Skip navigation

Friday, June 21 – Monday, June 24, 2019
Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii

Conference Theme: Facing the Future, Facing the Past: Colonialism, Inidigeneity, and SF
Keynote Speaker: Nalo Hopkinson

The Science Fiction Research Association invites proposals for its 2019 annual conference, to be held on the campus of Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I ka wā mua, ka wā ma hope” is a Hawaiian proverb that can be translated, “In the past lies the future,” or more literally, “In what is in front of you is found what is behind you.” In the Native Hawaiian way of thinking, according to scholar Lilikalā Kame‘eleihiwa, “The Hawaiian stands firmly in the present, with his back to the future, and his eyes fixed upon the past, seeking historical answers for present-day dilemmas.” Another way of interpreting this saying might be, you must face the past to prepare yourself for the future. Thinking about this Hawaiian proverb in the context of science fiction brings up questions about ways of knowing, ways of orienting ourselves in time and space, the relation of our notions of the possible to our understanding of history, the ethical and political obligations of our scientific-technological practice in relation to the past and the future, and our expectations of social change as well as our sense of how it comes about.

SFRA 2019 will meet in Hawai‘i, a set of islands that after two and a half centuries of Western contact has become the world leader in species extinction, while being transformed during the nineteenth century from a wholly self-sustaining civilization into a plantation economy dominated by export crops and ravaged by epidemics that reduced the Native Hawaiian population by 80% or more, and whose political sovereignty was stolen by the settler-controlled and US-military-aided overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. As we plan to meet on this occupied land with its long history of indigenous resistance to colonial incursion, we welcome papers and panels on the relation of science fiction to colonial history and its ongoing effects, to the contemporary ecological crisis, to issues of political and economic justice, and to past and ongoing visions of the future.

Topics related to the conference theme include the relation of SF to the following:

* indigenous futurism
* colonial fantasies & indigenous survivance
* explorers, settlers, and natives
* indigenization v. cultural assimilation of forms & genres
* the dynamics of recognition, versions of the colonial gaze
* the “post” in postcolonialism
* decolonial speculative fiction
* the symbiosis of colonialism & capitalism
* epistemology in the contact zone
* speculative technologies of resistance
* Native and regional disruptions of the colonial biopolitical order
* indigenous intellectual property in light of transgenics, genetic modification, & other man-made mutations
* biopolitical imperialism, biopiracy, bioprospecting
* food security, organic & smart farming
* ecocriticism & the anthropocene
* progress v. sustainability
* estranging empire, rethinking centers and margins
* world systems & world construction
* world, nation, & culture: imagined communities and communities of practice

We also welcome papers on topics relevant to science fiction research broadly conceived that are not specifically related to the conference theme.

Graduate students are encouraged to apply and attend; as with previous SFRA conferences, the first day of conference programming will include roundtables and workshops targeted at early-career teachers and researchers working in SF studies and in the study of popular culture more generally.

300-500 word abstracts should be sent to by March 1, 2019. Notification of acceptance will occur by April 1, 2019. We also welcome submission of preconstituted panels and roundtables.