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Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Once and Future Antiquity: Classical Traditions in Science Fiction and Fantasy
University of Puget Sound
March 27th-29th, 2015

What roles has classical antiquity played in visions of the future, the fantastic, the speculative, the might-have-been? How have works of science fiction, from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, imagined ancient traditions in relation to the modern world, whether at present or in the days after tomorrow? What might it mean to consider antiquity – its art, history, literature, philosophy, and material culture – through the lens of fantasy, a genre traditionally associated with medievalism? This conference seeks to build on recent and increasing work (e.g., conferences in Rouen, France (2012) and Liverpool, U.K. (2013), as well as the recent collection of Bost-Fiévet & Provini (2014) and the forthcoming collection of Rogers & Stevens (2015)) in this exciting field within
classical reception studies.

Proposals are invited for conference presentations (20 minutes plus discussion) [or thematically-organized panels of three (3) such presentations each] that raise particular versions of these questions under the general heading of Classical Traditions in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Topics might include, e.g., the rewriting of an ancient story by a modern author working in science fiction or fantasy; examination of a moment or trend in ancient history from a perspective developed in response to the modern genres; strategies for teaching ancient classics via comparison with modern works; or comparison of
classical and science fictional / fantastical approaches to knowing the world.

These are only examples, and the organizers welcome proposals dealing with any intersection between antiquity and modern science fiction or fantasy, including speculative fiction. The organizers also welcome abstracts considering how the Digital Humanities can help advance scholarship in this field. In preparing their proposals, contributors are encouraged to keep in mind an audience including not only
professional scholars and students but also devoted readers of science fiction and fantasy. Proposals of no more than 300 words should be sent to no later than December 15, 2014.

Authors will be notified of their proposals’ status by the end of December.

The conference is planned for the weekend of March 27th-29th, 2015, at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, USA. (Tacoma is the hometown of Dune’s Frank Herbert and located close to Seattle, home of the EMP, a museum devoted to SF, fantasy, and music). Participants will receive details about registration and lodging in December.

Questions may be directed to the organizers, Prof. Brett M. Rogers (University of Puget Sound) and Prof. Benjamin Eldon Stevens (Bryn Mawr College) at their individual email addresses (, or at the conference
email address given above.

On April 10th-12th, 2015, UF will be hosting its 12th annual Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, “Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media.”

Call For Papers

The Graduate Comics Organization at the University of Florida invites applicants to submit proposals to the 12th UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, “Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media.” The conference will be held from Friday, April 10th, 2015 to Sunday, April 12th, 2015. Proposals are due January 1st, 2015.

The analysis of diversity and representation in comic books is an integral and growing part of Comics Studies. For example, in only the past few years, Adilifu Nama published Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes (2011), which provides a historical overview of black comic-book superheroes and racial dynamics in superhero comics; Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II edited Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (2013), an essay collection which explores representations of race in both comic books and comic strips; and Joseph J. Darowski came out with X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books, which examines and tracks race and gender identity in the Uncanny X-Men roster of heroes and villains (2014).

Mainstream comics have been increasingly open to experimenting with diversity in sexuality, race, gender, and disability. Marvel has a new Muslim woman superhero; “traditionally” straight superheroes have been coming out in new universes/continuities; and disability often crosses over into hyperability (as in the cases of Daredevil and Echo, Professor X, Cyborg, and Batgirl/Oracle). However, many of these experiments in diversity have been limited or problematic, and have at times generated controversy (for example, Batwoman’s infamously canceled wedding). Alternative and independent comics, from the underground comix scene on, have long been a space for writers and artists to depict diverse characters who do not fit into the narrow mold of the straight, white, cissexual, neurotypical, and able-bodied male hero.

The goal of “Comics Read but Seldom Seen” is to celebrate and interrogate the representation of marginalized groups in comics and related media. “Related media” can include film and TV comic-book adaptations (as well as their promotional tie-ins), illustrated blogs, video games, news stories with accompanying photographs, street art, museum exhibits, advertisements, and all other cultural objects which juxtapose image and text to create new meaning. We are looking not only for critiques of those instances where imagetexts fall short in their representations of the marginalized, but also for thoughtful examinations of how and when comics and related media “get it right.”

Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Race, Space and Place in the Comics (The work of the Hernandez Brothers; Jessica Abel’s La Perdida; the work of Marjane Satrapi; Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat)
  • Representing Disability and Disorder (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home; autism in Keiko Tobe’s With the Light; epilepsy in David B.’s Epileptic)
  • Milestone Media and its history with DC
  • Queering the Supercommunity (LGBTQ representations in mainstream comics; “traditionally” straight superheroes coming out in new universes/continuities; conversations and backlash surrounding queer representation in mainstream comics; Northstar’s highly-publicized wedding; Batwoman’s canceled wedding)
  • Rethinking Race in ‘Mainstream’ Comics (Robert Morales and Kyle Baker’s The Truth: Red, White & Black)
  • Where Disability Meets Hyperability (Daredevil and Echo; Professor X; Cyborg; Batgirl/Oracle)
  • Manga and LGBTQ issues (Trans in Moto Hagio’s Wandering Son; representations of homosexuality in shounen-ai, shoujo-ai, yaoi, yuri, bara and BL)
  • Physical Disability in Manga (Inoue Takahiko’s REAL)
  • Diversity and Representation in Imagetextual News Media (the visual rhetoric of diversity in photojournalism)
  • Diversity and Representation in Video Games (female leads in games [PortalBeyond Good and Evil]; gaming characters of color [The Walking Dead]; the visual rhetoric of the Lara Croft reboot; the expansion of “queer” options dictated by player choice in Bioware RPGs)
  • Diversity and Representation in Cartoons and Anime (non-white leads in cartoons [anything from kids’ superhero fare like Generator Rex to satire like The Boondocks]; gender and sexuality in anime [Revolutionary Girl Utena, anime adaptations of LGBTQ manga]; “girl power” or female-led cartoons [Powerpuff GirlsMy Little Pony: Friendship is MagicThe Legend of Korra])

In addition to traditional, 15-20 minute presentations, “Comics Read but Seldom Seen” will also consider discussion panels from multiple presenters coordinating around a central topic or theme.

Proposals should be between 200 and 300 words, and are due January 1, 2015. All proposals should be submitted to Najwa Al-Tabaa

Hotels and Travel

Air Travel

We recommend flying into Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV), but bus service may be available to and from Orlando International (MCO). Please confirm availability before booking flights to or from MCO.

Ground Transportation

Gainesville is served by the Regional Transit System, which provides bus service to and from the Gainesville Regional Airport Monday through Friday, and throughout the city daily. Routes, schedules, and fares are available

Several taxi cab services are also available:
Gainesville Cab Co.: (352) 371-1515
Cab 24HR: (352) 374-8484
Gatorland Taxi: (352) 359-7142


The GCO has reserved a limited number of rooms at the Reitz Union Hotelon the UF campus. Contact the organizers for the conference’s group code.

Reitz Union Hotel: (352) 392-2151
Standard Rooms priced $89 (group rate) and $99 per night; Deluxe Rooms priced at $99 (group rate) and $109 per night

Holday Inn: (352) 376-1661

Days Inn Gainesville University: (352) 376-2222



  • Najwa Al-tabaa, GCO President
  • Najwa Al-tabaa
  • Spencer Chalifour
  • Melissa Loucks
  • Anuja Madan
  • Katie Shaeffer
  • Kayley Thomas

Thirty-Sixth International Conference
on the Fantastic in the Arts

The Scientific Imagination

March 18-22, 2015
Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel

The Scientific Imagination will be the theme for ICFA 36. Join us as we explore the possibilities and intersections of science and imagination—from Faust and Frankenstein, through the Golden Age and the New Wave, to steampunk and mash-ups—in all their guises, including fiction, film, television, music, theater, comics, visual art, and social media. Papers might explore topics such as rationalism vs. belief, science for good and ill, alternate and speculative technologies and biologies, futurism, imaginary sciences, time travel, and the tensions inherent in discovery, among other topics. We welcome papers on the work of our guests: Guest of Honor James Morrow (winner of the Sturgeon Award, the World Fantasy Award, and two Nebula Awards), Guest of Honor Joan Slonczewski (winner of two Campbell Awards), and Guest Scholar Colin Milburn (author of Nanovision: Engineering the Future). We also welcome proposals for individual papers and for academic sessions and panels on any aspect of the fantastic in any media. The deadline for proposals is October 31, 2014. We encourage work from institutionally affiliated scholars, independent scholars, international scholars who work in languages other than English, and graduate students.

Guest of Honor
James Morrow

James Morrow is a science fiction writer and author of the Godhead Trilogy, which includes the novels Towing JehovahBlameless in Abaddon, and The Eternal Footman. He has won the Theodore Sturgeon award for Shambling Towards Hiroshima, the World Fantasy Award for Only Begotten Daughter, and Nebula Awards for “City of Truth” and “Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge.” A self-described “scientific humanist,” he is widely recognized as one of our premiere satirists of religion, philosophy, and human belief systems. He is also a playwright. His most recent novels are The Philosopher’s Apprentice and Shambling Towards Hiroshima.

Guest of Honor
Joan Slonczewski

Joan Slonczewski is a Professor of Microbiology at Kenyon College and an award-winning science fiction writer. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and teaches courses including Microbiology, Virology, and Biology in Science Fiction at Kenyon, in addition to mentoring students conducting research in Kenyon’s Bacterial pH Laboratory. She has won grants for her research from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other major donors. She has twice received the John W. Campbell Award for best science fiction novel, for The Highest Frontier and A Door Into Ocean.

Guest Scholar
Colin Milburn

Colin Milburn holds the Gary Snyder Chair in Science and the Humanities at UC Davis, where he is an Associate Professor of English and Director of the UC Davis Humanities Innovation Lab. His research focuses on the intersections of science, literature, and media technologies, and he is affiliated with programs in Cinema and Technocultural Studies, Performance Studies, Cultural Studies, and Critical Theory, as well as the W. M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth and the Center for Science & Innovation Studies. His books include Nanovision: Engineering the Future and Mondo Nano: Fun and Games in the World of Digital Matter, forthcoming in 2014.

Our submissions portal, will open Sep. 15 to receive proposals!

Download the Call for Papers Here!

VSAWC 2015 Proposed Panel: “Modified in the guts of the living”: Victorian Texts in Contemporary Fandoms

In a practice Henry Jenkins famously refers to as “textual poaching,” fans appropriate characters and narratives from canonical texts in order to adapt and rewrite them in novel ways, and for a variety of reasons: artistic, political, communal, financial, emotional, sexual, and other. Contemporary fandoms are vast in scope, multi-platformed, multimedia subcultures which operate via an economy of participation that has typically held itself apart from academic study, while simultaneously being scorned as an ‘illegitimate’ subject of study by the academy. Recently, though, scholars from anthropologists to sociologists and literary theorists have begun to turn their attention to fandom and fanfiction as rich sites of cultural meaning. This attention is often a source of discomfort to the  fans themselves, even as a new hybrid, “acafan” attempts to bridge the divide.

Hybridity is the essence of these transformative works. Lev Grossman states, “Fanfiction has become wildly more biodiverse than the canonical works that it springs from. It encompasses male pregnancy, centaurification, body swapping, apocalypses, reincarnation, and every sexual fetish, kink, combination, position, and inversion you can imagine and a lot more that you could but would probably prefer not to. It breaks down walls between genders and genres and races and canons and bodies and species and past and future and conscious and unconscious and fiction and reality” (Forward, Fic).

This diversity includes Victorian texts; in multiple fandoms, fanfiction authors have used Victorian source material as a starting point for writing about characters from literature, television, film and celebrity culture, creating what are called, in fan parlance, “crossovers”. These crossovers address lacunae in both canons, overwriting a broader variety of experience onto each source text.

This panel seeks to explore that variety: the biodiversity of Victorian texts within contemporary fandoms. How are the body of the text and the bodies in the texts altered by fan authors? What does this reveal about the canonical texts, the bodies that inhabit them, the bodies that wrote them, and the bodies that produce and consume them now? How, as W.H. Auden might have put it, are Victorian texts “modified in the guts of the living”?

We are looking for contributors a planned panel at the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada 2015 conference in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, on April 10-11 (original cfp here: Please submit a 250-word abstract to Elise Mitchell ( and/or Elyssa Warkentin ( by September 25, 2014.

British Society for Literature and Science
Symposium on Teaching 

University of Westminster, Regent Street, London – 8th November, 2014


Literature and Science is currently gaining popularity amongst undergraduates, but opportunities for discussing how – and why – to teach it remain thin on the ground. This one-day symposium, led by the British Society for Literature and Science and supported by the University of Westminster’s Centre for the Study of Science and the Imagination, is designed to help further that discussion.

We are keen to hear from as many different perspectives as possible, and therefore invite contributions from anyone with experience as a teacher, postgraduate teaching assistant, student, or administrator of an undergraduate course on (or containing elements of) Literature and Science, broadly defined.

For this event, we have adopted a different format from the standard academic twenty-minute conference paper, and will ask speakers to present in a more informal tone and for different lengths of time depending on the session. These shorter, less formal presentations will minimise preparation time for speakers as well as increasing discussion time for all participants.

With this low-preparation, discursive format in mind, we warmly solicit expressions of interest (not more than 200 words, including a brief biography and details of experience with Literature and Science teaching) from potential speakers. These should be sent to Dr. Will Tattersdill ( not later than October 10th 2014. Subjects we are anxious to discuss include, but are not limited to:

  • Why Literature and Science is worth teaching to undergraduates (and why it might not be)
  • Reflections on how, if at all, Literature and Science needs to be taught differently from other undergraduate programmes.
  • Particular difficulties encountered in convening a Literature and Science course, be they conceptual, administrative, logistical, or pedagogical.
  • Experiences collaborating with academic staff from other disciplines, including the sciences.
  • Student reactions to Literature and Science material, positive and negative.

We are committed to inviting contributions from those teaching literature and science across all historical periods, working across international educational contexts as well as within the British higher education system. There will be invited speakers as well as this open call, and current undergraduates will hopefully be among the delegates.

Many of us teach literature and science on our own initiative, coping individually with both the joys and challenges raised by the endeavour. This is an important chance to consolidate those experiences and build strategies – and collegial networks – which will continue to drive the field forward at its grass roots: undergraduate teaching.

Professor Martin Willis

Chair in Science, Literature and Communication

Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies

University of Westminster

32-38 Wells Street

London W1T 3UW

Director, Centre for the Study of Science and Imagination (SCIMAG) –

Editor, Journal of Literature and Science –

The University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Registration number: 977818 England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW.

About the Book

About the Book

This book makes connections between mythopoeic fantasy—works that engage the numinous—and the critical apparatuses of ecocriticism and posthumanism. Drawing from the ideas of Rudolf Otto in The Idea of the Holy, mythopoeic fantasy is a means of subverting normative modes of perception to both encounter the numinous and to challenge the perceptions of the natural world. Beginning with S.T. Coleridge’s theories of the imagination as embodied in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the book moves on to explore standard mythopoeic fantasists such as George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Taking a step outside these men, particularly influenced by Christianity, the concluding chapters discuss Algernon Blackwood and Ursula Le Guin, whose works evoke the numinous without a specifically Christian worldview.