ICFA--my favourite conference (and the only one I now attend)--is coming up next month. This year I have a full slate: in addition to participating on an archival research panel, I will be moderating a discussion panel I organized on "Fantasizing Disability," and presenting a paper on the character Ripley from the Alien franchise. Despite my apprehension around the current US political climate, I'm looking forward to being at ICFA and continuing important conversations about disability representation in genre (because facism is antithetical to disability rights). My abstracts follow:
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Genres of the fantastic present opportunities to explore worlds fundamentally different than our own, where bodily norms are questioned and disrupted. Fantasy in particular has the potential to create novel relationships to and characterizations of disability. While fantastic worlds frequently imagine diverse bodies (from elvish to gigantic to alien) interacting with each other, the genre often reduces disability to a symbolic medium and disabled characters to one-dimensional stereotypes. Fantasy (as well as science fiction and horror and all of their subgenres) abounds with disability tropes such as the curse of disability, the magical cure as a reward, the disabled villain, the disabled guru who helps the hero, the triumph narrative, and the trope of the “supercrip” (a person who gains compensatory powers for their disability). Given the necessity of integrating inclusive and realistic depictions of human diversity in genre narratives, this panel will address the representation of disabled people and disability in the field of the fantastic. How has disability representation changed since the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales of Rumpelstiltskin and wicked stepmothers? Why has disability become a mark of a character’s evil-doing or, alternatively, pure innocence (and how can we challenge these readings)? In what ways do disabled bodies act as sites of identification for the audience? What opportunities do various fantastic subgenres—from steampunk to fairy tale re-tellings—offer authors and readers in depicting and understanding disability? Located in an intersectional disability studies perspective, this panel will explore both the reductive tropes and transformative potentials of disability representation in the field of the fantastic.
Panelists: Sara Cleto, Derek Newman-Stille, Nisi Shawl, Fran Wilde Moderator: Kathryn Allan
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Beautiful on the Inside: The Alien Perfection of Ripley
Science fiction film has long explored medical science’s quest for perfection of the human physical form. Released in 1979, Ridley Scott’s Alien launched one of the genres most successful franchises (spawning four other films) and created the iconic feminist action hero, Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver). Drawing on feminist disability studies, my analysis of the Alien films will focus on the character of Ripley and trace the ways her narrative revolves around the anxiety of what lies unseen within the (imperfect) human body and how to achieve an ideal form. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, in her foundational work, Extraordinary Bodies, coins the term normate, which refers to “the social figure through which people can represent themselves as definitive human beings” (8) (often in antithesis to the disabled or the “freak”). I argue that Ripley, at first, is this social figure, but by the end of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 1997 installment, Alien: Resurrection, her body has simultaneously become more ideal and more horrible as she transcends normate humanity (from the inside out) to achieve an alien perfection.
Garland-Thomson further writes that: “When our embodied ways of being in the world come to be understood as disabilities or when we understand our way as disabled, we then enter the category” (“The Story of My Work”). Applying this framing to my reading, I am particularly interested in such moments of recognition in the Alien films: when, and in what ways, does Ripley see herself in the alien, as being something other than “normal”? In my discussion, I will address how Ripley relates to the non-normate bodies of the androids (as represented by Ash, Bishop, and Call) and of the aliens—each body offers a possible design for human physical perfection but differs in their interior authenticity (e.g., blood) and organic function (e.g., reproduction). In a universe where the alien body is declared perfect (as repeated throughout the films by various agents of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation), what then constitutes the ideal human? Through my analysis of Ripley, I hope to continue demonstrating the generative potentials of bringing a disability studies framework to science fiction in exploring the social and medical definitions of humanity, as well as in expanding the future possibilities of disability identity.
Speculative Vegetation: Plants in Science Fiction
Call for Papers (Edited Collection)
Plants have played key roles in some of the most notable science fiction, from prose to graphic novels and film: John Wyndham’s triffids, the sentient and telepathic flora in Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Vaster than Empires and More Slow,” the gene-hacked crops of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, the agricultural experiments of Andy Weir’s The Martian, the invasive trees and mechaflowers of Warren Ellis’s Trees, and the galactic greenhouses of Silent Running represent just a few. Plants surround us, sustain us, pique our imaginations, and inhabit our metaphors — and yet in some ways they remain opaque. As Randy Laist writes in Plants and Literature (2013): “Plants seem to inhabit a time-sense, a life cycle, a desire structure, and a morphology that is so utterly alien that it is easy and even tempting to deny their status as animate organisms” (12). The scope of their alienation is as broad as their biodiversity. And yet, literary reflections of plant-life are driven, as are many threads of science fictional inquiry, by the concerns of today.
Throughout human history, plants have supported as well as controlled populations; influenced and revised how we think about ourselves, nature, temporality, and history; fostered technological innovation; and raised new legal issues, such as biomatter copyrights and the borders of non-human personhood. Even though speculations about terrestrial and extraterrestrial plant-life have ever abounded in science fiction, we are only just beginning to understand plant communication, kinship systems, and intelligence. Following the rise of fields such as ethnobotany, agricultural phonobiology, and phytophenomenology; the embrasure of ecology, environmental philosophy, and ecocriticism; and the concomitant increase in concern regarding our fragile and endangered planetary ecosystem, this edited collection is timely, if not overdue.
Science fiction allows us to speculate further on what — or who — plant life may be while exploring how we understand ourselves in relation to the mute (?) sentient (?) world of flora. Thinking about plants differently changes not just our understanding of plants themselves, but also transforms our attitudes toward morality, politics, economics, and cultural life at large. How do the parameters of good and evil, villainy, heroism, and responsibility shift when plant-based life comes into play? How do plant-based characters or foci shift our understandings of institutions, nations, borders, and boundaries? What roles do plants play in our visions of utopian and dystopian futures? How do botanical subjectivities impact our empathic reactions? Our understandings of sentience and agency? How does the inclusion (or exclusion) of plant-based life impact the genre of science fiction?
This volume will be the first to investigate the importance of plants in science fiction. We encourage contributions contending with diverse works from any and all global, national, extranational, or regional positions and all periods. In particular, we welcome essays which consider genre with broader ethical, political, aesthetic, and historical concerns tied to the representation of botanical subjects and subjectivities in science fiction across all media.
Authors are encouraged to consider, but are not constrained to, the following topics and subjects:
Authorship/readership: plant-based authors/readers
Ecocriticism/Green studies: ecology, human/animal/plant interaction and interdependence; anthropomorphism vs. plant subjectivity and agency
Empire: postcolonialism, colonialism, anti-imperialism, pastoral, anti-pastoral
Ethics: individual responsibility, corporate responsibility, global responsibility; carbon trading
Green activism: ‘eco-terrorism’; indigenous lands; environmental legislation; non-human personhood
Habitats: space exploration and colonization; extraplanetary agrarian systems; diasporas, migration, borderlands; heterotopias, utopias, New Edens, dystopias; wilderness vs domesticated
Hybridity: botanical technology; plant-animal / plant-human hybrids; arcologies
Medicine: drugs, poisons, health, ability/disability
Monstrosity: plant-animal / plant-human hybrids; dehumanization; zombification
Narratology: plant perspectives, subjectivities, narrators and/or focalizers
Sentience: consciousness, collective intelligence, ontology, posthumanism
Symbolism: plants as symbols, metaphors, metonymies
Time: alternate time scales; histories; chronologies (“tree rings”)
Value: capitalism, plants and finance; weeds, crops, ornamental
War and peace: weapons, agents of destruction; agents of salvation
Prospective contributors to this edited collection should send an abstract (300-500 words) and brief CV or short biographical statement to Katherine Bishop (kbishop[at]sky.miyazaki-mic.ac.jp), Jerry Määttä (Jerry.Maatta[at]littvet.uu.se), and David Higgins (dmhiggin[at]gmail.com).
For full consideration, abstracts are due by 30 April 2017. Completed essays of between 4,000 and 8,000 words will be due by 30 November 2017 for a projected publication date in 2018.
Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies
Special issue: The Intersections of Disability and Science Fiction
Guest editors: Ria Cheyne (Disability and Education, Liverpool Hope University) and Kathryn Allan (Independent Scholar, Canada)
“No other literary genre comes close to articulating the anxieties and preoccupations of the present day as clearly and critically as SF, making it a vital source of understanding advances in technology and its impact on newly emerging embodiments and subjectivities, particularly for people with disabilities.”
--Kathryn Allan, Disability in Science Fiction
Reflecting the status of science fiction as a genre that spans multiple mediums and audiences, this special issue of JLCDS seeks articles that explore the intersection(s) of science fiction, disability, and disability studies. What possibilities might science fiction or science fiction theory offer to disability activists and the field of disability studies? How might disability theory, or a disability-informed approach, enrich or transform our understanding of science fiction as a genre or as a mode of thought?
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
● Representations of disability in science fiction literature, comics/graphic novels, film, art, music, video games, or television, and their implications for our understanding of genre and/or disability.
● Science fiction fan culture (including conventions, fanfic and other forms of fan production).
● Science fiction and prosthesis.
● Science fiction and eugenics/genetic engineering.
● Science fiction and the posthuman.
● Accessibility and science fiction environments.
● The political and ethical consequences of imagining future worlds with or without disability.
● The figure of the alien or cyborg in science fiction and/or disability theory.
● Disability and queerness in science fiction.
● Disability and indigenous futures in science fiction.
● Science fiction, disability, and medical humanities.
● The influence of disability activism on professional or fan-based science fiction production.
Submissions that consider how disability intersects with other identity categories are particularly encouraged. The guest editors welcome contributions from independent scholars.
Please email a 500 word proposal to cheyner[at]hope[dot]ac[dot]uk and kathryn[at]academiceditingcanada[dot]ca by March 15, 2017. Contributors can expect to be notified by April 26, 2017. Full drafts of the selected articles will be due by December 6, 2017. Please direct any questions to either guest editor.
“I don’t think I am like other people”: Anomalous Embodiment in Young Adult Speculative Fiction.
Editors Sherryl Vint and Mathieu Donner are seeking submissions for a volume of essays on young adult literature entitled Anomalous Embodiment in Young Adult Speculative Fiction.
The large commercial as well as critical successes of such works as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials or Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series have pushed young adult fiction to the forefront of the literary world. However, and though most of these texts themselves engage in one way or another with questions related to the body, and, more precisely, to a body that refuses to conform to social norms as to what a body ‘ought to be’, few academic studies have really explored the relation that young adult fiction entertains with this adolescent ‘abnormal’ body.
In her work on corporeal feminism, Volatile Bodies, Elizabeth Grosz suggests that adolescence is not only the period during which the body itself undergoes massive transformation, shifting from childhood to adulthood, but that it is also in this period that ‘the subject feels the greatest discord between the body image and the lived body, between its psychical idealized self-image and its bodily changes’ and that therefore, the ‘philosophical desire to transcend corporeality and its urges may be dated from this period’ (Volatile Bodies 75). Following upon Grosz’s observation, this interdisciplinary collection of essays addresses the relation that young adult fiction weaves between the adolescent body and the ‘norm’, this socially constructed idealized body image which the subject perceives to be in direct conflict with her/his own experience.
This collection will thus be centred on the representation, both positive and negative, of such body or bodies. From the vampiric and lycanthropic bodies of Twilight and Teen Wolf to the ‘harvested’ bodies of Neal Shusterman’s novel Unwind, YA fiction entertains a complex relation to the adolescent body. Often singularized as ‘abnormal’, this body comes to symbolise the violence of a hegemonic and normative medical discourse which constitutes itself around an ideal of ‘normality’. However, and more than a simple condemnation or interrogation of the problematic dominant representation of the corporeal within young adult fiction, this collection also proposes to explore how such texts can present a foray into new alternative territories. As such, the collection proposes a focus on what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s label the anomalous body, or embodiment re-articulated not necessarily as the presumption of an inside and an outside of normality, but rather as ‘a position or set of positions in relation to a multiplicity’ (A Thousand Plateaus, 244), one which interrogates and challenges the setting of such a boundary by positioning itself at the threshold of normativity.
We are particularly looking for contributions on works which either (1) interrogate, problematize the dominant discourse on normative embodiment present in YA fiction, (2) emphasize, by a play on repetition or any other means, the limitations of the traditional discourse on the ‘abnormal’ or ‘disabled’ body, and signal the inherent violence of such normative paradigms, and/or (3) propose an alternative approach to the anomalous body. Relevant topics include (but are not limited to):
· (Re-)Articulating disability;
· The adolescent as ‘abnormally’ embodied;
· Transcending gender and the sexuated body;
· Medical norms and the violence of ‘normative’ embodiment;
· Bodies and prosthetic technologies, or the posthuman boundary;
· Genetics, Diseases and medication, or transforming the body from the inside;
· Cognitive readings of the body, or how do we read body difference;
· Embodied subjectivities, anomalous/abnormal consciousness;
We invite proposals (approximately 500 words) for 8’000-10’000-word chapters by Monday 15th September. Abstract submissions should be included in a Word document and sent to Sherryl Vint (sherryl[dot]vint[at]ucr[dot]edu) and Mathieu Donner (Mathieu[dot]Donner[at]nottingham[dot]ac[dot]uk). Please remember to include name, affiliation, academic title and email address. Postgraduate and early-careers researchers are encouraged to participate.
I am not keen on publishing in academic journals these days, but this particular CFP is important and definitely worth signal-boosting. If this is an area of interest to you, I highly recommend Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction by Grace L. Dillon.
Extrapolation special issue on Indigenous Futurism, edited by Grace L. Dillon, (Anishinaabe), Michael Levy, and John Rieder.
In the last decade and a half, a number of scholars have explored the way that SF throughout the last century and a half has borne a close relationship to colonial, and later postcolonial history, discourses, and ideologies. One of the most prominent features of colonial ideology in SF has been the widespread assumption that the future will be determined by the technological and cultural dominance of the West, the “progress” of which often entails the assumption that non-Western cultures will either disappear or assimilate themselves to Western norms. Indigenous Futurism designates a growing movement of writing, both fictional and critical, that envisions the future from the point of view of Indigenous histories, traditions, and knowledges—and in so doing situates the present and the past in ways that challenge (neo/post)colonial ideologies of progress. This special issue of Extrapolation aims to bring together critical and scholarly explorations of and responses to fictional or theoretical and critical work in or on Indigenous SF, where SF is broadly conceived of as including science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, and slipstream.
Topics might include but are not limited to:
· fictional and theoretical confrontations of Western science and Indigenous knowledges
· use of Indigenous traditions in fiction or theory to envision a sustainable future
· responses to and evaluation of Indigenously-inflected SF in any medium from any geographic location
· representation and use of Indigenous traditions in classic SF texts
· Indigeneity and SF adventure fiction, Indigeneity and space opera, Indigeneity and the New Weird
· challenges of publishing and distributing Indigenous Futurism
We invite submissions of 5,000-12,000 words to John Rieder (rieder[at]hawaii[dot]edu) by April 1, 2015. Submissions should conform to the usual requirements of Extrapolation.
The Matter of Murder: Murderous Acts, Cultural Contexts, Canadian Literary Media
With an entrenched mythology related to intercultural harmoniousness and historical peacefulness, a popular global reputation for model livability (alongside being sedate to a fault), and crime rates amongst the lowest in the world, Canada cannot be said to seethe with a sense of murderousness. Its genres of storytelling, however, conjure a counter-reality.
From multi-genre works of literary fiction—ranging from Michael Winter’s The Death of Donna Whalen, Lynn Crosbie’s Dorothy L’Amour, and R.M. Vaughan’s Spells to Eden Robinson’s Blood Sports, George Elliott Clarke’s George & Rue, and Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Trilogy—to poetry (from Elizabeth Bachinsky and Rachel Rose to Evelyn Lau), graphic novels, drama, and audiovisual media, there is a preponderance of meditations on and depictions of murderous acts—homicide, suicide, genocide—within Canada’s litero-creative enterprise.
Amongst the questions raised by the abundance of forms representing and/or reflecting on murder is “What does murder signify?” If, after Alan Sinfield, these works stand for cultural reproduction (re: “Societies have to reproduce themselves culturally as well as materially, and this is done in great part by putting into circulation stories of how the world goes”), what murder-themed accounts of ‘how Canada goes’ are being put into circulation and with what results and purposes?
The editors of The Matter of Murder have an agreement for publication with Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
Topics/approaches that might be taken into consideration:
· Representation of social and economic class
· Sexuality and gender
· Geo-politics, governmental structure, ideology, knowledge
· Community, ethnicity, race, territory
· Spirituality, religion, mythology, history
· Consumerism, media, popular culture
· Popular historiography
· Genre works (including but not limited to science fiction, YA fiction, historical fiction)
* Please feel encouraged to forward this to any organizations, individuals, or mailing lists that might be interested *
Please send a brief query and/or a 300-word (maximum) proposal to representingcdnmurd[at]gmail[dot]com by 30 April 2014 and include a bio-bibliographical note. Accepted essays will be due 30 September 2014 and should be between 4000 and 6000 words.
Brett Josef Grubisic and Gisèle M. Baxter, eds. The Matter of Murder
While I don't have time to submit an article for this special issue, given the wide range of media engagement with science fiction (and science fictional themes) these days, I certainly think it's worth sharing:
CFP: “Digital Science Fiction”
Science Fiction Studies special issue
(Guest Editor: Paweł Frelik)
In the last few decades, digital technologies have dramatically reconfigured not only the circumstances of media production and dissemination, but also cultural genres and conventions expressed in them. Science fiction has not been immune to these changes, but their impact extends far beyond mere enhancement of sound or vision. In older media, such as science fiction film and television, special effects and non-linear editing have affected aesthetics as well as story-telling strategies and stories themselves. New sf media have emerged, too, most readily exemplified by video games.
While similar technologies have long been a thematic staple of sf, the actual arrival of digitality has proven somewhat problematic. Science fiction emerged as a predominantly narrative discourse and much of its cultural relevance has so far been ascribed to its capacity to address contemporary issues and anxieties through stories— but stories that are, ideally, plot- and psychology-driven, formally sophisticated, and conceptually complex. However, the centrality of traditionally-understood narrative in science fiction stands in direct opposition to the character of digital technology, which, as Andrew Darley noted, “endorses form over content, the ephemeral and superficial over permanence and depth, and the image itself over the image as referent.” This incompatibility has resulted in frequent denunciations of sf media forms that de-privilege narrative in favor of visuality or simulation.
Science Fiction Studies seeks articles for a special issue devoted to “Digital Science Fiction.” Both in-depth analyses of individual authors or texts and more general, theoretical discussions are invited. We are specifically interested in submissions focused on videogames and virtual environments; digital art, graphics, and illustration; electronic music; music videos; and apps, software, and cybertexts.
Areas of interest include but are not limited to:
- critical and theoretical tools and approaches to digital science fiction;
- digital technologies and their impact on definitions of science fiction;
- digitality and sf’s thematic preoccupations – limitation, extension, revision?
- visuality and simulation as new modes of meaning-creation;
- the politics of digital science fiction;
- digitality and the transformation of sf narrative;
- materiality of digital technologies in science fiction;
- digital transmedia texts.
Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted by 15 February 2014 to Paweł Frelik (<pawel[dot]frelik[at]umcs[dot]edu[dot]pl). Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by 1 March 2014. Full drafts (5,000 to 7,000 words) will be due by 31 August 2014. The issue is provisionally scheduled for November 2015.
THE FAN STUDIES NETWORK SYMPOSIUM
30th November 2013
University of East Anglia
Keynote: Professor Matt Hills (Aberystwyth University)
We are delighted to announce the FSN2013 symposium, taking place at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, on Saturday 30th November 2013. The keynote speaker will be Professor Matt Hills, author of Fan Cultures (Routledge, 2002) and Triumph of a Time Lord: Regenerating Doctor Who in the 21st Century (I.B. Tauris, 2010).
We invite abstracts of no more than 300 words for individual 20 minute papers that address any aspect of fandom or fan studies. We encourage new members to the network and welcome proposals for presentations on, but not limited to, the following possible topics:
- Fan use of social media platforms
- Fan practices
- Activism and fandom
- Producer-audience interactions
- Underrepresented fan cultures
- New modes of fan fiction
- Ethics in fan studies
- Politics and Fandom
- Anti-Fandom and Non-Fandom
We also invite expressions of interest (100-200 words) from anyone wishing to host a short session of ‘speed geeking.' This would involve each speaker chairing a short discussion on a relevant topic of their choosing, and then receiving extensive feedback, making it ideal for presenting in-progress or undeveloped ideas.
The day will conclude with a series of working group discussions, which we anticipate will lead to individual and/or collaborative publication opportunities.
Please send any enquires/abstracts to: fsnconference[at]gmail[dot]com by FRIDAY 23rd AUGUST.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out w/c 2nd September.
You can find out more information on the symposium website: http://www.uea.ac.uk/politics-international-media/events/fan-studies-network-symposium or talk about the event using #FSN2013.
Even though I'm not a gothic studies scholar, this CFP really caught my eye. A perfect opportunity to use a disability studies framework! I don't think I'll have the time to propose a paper, but I'm certainly going to consider it.
Gothic and Medical Humanities Call for Papers
Proposals are invited for a special issue of Gothic Studies exploring intersections between the Gothic and medical humanities.
Gothic studies has long grappled with suffering bodies, and the fragility of human flesh in the grip of medical and legal discourse continues to be manifest in chilling literature and film. The direction of influence goes both ways: Gothic literary elements have arguably influenced medical writing, such as the nineteenth-century clinical case study. In this second decade of the twenty-first century, it seems apt to freshly examine intersections between the two fields.
The closing years of the twentieth century saw the emergence of medical humanities, an interdisciplinary blend of humanities and social science approaches under the dual goals of using arts to enhance medical education and interrogating medical practice and discourse. Analysis of period medical discourse, legal categories and medical technologies can enrich literary criticism in richly contextualising fictional works within medical practices. Such criticism can be seen as extending the drive towards historicised and localised criticism that has characterised much in Gothic studies in recent decades.
Our field offers textual strategies for analysing the processes by which medical discourse, medical processes and globalised biotechnological networks can, at times, do violence to human bodies and minds – both of patient and practitioner. Cultural studies of medicine analyse and unmask this violence. This special issue will explore Gothic representations of the way medical practice controls, classifies and torments the body in the service of healing.
Essays could address any of the following in any period, eighteenth-century to the present:
· Medical discourse as itself Gothic (e.g., metaphors in medical writing; links between case histories and the Gothic tradition), and/or reflections on how specific medical discourses have shaped Gothic literary forms
· Illness narratives and the Gothic (e.g., using Arthur Frank’s ‘chaos narratives’ of helplessness in The Wounded Storyteller).
· Literary texts about medical processes as torture/torment in specific historical and geographic contexts (including contemporary contexts)
· Doctors or nurses represented in literature as themselves Gothic ‘victims’, constrained by their medical environment
· Genetic testing; organ harvest; genetic engineering; reproductive technologies; limb prostheses; human cloning, and more.
To date the links between Gothic and psychiatric medical discourse have been the most thoroughly explored, so preference will be given to articles exploring other, non-psychiatric medical contexts in the interests of opening up new connections.
Please email 500-word abstract and curriculum vitae to Dr Sara Wasson, s.wasson[at]napier[dot]ac[dot]uk. Deadline for proposals: 1 October 2013.
The official journal of the International Gothic Studies Association considers the field of Gothic studies from the eighteenth century to the present day. The aim of Gothic Studies is not merely to open a forum for dialogue and cultural criticism, but to provide a specialist journal for scholars working in a field which is today taught or researched in almost all academic establishments. Gothic Studies invites contributions from scholars working within any period of the Gothic; interdisciplinary scholarship is especially welcome, as are readings in the media and beyond the written word.
For more information on Gothic Studies, including submission guidelines and subscription recommendations, please see the journals website: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/cgi-bin/scribe?showinfo=ip022
In the 1985 essay that defined the terms for feminist thinking about science and technology in the decades since, Donna Haraway observed that “the boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.” She drew together the cybernetic organisms of fact and fiction, the beings of shiny technology and messy biological stuff, and her terms and her ideas came as much from the creative thinkers of feminist science fiction (Octavia Butler, Joanna Russ) as they did from technologists, political thinkers, and philosophers.
It’s 2013, and the cyborg manifesto is old enough to vote. Where are feminist science fictions now, and what can they tell us about feminism and technology? New media make our experiences of social reality resonant with classics of speculative fiction, particularly works that accounted for the uneven distribution of futuristic technologies and their participation in hierarchies of race, gender, capital, and ability. Literary scholars continue to explore the intricacies of works by Octavia Butler, James Tiptree Jr., Joanna Russ, et al., while the aesthetic and political techniques of critical and creative speculative thinking that these writers pioneered are taken up in multiple forms. Fiction writers like Nalo Hopkinson, Andrea Hairston, L. Timmel Duchamp, and many more bring questions of language, culture, race, and violence into the fray, as social media platforms like blogs, twitter, and Facebook deepen conversations between writers and fans. Small presses continue to support the older technology of the printed page and to articulate why written visions matter for a possible feminist future.
Feminist science fiction has never only existed between the bindings of books, however. Fictional speculation is part of how we understand ourselves in relationship to technology; from the way our smartphones seem to extend our embodied being, to the difference it makes when we shift our perspective and think instead of the being of the gendered bodies who made them, to the imaginative constructions we produce of the wireless waves and fiber optic cables that link us to collaborators, interlocutors, and friends. Ada is published by the Fembot Collective’s academic network, which is itself a feminist science fiction. An imagined array of co-conspirators made real, its name indexes the power in reworking the venerable sci-fi trope of the gendered automaton. Technological speculation is our social reality, and feminist science fiction has the tools to code it to the specifications of our politics.
Feminist science fiction describes a diverse landscape of multimodal, multiplatform, multifaceted cultural production. It is a means for thinking marked bodies into technological contexts, from Ada Lovelace herself to Janelle Monae’s racialized android Cindi Merriweather. It is also the visual and conversational online cultures that endlessly repeat, reblog, argue, and fight back about what real and imagined futures of gender, race, technology, and representation ought to be like. It may even be the new philosophical modalities of materialist speculation, when they acknowledge that the hierarchized markings on bodies we name as race and gender are not limited to some narrowly defined conception of the human. And it is the unpredictable future of what cybernetics and organisms could be and could become, in the flesh and in plastic, silicon, steel.
The third issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology seeks essays on any of these and more. We welcome unpublished work from scholars of any discipline and background, including collaborative, nontraditional, or multimodal approaches that can especially benefit from the journal’s open access online status.
Topics and approaches might include, but are not limited to:
• Key works of feminist science fiction and their relevance for new media and technology studies
• Gender, race, sexuality, and/or disability in science fiction literature, film, and television
• Feminist speculation in new media production
• Feminist science fiction’s online fan cultures
• Speculative or science-fictional tropes in new media and technology theory and practice
General Submission Requirements
Authors should submit essays of 4000-9000 words directly to the editor in Rich Text Format (.rtf) or MS Word format (.doc) by 1 May 2013. We encourage you to discuss potential contributions in advance of the submission deadline, particularly for those contributors interested in multimodal contributions. Contributions in formats other than the traditional essay are encouraged; please contact the editor to discuss specifications.
All submissions should be accompanied by the following information in the email message with your submission attachment:
• Name(s), affiliation(s), email address(es) of the person(s) submitting.
• Title of the text and the issue for which it is submitted.
• An abstract of no more than 100 words.
• A short paragraph (40-60 words) about the contributor(s).
Further guidelines for submission format can be found here: http://adanewmedia.org/submissions/ Please include text descriptions for images and transcripts or subtitles for audio or video files.
Send submissions and correspondence to Alexis Lothian: ada[at]queergeektheory[dot]org
Ada is an online, open access, open source, peer-reviewed journal run on a nonprofit basis by feminist media scholars from Canada, the UK, and the US. The journal’s first issue was published online in November 2012 and has so far received more than 75,000 page views. Ada operates a review process that combines the feminist mentorship of fan communities with the rigor of peer review. Read more at http://adanewmedia.org/beta-reader-and-review-policy/. We do not — and will never — charge fees for publishing your materials, and we will share those materials using a Creative Commons License.