie-bishop-memorial-award/

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CfP: Kurt Vonnegut: Ten Years Later—So It Goes, SAMLA 89, Nov. 3-5, in Atlanta, GA

Kurt Vonnegut: Ten Years Later—So It Goes

deadline for submissions:
May 31, 2017

full name / name of organization:
Josh Privett / SAMLA

contact email:
jprivett1@gsu.edu

It’s been ten years since American novelist Kurt Vonnegut passed away, and twenty since he published his final novel, Timequake. Author of fourteen novels and nearly one hundred published short stories (not to mention numerous plays and essay collections) over his fifty-year career, Vonnegut has been called everything from a hack to an innovator. Blurring fact and fiction, high and low styles of art, and conventions from genre and “literary” fiction, Vonnegut’s work remains popular with general readers, especially high school and college students, but is often maligned in serious academic circles, perhaps for that same reason. This panel seeks papers that focus on Vonnegut—his life or work—specifically in relation to this year’s conference theme, “High Art/Low Art: Borders and Boundaries in Popular Culture.” By May 31, please send a 250-word proposal, a brief CV, and any A/V requirements to Josh Privett, Georgia State University, jprivett1@gsu.edu, for SAMLA 89, Nov. 3-5, in Atlanta, GA.

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