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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Please join us for ICFA 40, March 13-17, 2019, when our theme will be “Politics and Conflict.”

We welcome papers on the work of: Guest Scholar Mark Bould (Reader, University of the West of England; winner of the SFRA Pilgrim Award; author of several books on sf including Science Fiction: The Routledge Film Guidebook) and Guest Author G. Willow Wilson (winner of a PEN Center award; writer of the Hugo-Award-winning series Ms. Marvel, author of Alif the Unseen). Speculative texts have a tremendous power to help us envision how the world might be otherwise and to see the historical contingencies that have given us the world as we find it. Fantastic genres allow us to imagine other paths that history might have taken and to explore the power dynamics of conflicts among competing factions, from the local scale of family and gender arrangements to the global scale of transnational trade and migration. Such texts can often articulate critiques that would have been silenced by censorship of realist genres in times and places of government, religious, or other oppression. We invite papers that understand the concept of politics very broadly, from international relations and structures of governance, through to the politics of everyday life. If at times the genres of the fantastic can be complicit in naturalizing and perpetuating dominant power structures and the politics they endorse, more often they provide a rich set of tools for telling such stories from marginalized perspectives, visions that cannot be captured by a realism that is structured by default ideological assumptions. We also welcome proposals for individual papers, academic sessions, creative presentations, and panels on any aspect of the fantastic in any media. We will gather in 2019 to question, celebrate, argue over, and deduce speculative fiction’s contributions to thinking through the politics and conflicts of our past and its capacity to guide us toward more inclusive futures.

The deadline for proposals is October 31, 2018. We encourage work from institutionally affiliated scholars, independent scholars, international scholars who work in languages other than English, graduate students. Artists are encouraged to submit proposals for our Creative Track, which features sessions on writing, art, music, and poetry, as well as panel discussions on topics of interest for creative professionals.

For more information on the IAFA and its conference, the ICFA, see

The Submissions Portal opens on September 1st. To submit a proposal, go to

To contact the Division Heads for help with submissions, go to

For more information about the Creative Track, go to

Call for Papers

October 1, 2018

California, United States

Subject Fields:
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Women’s & Gender History / Studies

WITCHCRAFT HYSTERIA. Performing witchcraft in contemporary art and pop culture.

We seem to be living in bewitched times. Witches are everywhere, or rather: victims of alleged witch hunts pop up all over the place, preferable on Twitter or other social media. Pop-stars perform as witches, like Katy Perry in her performance at the 2014 Grammy awards, where she appeared in a cowl before a crystal ball, while later dancing with broomsticks as poles. Beyoncé’s visual album “Lemonade” (2016) made several explicit references to black witchcraft rituals. Azealia Banks proclaimed in the same year on Twitter that she practiced “three years worth of brujería” (brujería, Spanish: witchcraft) and tweeted––while cleaning the blood-smeared room used for her animal sacrifices––“Real witches do real things”. Marina Abramovic’s performance piece “Spirit Cooking” (1996) was used in the ominous Pizzagate conspiracy theory of 2016, accusing Abramovic and the Hillary Clinton campaign in practicing witchcraft rituals and occult magic. Clinton and other influential women in politics–such as Nany Pelosi and Maxine Waters––get labeled as witches and Sarah Palin partakes in a ritual to secure her electoral win and “save her from witchcraft”. Meanwhile, thousands of people coordinate binding spells against political leaders (#bindtrump) and Silvia Federici’s seminal book “Caliban and the Witch” moved from the bookshelf to the bedside table for many art professionals.

The title “Witchcraft Hysteria” follows the inscription on the monument dedicated 1992 to the Salem Witch Trials (1692), that were informed by European-US-American witchcraft discourses of their time and in turn were highly influential on today’s discussions.

For this publication, we want to investigate the revival and the current interest in the figure of the witch and the performance of witchcraft in contemporary art, visual culture and pop culture. The figure of the witch as icon of historical significance and present relevance in art and politics has only gained in its cultural impact. Our project focuses on performance strategies of “performing witchcraft” in a contemporary context, focusing on the last two decades.

Relevant paper topics may consider, but are not limited to:

The figure of the witch in contemporary art and culture
Contextualizing Witchcraft Hysteria in Theater, Film, Television, Streaming Media, Social Media, etc. in their historical representations and current manifestations
Witchcraft (Hysteria) and Performance Studies
Witchcraft and feminist (art) practice
Practicing Witchcraft as political protest
The politics of being (labeled) a witch
Queer-Feminist perspectives on Witchcraft
(Intersectional) Questions of Gender, Class and Race and Witchcraft


Proposals (500 words): October 1, 2018

Final Papers Due: January 16, 2018

Submission of Final Revised Papers for Publication: March 4, 2018.

Publication: Summer, 2018

Please submit a 500-word proposal and a 200-word biography to both editors: Johanna Braun ( and Katharina Brandl ( by October 1, 2018.

Contact Info:
Katharina Brandl

University of Basel, Switzerland

Johanna Braun
Erwin Schrödinger Research Fellow at University of California, Los Angeles

Contact Email:

Call for Papers

October 31, 2018

Ohio, United States

Subject Fields:
Cultural History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Women’s & Gender History / Studies, Humanities, Digital Humanities

Call for Chapters: “Being Dragonborn: Critical Essays on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (edited collection)

In advance of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s tenth anniversary in 2021, this collection of essays seeks to investigate how the game hails its player as “dragonborn,” a calling that merges political, social, and religious narratives in the game toward the player’s assumption of the dragonborn identity position: savior of Skyrim. Our collection aims to identify and explore these hailed positions within the cultural ecology of the game, which is always connected to the player’s out-of-game realities. Situated on the threshold of intricately detailed “cultural” cities and the expansive “natural” wilderness, the dragonborn negotiates the complex political workings of life under the civil war between the rebel Stormcloaks and the Imperial Legion.

Being Dragonborn will be the first collection of critical inquiries into the Elder Scrolls franchise. Skyrim depicts the complexities of the video game medium as seen in the player’s precarious position between the in-game fantasy world and out-of-game subjectivities, realities, and positions. The game’s narrative, gameplay, iconography, music, and in-game mechanics and items are invested in a romanticized invention of medieval life and architecture, colonialist and militaristic structures of play amid civil war, and particular constructions of gender, class, race, and language. How these critical issues coalesce in the game, and through the experience of playing the game, make Skyrim a fertile space to consider what this winner of over 200 Game of the Year awards teaches its loyal players, modders, and enthusiasts.

The collection would be geared toward the interest of game studies scholars, game designers, Skyrim players, and instructors who may already incorporate Skyrim into the classroom—many of us wearing several of these proverbial hats simultaneously. The collection’s title—Being Dragonborn—speaks to the primacy of player ontology and identity within the game by means of the game’s colonial narratives, medieval resonances, in-game labor and economic conditions, aesthetically sublime environment, and its consumptive and productive practices. In an attempt to go beyond fraught dichotomies and territorial disputes within Game Studies that restrict discourse on the video game medium, the editors seek diverse and interdisciplinary approaches, readings, and methodologies.

The editors are looking for fresh, interpretive analyses of Skyrim that call attention to issues of culture, politics, theory, practices, game design, and the gaming industry. The collection welcomes contributions from emerging and established scholars on topics including the following:

Visual aesthetics of Skyrim – the sublime and the immanent 

Post-colonial approaches to the social and militaristic game narrative and play 

Neomedievalist approaches to Skyrim—tradition, lore, nostalgia, architecture 

Critical race theory—the ex-nomination of whiteness in Skyrim; racial hierarchies; 
confronting the racialized other in the game 

Religious studies approaches to Skyrim narratives, mysticism, or mythologies 

Politics and simulation of (civil) war in the game 

Music studies—in game songs, music, and covers that operate harmonically and/or 
contrapuntally with other in-game elements 

Marxist approaches to in-game labor, leisure, property ownership, 
production/consumption practices, and idyllic domestic spaces 

Linguistic and cultural studies of Dovahzul, the dragon language embedded in Skyrim 
shouts, word walls, names, and conversation. 

Modding Skyrim—analysis of modding community, modding interfaces, IP and 
economic concerns related to modders/industry
Gender, sex, and sexuality in Skyrim—queer readings of Skyrim
Psychoanalytic approaches to player experience, ludic forms, and game narrative 

Studies of spatiotemporality in the game and its historico-cultural affordances 

Skyrim VR—technical and/or metaphysical considerations of Skyrim in light of Skyrim’s 
recent VR release. 

Feminist and eco-feminist approaches to Skyrim ecologies 

Teaching with Skyrim—affordances and dangers of gaming pedagogies 

Philosophical and theoretical arguments emerging out of gameplay or fan experience 

Studies that account for the material engagements of the game’s design, marketing, 

400-word abstracts are due by October 31, 2018. Please send abstracts in .doc(x) format and queries to Mike Piero ( and Marc A. Ouellette ( with the subject heading “Being Dragonborn.” This collection is under contract with McFarland & Company for their Studies in Gaming series, edited by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell. If your abstract is accepted, full essays between 5,000-7,500 words will be due by May 31, 2019. 
When submitting an abstract, please provide: 

Name, rank/position and affiliation, email address 

Proposed chapter title 

400-word abstract 

Up to 5 keywords for the essay 

Do you plan to include figures or images in the essay?

Contact Info:
Mike Piero, Associate Professor of English, Cuyahoga Community College, and Ph.D. Candidate, English, Old Dominion University,

Marc A. Ouellette, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English, Old Dominion University and Learning 
Games Initiative Research Fellow, 

Contact Email:

Effective August 1, 2018, JFA has a new Reviews Editor for works written in a language other than English.

The journal and the board wish to express their thanks to Dale Knickerbocker for his service over the years. Dale will still be part of the journal as an Associate Editor.

Please contact David Dalton at if you have a scholarly work written in a language other than English that would be of interest to JFA’s readers, or if you are interested in being added to his list of reviewers.

Hi, IAFA members.

Now that JFA 28.3 is off to the printer, we’ll soon be preparing the mailing list for JFA Volume 29 (2018). If you joined or renewed your membership in the association between the end of the 2017 conference and the 2018 conference, you are subscribed to JFA Volume 29. (If you joined after this year’s conference, in April 2018 or later, your subscription will begin with JFA Volume 30).

We want to make sure your copy of the journal makes it to you and doesn’t get sent back to our office, so we’d really appreciate it if you’d take a moment to make certain that your information is correct in your member profile on the website. Please visit the membership page on, and log in using your user name and password. Once you’ve logged in, you can View your profile, and on the profile page, click on Edit profile to update your information, if necessary.

Please check that your postal address is correct.

While you’re checking out your profile, please also consider updating your areas of interest. You can list subgenres, theoretical approaches, or specific works and authors. Sometimes we need to add to our pool of peer reviewers for articles submitted to JFA, and the information you list in Interests can help us find a good match.

Thanks so much,


You can also view this message on the JFA blog:

CFP, edited volume: Food and Drink in Science Fiction

“But now, we must eat!”
Food and Drink in Science Fiction

Deadline for abstracts: November 15, 2018

Edited by Cindy Miller, Steve Rabitsch, and Michael Fuchs this volume will discuss food and drink in science fiction across media—movies, television shows, literature, video games, comics, etc. Of course, as forms of sustenance, food and drink are among the essential elements of life. But this is also precisely why representations of food and drink are always ripe with meaning. As this book will show, science fiction uses food and drink to explore pertinent issues ranging from the homogenization of food in a globalized economy to the exploitation of our natural resources and the attendant phenomena of water, air, and soil pollution, deforestation, and the scarcification of food.

If you are interested in contributing to this volume, please submit a 500-word proposal to All submissions will be acknowledged. If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt within 48 hours, you may assume that your email hasn’t reached us for some reason. In that case, please re-submit. Please also direct any questions you might have to the email address indicated above.
We will most likely first approach European university presses with this project, as they generally move ahead faster than their American counterparts.

Please check out this attached CFP for more details, and do not hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions.

Analog Games and Gender

deadline for submissions:
September 10, 2018

full name / name of organization:
Steven Dashiell

contact email:

Analog Games and Gender

Panel for Game Studies Section

PCA 2019

Washington DC

April 17-20,2019

Concepts of gender have been a cornerstone of contemporary discussion in the field of game studies (Hayes 2011; Kafai et al 2008; Shaw 2014; Williams, Ratan, and Harrison 2011) . While much of the research is firmly tied to video games, understandings of gender in analog games has slowly come to the fore. Increased media related to live action role playing games (larp), the unpredicted resurgence of Dungeons & Dragons, and the longevity of collectible card games like Magic The Gathering demonstrate analog games as a durable subsection of game studies that is ripe for academic analysis in terms of gender.

This panel hopes to give rise to the critical research occurring in analog games among the various disciplines which contribute to popular culture. Building on the strong work in feminist theory, critical theory, queer theory, broader humanities and the social sciences, the panel will examine the panoply of academic conversations involving the intersection of non-digital games and gender. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

– Portrayal of gender in analog games
– Limitations or augmentations tied to gender representations in analog games
– Perceptions of participation in various analog games based on gender
– Visibility of gender in analog game art and text
– Critical, feminist, or queer analyses of gendered artifacts or ephemera
– Gaming power structures (GM, DM, leader) and gender
– Media related to analog games (e.g. Critical Role, Friends at the Table) and gender
– Historical appeals of analog game participation via the lens of gender
– Examinations of masculinity or femininity in analog games systems, players, or characters

Interested individuals should submit an abstract to Steven Dashiell at before 10 September 2018. If sufficient abstracts are submitted, we may request more than one panel.

Call for Papers: Crafting the Long Tomorrow: New Conversations & Productive Catalysts Across Science and Humanities Boundaries as the Global Emergency Worsens

Deadline: Oct. 22, 2018

Crafting the Long Tomorrow is a three-day, small-scale conference at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 near Tucson, Arizona. Biosphere 2 has emerged as a leading site for arts, sciences and humanities dialogues. This meeting, which coincides with the 101st anniversary of the death of the world’s last Carolina Parakeet, will encourage innovative and inventive presentations and conversation, with an eye toward public-facing engagement outcomes. It will take place Feb. 21-24, 2019, and is currently sponsored by the University of Arizona (Office of Research, Discovery and Innovation; College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; College of Science) and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society/Ludwig Maximillian University and the Deutsches Museum, Munich, which provided initial seed money. Additional sponsors are, we hope, forthcoming.

The physical sciences tell us civilization and the biosphere face extreme consequences from global trends humans have set in motion, especially climate change. Multiple disciplines can illuminate both the global emergency and the long tomorrow’crafting approaches, some likely deeply unsettling, that could extend the lifespan of our species and others. Some still deliberate about the messiness of what used to be called the two cultures of arts and sciences, even as scholars have usefully blurred those boundaries. However, disciplinary divides both continue to be breached in welcome fashion by collaborations in such emerging fields as ‘art/sci,’ ‘environmental humanities,’ ‘geohumanities’ and more. (If you haven’t heard those terms, however, you are not alone, and we’re speaking to you too.)

Still, reflexive attitudes toward technology and economics, in particular, can sometimes foreclose debate and discussion. Such lacunae help no one. Neither do the insufficiencies of jargon, those specialized terms or methodological assumptions that are not shared outside fields.

How might a geographer talk to a particle physicist about the kind of future we (which ‘we’’) want to craft’ How might a poet talk to a climate engineer? A theorist or a philosopher to a conservation biologist or a geneticist?especially about the Anthropocene’s multiple challenges? Science and technology studies scholars certainly have built bridges among humanities/technological/scientific fields, but those of us not in STS might have our own ways of crossing. How do we breach jargon and present perspectives and solutions for the wider publics of policy-makers and others? How do we involve diverse publics?

This conference is designed to be more conversational than presentational and so we have some particular approaches to presentations that are rather out of the ordinary. We are discouraging traditional paper readings and/or PowerPoint slide-shows in favor of shorter, more energetic talks and more innovative visual formats. It will be a single-track conference so that everyone attends all sessions.

We will ask those interested in attending to offer a 500-word ‘idea pitch’ for a talk that would be no more than 5-7 minutes long. (Option 1). We want to discourage formal reading of traditional papers in favor of grouping individuals (and pairs/teams of attendees) into panel discussions. The idea pitch could include a brief precis of one’s research (a research briefing) but mostly should focus on questions and concerns regarding the topics of the conference. The conference will have two broad themes: 1) Arts/sciences or, simply, multi-disciplinary developments and opportunities in research, creative activity, teaching and community engagement across multiple, sometimes previously unlinked fields as we face tremendous social, political and environmental changes. 2) Specific technologies and approaches (such as climate engineering, ecomodernism, dark ecology, science fictional thinking, etc.) to the present-day and the looming future.

We will encourage presenters to bear in mind the broad diversity of the audience and to avoid jargon or, at least, explain clearly what particular terms, methods, etc. mean. Also to that end, we also seek 500-word proposals for short slide Pecha Kucha presentations on KEY WORDS and KEY CONCEPTS in the arts, humanities, engineering, sciences, etc. (Option 2). We see these presentations as critical to establishing the relevance and understanding of such terms as risk, theory (as used by scientists), critical theory in the humanities, entropy, transgression, intervention, ecosystem services, the new materialism, hybridity, social construction, biodiversity, epigenetics, wildness, the land ethic and so on. As you can see from this list, we are casting a wide net. We hope the Pecha Kucha talks will give us a common ground, a bit of playful informality despite the importance of the topics and spark discussions. Don’t know what a Pechu Kucha is? That’s cool. Look it up. They’re fun! and illuminating. Maybe you want to do both Option 1 and Option 2?

We are also working hard to make the conference free of registration, lodging and meal costs.

We wish to cultivate synthesis among specialists and create work among old and new collaborators to make a public-facing difference in how we are imagining and making the future of cultures and creatures across the Earth. We will ask presenters (individuals or teams) to craft and present a plan by February 2020 for doing at least two of the following: an innovative non-expert engagement project; an article in a well-read public venue; curriculum developed for a team-taught course; a book proposal; a scholarly journal article; grants; other informal community dialogue; a library or museum display; and so on. In order to encourage this rather ambitious outcome activity, we will be seeking additional funding to serve as post-conference fellowships. Award is contingent on completion of the outcomes. The stipend level will depend on additional funding. We see this as part of a permanent post-conference networking development.

Organizers will also select a series of presentation materials from the conference to publish as a mini-proceedings in a relevant venue. Videos of talks and conversations will be posted on the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society webpage and YouTube channel, as well as relevant University of Arizona channels. Conference organizers will use social media to drive traffic to these once they are public. We envision at least one public dialogue and/or talk held at B2.

That said, the conference will be on the smaller side’between 60 and 100 participants’in order to foster a respectful and challenging community.

We especially encourage interest from graduate students and junior faculty and those from non-Western backgrounds and institutions. Proposals due: Oct. 22, 2018. Please send no more than 500 words for each talk option, with additional 100-word biographies of presenter(s). E-mail proposals or questions with Crafting the Long Tomorrow in the subject heading to Christopher Cokinos, University of Arizona:

Speculative Fiction, Pedagogy, and Social Change (Seminar), NeMLA

Primary Area / Secondary Area
Pedagogy & Professional / Interdisciplinary Humanities

Meghan K. Riley (University of Waterloo)


In their 2011 text, Teaching Science Fiction, Andy Sawyer and Peter Wright posit that science fiction is “one of the most effective genres for challenging the perspectives of a student body” (1). Yet Teaching Science Fiction is one of the few recent compendiums on teaching speculative fiction; the last significant scholarly focus on speculative fiction and pedagogy was in the 1970s and 1980s. The majority of publications after 2000 on teaching science fiction consider the teaching of science through science fiction. Very few of the more recent texts consider how instructors of science fiction might engage with concepts of social justice, or how instructors who teach social justice concepts could do so by engaging with speculative fiction literature.

The last decade has seen incredible progress in a genre that has been fraught with racism and sexism at least as much as it challenges it. With the mainstream success of Black Panther, N.K. Jemisin’s ouevre, Janelle Monae’s music and videos, Tomi Adeyemi’s book and movie deals, and Netflix series such as Black Lightning, it is clear that the authorship and readership of speculative fiction is changing.

Moreover, instructors in literature and the cognate disciplines are already – and have been for some time – teaching social justice concepts through speculative fiction. However, there is little scholarly conversation about why and how we do it, how to teach social justice through speculative fiction more effectively, or how to have successful conversations with administrators about teaching social justice through speculative fiction.

Proposals on secondary education and teacher education are particularly welcome.


Instructors have taught social justice through speculative fiction for some time, but there are few recent publications – particularly comprehensive ones – that address social justice, pedagogy, and speculative fiction. This seminar asks instructors of speculative fiction and social justice to share their strategies, lesson plans, reading lists, and rationale, in order to develop (and hopefully maintain) a community of scholars interested in teaching social justice through speculative fiction. Proposals on secondary education and teacher education are particularly welcome.

To submit an abstract, please go to