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Monthly Archives: January 2018

PKD Day 2018

We welcome proposals for twenty-minute presentations from both creative and academic practitioners, and from undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers, and established scholars.

Please see our call for papers here: PKD-Day-2018-Call-For-Papers

PKD Day 2018 is hosted by Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. The event is free and will be held at the Guild Rooms with the Edinburgh Filmhouse.

Stranger Things: The Weird, the Paranormal, and the Problem of Belief

British Modernities Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

20–21 April 2018, Urbana, IL

Keynote Presentation: “Listening to the Dead: W. B. Yeats’s Communication with Spirits”

By Dr. Catherine E. Paul, Professor Emerita, Clemson University

Additional speakers TBA

The British Modernities Group (BMG) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites graduate students from all disciplines to present papers at its thirteenth annual interdisciplinary conference: “Stranger Things: The Weird, the Paranormal, and the Problem of Belief.”

Ghosts, spirits, and supernatural beings occupy much of our contemporary cultural imagination, as shown by the runaway successes of David Lynch’s revamped Twin Peaks and the Netflix original series Stranger Things. At the same time, the humanist modes of thinking that Western philosophy has relied on to make sense of the world have proven insufficient. What we have assumed to be inanimate, insentient, nonexistent, or even dead has come to haunt our previous theories and has helped to spur developments in critical thought that include object-oriented ontology, thing theory, and critical animal and/or plant studies. All these developments have troubled humanity’s relationship with the world in ways that may be termed “weird.” Indeed, these new approaches assure us, to borrow from Hamlet, that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies.

Our conference brings together innovative work in literature, film, philosophy, religious studies, history, psychology, and related fields to consider the significance of the weird and paranormal in art, culture, and critical theory. Some questions we hope to reflect on include: How do encounters with the weird and/or paranormal manage to inspire both horror and pleasure? How should we as readers account for the beliefs of an author, or the beliefs we ourselves bring to a work of art? Following Marx and Derrida, what sort of spectres haunt contemporary society? How might attending to stranger things help us imagine, and possibly create, alternate futures? What do we do with the weird—and what does the weird do to us?

The British Modernities Group invites novel paper proposals from any discipline and theoretical background. Past presenters have included Americanists, Classicists, Medievalists, and scholars from fields outside of literary studies. We would love to hear from a wide range of specialties! Possible paper topics, methodologies, and fields of inquiry include, but are not limited to, the following:

Belief, Unbelief, and Heresy
Fairy Tales and Myth
Faith and Skepticism
Ghosts, Hauntings, and Spirits
The Gothic
Hauntology and the Spectral Turn
Memory Studies
Mysticism and Spirituality
Object-Oriented Ontology
The Occult
The Paranormal
The Postsecular Turn
Psychology, Parapsychology, and Madness
Religion in Art and Culture
Speculative Fiction and Science Fiction
The Trace
The Uncanny
The Weird

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words for individual papers (or 350 words for panels) to Patrick Kimutis and Sabrina Lee at by 14 February 2018. Please include your name, along with your departmental and institutional affiliations, in your email. Conference papers must not exceed 20 minutes.

Visit our website ( or check us out on Facebook ( ) and Twitter (@BMGmodernities) for more information about the BMG.

Dear IAFA Members and ICFA 39 “Frankenstein Bicentennial” Attendees:

Update! Conference chair Donald Morse writes:

“Our room block at the Marriott is full, and at the moment the hotel is also sold out the weekend of the conference. We still have a few rooms for the rest of the week, but definitely nothing on Friday or Saturday night.

“We are working on an overflow hotel within walking distance and will report back to you as soon as negotiations are complete.

“If for any reason you have a room and have to cancel, please let Jeri Zulli (jerzulli AT know, because we may well be able to pass your room onto another conferee who does not have one. To do this, we will need to know your confirmation number. If there are no takers, we will cancel the room for you. In either event, we will let you know exactly the action we take.”

Another update! The IAFA Store is open. Are you regretting not having purchased a T-shirt for your extensive collection? Do you want to buy a banquet ticket after all? Or perhaps you wish your SO to join you at the Friday Guest Scholar luncheon? Then head over to the IAFA Store, where you can make these purchases: PayPal is used to run the transactions, but you don’t need an account.

T-shirts and meal tickets will be available on site—but if you wish to be guaranteed that T-shirt, tote, or meal ticket, buy them now.

As always, if you have questions or problems, please email me. See you in March!

Karen Hellekson

IAFA Registrar

iafareg AT

Worldcon’s Academic Track has extended its Call for Papers deadline to March 1, 2018. We recently received a generous donation from The Heinlein Society for a $250 cash prize for “Best Academic Paper” and want to give scholars additional time to submit.

This $250 prize will be awarded based on presentations given at Worldcon 76.

For full information, see

Revised CFP is copied below:

– – –
Academic Track at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention — August 16-20, 2018
San José McEnery Convention Center (San José, California)

Science fiction always plays a part in recreating our world and directing civilization’s progress. While much SF takes place in a hypothetical “future,” the entire body of speculative literature influences and interacts with our world—suggesting potentialities, solutions, organizational methods, alternative cultures, and paths to follow or avoid. In that spirit, the 76th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in San José, California has chosen “Make the Future” for its overarching theme.

The Academic Track Committee welcomes proposals for scholarly presentations, especially those that study content tied to our “Make the Future” convention theme, such as the following examples:
* Any and all utopian or futurist novels, short stories, comic books, or other media
* Classic SF works that changed the direction of their era
* Dystopian novels, comic books, and other media that portray catastrophic scenarios to prevent them from happening in reality (1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Water Knife, Bitch Planet, etc.)
* SF groups as progressive communities (“slan shacks,” writers’ colonies, online communities, etc.)
* Ties between SF literature and socio-political movements
* Ties between maker culture and science fiction, including DIY art and music, steampunk, dieselpunk, and any other design aesthetics
* Major movements in the SF genre’s history

The Heinlein Society has generously approved at $250 prize for “Best Academic Track Paper at 2018 Worldcon.” Additionally, we are interested in proposals incorporating Worldcon visiting authors, timely content, or regional interest (such as California/Western authors or settings). Such topics might include:
* Guests of Honor Spider Robinson and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, or Ghost of Honor Edgar Pangborn
* Works and influence of Robert A. Heinlein
* Other authors planning to attend Worldcon 76
* Silicon Valley in SF
* Science fiction in Wild West dime novels and pulps
* Mill Valley and San Francisco in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (book and/or films)
* Philip K. Dick’s writing during his years living in Point Reyes Station
* Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Three Californias” trilogy and related works
* Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at its 200th anniversary

As part of Worldcon programming, academic-track audiences often include a blend of scholars, writers, artists, readers, and fans. Presentations should be academically rigorous, but also accessible to a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. We welcome papers from scholars at all stages of their research careers, including advanced undergraduate students and independent scholars. Panels or roundtables that include SF creators (writers, directors, game designers, etc.) are highly encouraged as well.
In many ways, Worldcon’s academic track offers an ideal opportunity for scholars to reach audiences they might not see at exclusively academic conferences.
The committee is seeking three kinds of proposals:
* Paper – one 20-minute long presentation
* Panel – a group of 3 to 4 related presentations of 15- to 20-minute length each
* Roundtable – a group of speakers on a specific topic moderated by one individual for an hour plus question/answer period


For INDIVIDUAL PAPERS, include the following items (clearly labeled) in a single document:
1. Your name and contact information
2. Maximum 300-word abstract summarizing the focus and concept of your presentation
3. Maximum 100-word biographical note including academic affiliation (if applicable), sample prior publications/presentations, and any other connections to SF community

For PANELS, include the following items (clearly labeled) in a single document:
1. Name and contact information of panel’s chair
2. Title of panel and a maximum 200-word statement describing its focus
3. Maximum 300-word abstract summarizing the focus and concept of each presenter’s paper
4. Maximum 100-word biographical note for each speaker, including academic affiliation (if applicable), sample prior publications/presentations, and any other connections to SF community

For ROUNDTABLES, include the following items (clearly labeled) in a single document:
1. Name and contact information of roundtable’s organizer and moderator
2. Title of roundtable, its topic, and a maximum 300-word statement describing its focus
3. Short list of sample discussion topics
4. Maximum 100-word biographical note for each speaker, including academic affiliation (if applicable), sample prior publications/presentations, and other connections to SF community
We will accept only one presentation per scholar, although presenters are welcome to moderate or chair one other session.


All proposals should be sent as Word or PDF email attachments to by midnight PST, on our new deadline, March 1, 2018. Please provide a subject line that identifies the type of presentation using this format: “[Panel or Paper or Roundtable] Proposal: [your title]
Example: Paper Proposal: Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the Bay Area
Note: All selected speakers will be responsible for their own Worldcon membership, travel, and all related expenses. For more information on purchasing membership, see the Worldcon 76 convention website. Membership includes access to the entire convention, not just the academic track.
For more on the Worldcon’s history and theme, visit
For questions, contact Dr. Nathaniel Williams, Worldcon 76 Academic-Track Coordinator at
Worldcon 76 – Academic Track Call for Papers

Brumal is a peer-reviewed journal of the Grupo de Estudios sobre lo Fantastico and based at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona]

Monographic issue “Horror and the Fantastic” (Coord. David Roas)
[NB: We also accept miscellaneous submissions year-round]

Deadline: June 10, 2018

Since its birth, the fantastic has been an excellent way to explore our
fears of the unknown – “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind”,
as Lovecraft stated in his well-known essay The Supernatural Horror in
Literature (1927). The aim of the fantastic is to destabilise the codes that
we have established to understand and represent the real: when we are
confronted with the conflictive coexistence of the possible and the
impossible in a realistic world like ours, our certainties about the real
stop working. Faced with this, fear is our only defence.

This is the type of experience that we want to examine in this monographic
issue of Brumal. For this reason, we will exclude forms of fear that arise
from a natural source (serial killers, terrorism, animal attacks, etc.).
Instead, we encourage reflections on the multiple ways through which what we
have called “metaphysical fear”– an effect that is inherent and
exclusive to the fantastic – is spread, generated by the transgressive
irruption of the impossible.

This monographic issue of Brumal will accept works focused on the
relationship between Horror and the Fantastic in literature, cinema, TV,
comic, theatre, etc.

Some areas of research include, but are not limited to:

Theoretical perspectives on horror
The rhetoric of fear
From classical fears to postmodern horror
The monster as the fantastic anomaly
Space as source of horror
Horror and its boundaries
Brumal will only consider works of a fantastic nature as defined by the
journal, hereby only accepting papers on other non-mimetic genres such as
the marvellous or science fiction if and when they are related to the
fantastic narrative.

Miscellaneous Section

This Miscellaneous section is open all year to receive any type of article
on any of the diverse artistic manifestations of the fantastic (narrative,
theater, film, comics, painting, photography, video games), whether
theoretical, critical, historical or comparative in nature, concerning the
fantastic in any language or from any country, from the nineteenth century
to the present.

Thanks for the continuing interest in our work,
Comité Redacción
Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, España.
Phone +34 93 586 8079
Fax +34 93 581 1686

Going Global: Steampunk and Transnational Cultures

Call for Papers

The Asylum Steampunk Festival Conference
Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln
25th – 26th August 2018

Keynote Speaker:
Yomi Ayeni – Transmedia Author, Producer, and Filmmaker

Following on from the success of the inaugural 2017 symposium, we invite abstracts for this year’s steampunk conference at the Asylum Festival. To celebrate a decade of Europe’s largest steampunk festival, we will be focussing on steampunk on the global scale.
Since the creation of the Asylum Festival, steampunk has grown in popularity, expanding from its initial literary forms and subcultural communities to infiltrate and inform many areas of popular culture and mass media. As it has been adopted and adapted around the world, so it has started to shift away from its Anglocentric, (neo-)Victorian roots. This has led to the rise of vibrant and diverse steampunk cultures and communities across the globe. This conference will explore the nature of what has become a worldwide phenomenon. It will reflect on the factors that have encouraged steampunk’s global development, and examine the ways in which steampunk has been appropriated and inflected by countries and cultures across the planet.
Each August Lincoln (UK) becomes the temporary capital of European steampunk culture. This is your opportunity to join us in a celebration of steampunk, to share papers and exchange ideas, and to participate in lively cross-disciplinary discussion.

Papers might consider (but are certainly not limited to) some of the following topics:

• Multicultural steampunk – steampunk fictions and cultures around the world.

• Asian, African, Latin American and Australasian steampunk.

• The cultural functioning of global steampunk – cultural appropriation, adaptation, splicing and cross fertilisation.

• Steampunk, imperialism and anti-imperialism – re-reading, rewriting, reimagining and reclaiming histories.

• Steampunk as a reflection of and reaction to transcultural and transnational concerns.

• Steampunk and global politics; steampunk, neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism.

• The construction and operation of global steampunk networks and online communities; steampunk’s relationship to communication technologies.

• Steampunk and transnational cultural modes – film, video gaming, comics; steampunk and commercialisation.

• Steampunk aesthetics and their national manifestations.

• Steampunk as resistance and challenge to prevalent cultural modes.

• Steampunk fashion – global, national, and local styles.

• Non-European perspectives on European steampunk and its early science fiction predecessors (Jules Verne, Albert Robida, H.G. Wells, etc)

• Steampunk temporalities- multicultural notions of time; steampunk beyond its neo-Victorian origins.

• Steampunk and technology – old, new, and recycled.

• Cross-disciplinary approaches to steampunk – steampunk’s relationship with science, engineering, philosophy, politics, anthropology, etc, alongside more traditional fields such as art, literature and film.

Please send an abstract (300 words max) for a 20 minute paper, and a short bio (150 words max), to and by Friday March 30th 2018. We welcome proposals from individuals and pre-arranged panels.

ICFA 39 “Frankenstein Bicentennial”

200 Years of the Fantastic: Celebrating Frankenstein and Mary Shelley

The Thirty-Ninth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts

March 14-18, 2018

Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside, Orlando, Florida, USA
Guests of Honor: John Kessel and Nike Sulway

Guest Scholar: Fred Botting

Dear IAFA members and past ICFA attendees,
As the Thirty-Ninth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts nears, I wanted to send out a few reminders.


(The website is being updated. Please bear with us during this transition!)

First, you must be a member to present a paper or sit on a panel. If you haven’t already, renew here:

Next, if you haven’t already done so, you can register for the conference here:

Holders of joint memberships must register for the conference individually.

To easily book the hotel, go to their website:

IAFA group code for conference rate: IAMIAMA

Direct-dial the hotel if you experience problems: (407) 851-9000

Please book the hotel as soon as you can, as rooms will fill up quickly. The rate ends on January 31, 2018.

Also, if you had a paper accepted but you know you cannot attend, please let your Division Head know as soon as you can, so we can remove you from the program.

A list of all fees associated with the conference can be found here:


Dates are reckoned by local time in Orlando, Florida.

Normal registration is ongoing. Late registration begins on January 31, 2018.

Registration blackout begins on February 22, 2018. On and after this day, the online system will be closed so the conference committee can commit to the hotel for space and meal requirements. The system will open again for on-site registration on March 14, 2018.
No refunds will be given after February 1, 2018. Exceptions may be appealed to the Board.


Student Caucus (SCIAFA) and Mentoring Program

The purpose of the Student Caucus (SCIAFA) is to foster and promote growth, scholarship, and fellowship among the student members of the IAFA and to address the needs of students working in the field of the fantastic, by establishing mentoring and other programs, through coordinating efforts with the main body of the IAFA. If you are a student member of the IAFA, you are automatically a member of SCIAFA.
The mentoring program is an important part of the SCIAFA. Since 2001, the IAFA Student Caucus (SCIAFA) has sponsored a Mentoring Program aimed at helping student scholars to find their way around ICFA, discover the natural friendliness of the conference as quickly as possible, use ICFA as an entrance into existing scholarly communities concerned with the fantastic, and leave with both fond memories of the supporting organization and plans to return. This year, the SCIAFA is still accepting participants for the Mentoring Program, and we are in great need of mentors, so please consider signing up. For more information about the Mentoring Program, or to sign up as either a mentor or mentee, please contact Amanda Rudd ( AT


The Registration and AV areas always welcome volunteer help; interested folks can sign up here:
IAFA Bucks at the fabulous new rate of $10 an hour will be provided. These may be used for swag and meal tickets at this year’s convention, or they may be held and put toward next year’s registration. IAFA Bucks may not be used for this year’s registration, and they may not be used in the Book Room, which is financially independent.

Discussion List and Social Media
• IAFA Listserv:
• IAFA on Facebook:
• IAFA on Twitter:
• Student Caucus (SCIAFA) on Facebook:

If you have any questions or need any help with membership renewal or registration, please email me. We look forward to seeing you in March!

Karen Hellekson
IAFA Membership Registrar
iafareg AT

We are now calling for papers for The Tolkien Society Seminar 2018, which will be held on Sunday 1 July in Leeds at the Hilton Leeds City. The theme is Tolkien the Pagan? Reading Middle-earth through a Spiritual Lens.

Call for Papers

Tolkien the Pagan? Reading Middle-earth through a Spiritual Lens

The Tolkien Society invites individuals from both scholarly and non-academic backgrounds who have an interest in Tolkien to apply.

Papers may consider, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Characters’ faith and devotion within Tolkien’s narratives
  • Non-Christian readings of Tolkien’s fiction
  • Neo-pagan movements based on Tolkien’s mythology
  • Invented religions in fantasy fiction

Considering the nature of the conference’s topic, delegates are encouraged to exercise restraint and be mindful of the individual beliefs of their fellow conference-goers.

We are now accepting proposals for 20-minute papers, followed by questions. Prospective speakers are invited to send abstracts of no more than 300 words, along with a short biography, by Friday 6 April.

Submit your abstract online here.

About the Seminar

The Tolkien Society Seminar is a one-day conference of academic of talks and panel discussions on a specific theme. Held most years since 1986, the date and venue used to vary each time, but it is now held in Leeds on the Sunday before the start of the International Medieval Congress (IMC).

There will be six Tolkien-related sessions at the IMC in 2018:

  • Memory in Tolkien’s Medievalism, I (Monday 2 July, 11:15–12:45)
  • Memory in Tolkien’s Medievalism, II (Monday 2 July, 14:15–15:45)
  • ‘New’ Tolkien: Expanding the Canon (Monday 2 July, 16:30–18:00)
  • Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches, I (Tuesday 3 July, 14:15–15:45)
  • Medieval Roots and Modern Branches, II (Tuesday 3 July, 16:30–18:00)
  • Tolkien in Context(s): A Round Table Discussion (Tuesday 3 July, 19:00–20:00)

Visit Dr Dimitra Fimi’s blog for more information.


Registration is now open.

Registration costs £25 for members and £30 for non-members, and includes refreshments throughout the day, catered breaks and sandwiches for lunch.


One Day Symposium, 28th April 2018, University of Edinburgh

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sorcha Ní Fhlainn (Manchester Metropolitan University)

We live in scary, uncertain times. In recent years, we have witnessed the rise of hard-line nationalism, the ascendency of racist alt-right politics and attacks on the increasingly fragile-looking institution of democracy. We contend, daily, with the threat of seemingly inevitable ecological catastrophe. The Horror genre has always been understood as a potent mirror and bellwether, able to digest the socio-cultural and political currents of a given moment and feed them back to us in uncompromising and disturbing ways. This conference seeks to consider how representations of horror are changing in our own contemporary moment, where the line between fiction and reality, truth and lies appears to be fraying beyond recognition.

Recent academic scholarship on horror has diverged towards topics such as: fear and the appearance of reality within found footage horror; the multisensory perception of horror in video games, television and theme parks; and the rise of concepts such as ‘The Horror of Philosophy’. There has also been a focus towards contemporary studies of Queer Horror and appropriation, audience participation, and changing tastes in horror fandom. This one-day multidisciplinary conference seeks to analyse representations of horror since 2000, with particular emphasis on current trends and cycles, and the ways in which horror can be said to reflect contemporary anxieties and fears. We are specifically interested in determining some of the ways in which these aesthetics have changed and why. We would especially welcome research that addresses the causes of some of these changes in representations of horror across media and academic disciplines.

(for 20-minute presentations)

Topics might include (but are not limited to):

Contemporary Representations of Body Horror
Generic Mutations
New Horror Television (American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Hannibal, etc.)
Abjection and Transgression
Horror and Trauma
Experimental/Avant-Garde/Underground Horror: Film, Art and Literature
Horror and Nostalgia
News Media Representations of Horror
Virtual Reality (VR) horror
Horror and Disability
Contemporary Cult Horror
New Genres, Subgenres and Hybrids
Horror and the Senses
Queer Horror and Performance
Horror Fandom and Audiences
Literary Horror Adaptations
Shudder, Chiller and Contemporary Horror Networks and Viewing Platforms
As a postgraduate led conference, we also welcome submissions from Masters and PhD students to present work-in-progress papers, which will be 15 minutes in length (as opposed to the usual 20 minutes). We believe these work-in-progress panels will be useful for gaining helpful feedback from peers on ongoing research.

Please submit proposals of 200-250 words, along with a short biographical note (100 words) to by Wednesday 7th February 2018. Accepted presentations should be 20 minutes in length (15 min for work in progress).

We also welcome video essay proposals. Contributors should upload their video to Vimeo, preferably to a password protected page, then email the relevant URL and password, along with a 200-word proposal and a short biographical note (100 words) to by Wednesday 7th February 2018. PLEASE NOTE: We ask that video essays be no longer than 10 minutes in length, to allow sufficient time to make a formal presentation after the video is screened.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome by Monday 19th February 2018.

Artificial Life: Debating Medical Modernity (April 19-21, UC Riverside)

To debate our medical modernity means to historicize, criticize, and question the comforting narrative of society’s improving health by exploring accounts of marginalized knowledge and criticisms of the modern medical paradigm. We invite questions about the subjects of medical practice as the line between human and nonhuman, even that between organic and inorganic, is being challenged by diverse fields of scholarship. We are especially interested in papers that explore how life is being reimagined and reinvented by practices such as genetic engineering, medical prosthesis, and biochemical interventions into the body. This conference explores what it means to think of medicine and modernity under three rubrics: historical practice, the relationship between varied biomedical and non-biomedical practices, and the role of prosthetics in medicine. Topics may include:

The historical construction of health

The possibilities and limits of prosthetic interventions

The evolving definitions of life

The boundaries between physician/healer and patient

The commercialization of health

“Hacking” the body through various therapies

The role of narrative in medical outcomes

The disciplinary futures of health humanities

Please send 200-word abstracts due by February 9, 2018 to Notifications will be made by March 1, 2018.