The application period for the 2016-17 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship is now open! If you have any interest in feminist SF or in the authors whose papers are housed at the University of Oregon's Libraries Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), then I strongly encourage you to apply. These collections are a treasure trove of cool ideas.
Find out all the details about the Le Guin Feminist SF Fellowship (and the Centre for the Study of Women in Society) here.
This is also a good excuse to give an update on the state of my fellowship research, which is still on going. I admit that I wish I was further along but I've made peace with the fact that I only have so much time and energy to dedicate to my writing. That said, I am constantly picking away at the hundreds of (scanned) letters that I returned home with. I think that the biggest challenge--aside from finding the time when I am both well enough to work and not committed to my day job--is dealing with the affective aspect of the research. I was not prepared to be so emotionally undone by what I read in the letters (in particular those of Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr., Suzette Haden Elgin, and Sally Miller Gearheart). Finding a balance between a scholarly reading and a personal one has been tough, but I think I've finally found the approach that is right for me. Writing about Russ' letters for the WisCon Chronicles (link below) was a real turning point for me in this respect. I basically have realized (and embraced) that I am a creative non-fiction writer at heart (dare I say, an essayist!), so interweaving my own story with those of the women whom I am studying is how I can best honour their work.
My current project is still a book-length one, but instead of being a primarily academic text, it is going to be a series of essays tracing how I came to my disability identity through reading science fiction. My archival research will significantly inform several of the essays (as winning the fellowship was a watershed moment in both my scholarly and personal life). I hope to have this essay collection mostly drafted by year's end but I'm allowing a longer timeline. My writing pace is definitely a slow burn these days.
All this said, here's everything I have published to date relating to my Le Guin Feminist SF Fellowship research:
2015 Transcript of "Ethics and Methods in the Archive: A Roundtable Conversation at ICFA 36"
[published in the Eaton Journal of Archival Research in Science Fiction, Vol. 3(1)]
2015 Letter, "Dear Tiptree, Dear Alice [with Notes]" in the award-winning Letters to Tiptree (Eds. Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce, from Twelfth Planet Press)
2016 (forthcoming) Essay, "Learning to Love Joanna: Letters on Feminism, Anger, and Courage" in The WisCon Chronicles (Vol. 10) (Ed. Margaret McBride, from Aqueduct Press).
I'm excited and keen to share more of what I learned from my archival research. I know that I am an infrequent blogger, but watch this space for updates in the future!
It’s time for a project update! I’m always kind of surprised that I manage to get scholarship and creative stuff done, but apparently it happens.
Last year started off with a research bang with my Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship. I am finally ready to start delving into the 100s of letters I scanned. While it is true that I have been preoccupied with other work, the delay in getting back into this research was more due to the need to have mental distance from it. I was unprepared for how emotionally overwhelming I would find the research—the letters I was reading (from Le Guin, Russ, Tiptree, Delany, and many more amazing SF writers) brim with the lives of the people who wrote them. Given that I am an “emotional sponge,” I soaked up everything I was reading. Apparently, I needed nine months for things to get quietly sorted in my head so that I can now focus on drawing out conversational threads most relevant to my research interests. While I intend to incorporate some of my findings in a chapter on feminist SF in my planned book (more on that at the end of this post), I’m excited to see what other projects will spring from it.
One of those projects, actually, is an upcoming chapter titled, “Becoming Adult, Becoming Other: Anomalous Embodiment in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle.” I’ll post more details about that piece (and the edited collection by Sherryl Vint and Mathieu Donner that it will belong to) as the publishing details become finalized (as it is still in process). You can also read an interview I did with Alice Evans (of the CSWS) about the fellowship and my archival research.
In terms of notable scholarly publications in 2014, my “Disability Studies ‘101’” is in SF 101: A Guide to Teaching and Studying Science Fiction. It’s available as an ebook for a few dollars. [I’m also considering republishing it here on my blog, for free for all to read, if it doesn’t end up in the next issue or two of the SFRA Review—that decision will be discussed in an upcoming blog post]. For 2015, I am eagerly awaiting the April publication of Techno-Orientalism: Imagining Asia in Speculative Fiction, History, and Media by awesome editors, David S. Roh, Betsy Huang, and Greta A. Niu. I’m honoured to be a contributor with my chapter, “Re-imagining Asian Women in Feminist Post-Cyberpunk” (make sure to check out the super cool cover at the link). And while not a scholarly essay, I’m proud of the blog post I wrote about Misha’s Red Spider White Web for tor.com’s “That was Awesome: Writers on Writing” column last fall.
In just a few weeks, I am off to my favourite conference ICFA. I had originally planned on presenting a paper on disability in feminist SF along with organizing a panel on archival research in the field of the fantastic. Due to scheduling issues, however, I withdrew my paper and will be focusing my energies on the archival research panel. It feels a bit strange to not be delivering a paper this year, but I have good reasons (which are, again, being written up in an upcoming post).
Of course, the biggest news is Accessing the Future! Co-edited with Djibril al-Ayad, our disability-themed speculative fiction short story anthology is in the finishing stages. Accessing the Future will be published this summer (ah!) and it is amazing. While you wait for the summer publishing date to arrive, read one of the many blog posts Djibril and I wrote during our successful crowdfunding campaign. Working on this anthology has been life changing for me (and, yes, there will be posts coming about that too). Check out the awesome Table of Contents over at The Future Fire’s blog and look at the fabulous cover art by Robin Kaplan (below).
My next goal is to start, in earnest, writing a book on disability representation in science fiction once I am back from ICFA. I have set out two timelines for myself—one has me finishing a full draft by this time next year, and the other is accelerated, with a full draft come late fall. I do need to keep working (running Academic Editing Canada, which is work that I really enjoy, especially as I continue to receive more challenging and interesting client projects), so I’m keeping a flexible schedule of deadlines ahead of me. But still, a book! It’s hard to imagine such a huge undertaking coming together but since I also felt the same way about Accessing the Future (and Disability in Science Fiction), I know that it is possible.
I’m going to try to keep Bleeding Chrome blog better updated throughout this year. Writing leads to more writing, and it is helpful for me to keep engaged with other people and work out my thoughts in a more public space. So 2014, all things considered, was a darn good year, and 2015 is looking just as interesting and challenging. I’ll let you all know how it turns out!
I don’t know what to write about the time I spent in the University of Oregon’s Special Collections reading room in the beautiful Knight Library from May 26 to June 5. There’s not enough distance between the massive information download and today when I write this post. It was only yesterday when I realized that not even two weeks have passed since I returned home. It appears I’ve lost track of time. When I was researching, hours felt like minutes. I measured out time in folders of letters. The first few days back home, I threw myself into re-establishing my normal routine in order to avoid fully acknowledging that something integral in the direction of my life has changed. At the moment, my head is still full of other people’s lives and I only hold back telling their stories by force of will and mental exhaustion. Needless to say, I didn’t expect to come away from my archival research with such an overwhelming mix of intellectual excitement and emotional turmoil (but in a good way).
As the inaugural Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction fellow, over the course of ten days (from 10:00am to 4:30pm), I power read 1000s of letters in the archived collections of Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Suzette Haden Elgin, and Sally Miller Gearhart. The letters cover the time period from the late 1960s to the 2000s (I kept my search to the 60s to mid-80s). I was privy to the often intimate thoughts of these women, and also to those on the other side of the correspondence. Most significantly, for me, were the letters of James Tiptree, Jr. and Philip K. Dick. There are other notable science fiction writers on that list too, but as they are still living, I’m not quite ready to name them in any kind of public reflection. It’s enough to say that I’ve met many of the great luminaries of science fiction through their inspiring, well-crafted letters.
I returned home with scans of over 500+ letters (1,021 pages in total), and I am expecting scans of another entire series of an important correspondence (which was unintentionally missed during my stay) to be sent to me in the next few weeks. This is a lot of data to process. Now the real work starts. I must intently read each page and begin to make sense of what I’ve learned. I don’t know what any of it really means to my own scholarship yet. A few projects have taken shape in my mind, but I’m simply too close to the original research experience to see what’s in front of me (the whole “can’t see the forest for the trees” kind of deal). If you were hoping for some exciting research revelations in this post, sorry! I need more time to process everything. I need to return fully back to my own time, to the current moment. I am all starts and stops right now but I wanted to post something here to help ground me. This is a beginning.
I came across this feminist science fiction fellowship the other week--it looks amazing! As soon as I saw it, I knew that I would have to apply for it. For any feminist science fiction scholar, this is simply not an opportunity to be missed:
The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and the UO Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
As part of the Center for the Study of Women in Society’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, and as a way of honoring the role that Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) played in the founding of CSWS, we are collaborating with the University of Oregon Knight Library and the Robert D. Clark Honors College (CHC) to create the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship. (Guidelines PDF)
Purpose: The intention of the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship is to encourage research within collections in the area of feminist science fiction. The Knight Library houses the papers of authors Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, Kate Wilhelm, Suzette Haden Elgin, Sally Miller Gearhart, Kate Elliot, Molly Gloss, Laurie Marks, and Jessica Salmonson, along with Damon Knight. SCUA is also in the process of acquiring the papers of James Tiptree, Jr. and other key feminist science fiction authors.
Fellowship description: This award supports travel for the purpose of research on, and work with, the papers of feminist science fiction authors housed in the Knight Library. These short-term research fellowships are open to undergraduates, master’s and doctoral students, postdoctoral scholars, college and university faculty at every rank, and independent scholars working in feminist science fiction. In 2013, $3,000 will be awarded to conduct research within these collections. The fellowship selection committee will include representatives from CSWS, CHC, and the UO Libraries.
- Complete their research at the University of Oregon within a year of award notification;
- Submit a 1,000-word (maximum) essay on their research topic to CSWS for possible inclusion in publications;
- Meet with representatives from CSWS, CHC, and SCUA during their visit to Eugene;
- Submit a separate paragraph to CSWS documenting the specific collections consulted during the fellowship;
- Submit a copy of their final project or publication to CSWS;
- Acknowledge the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship and its sponsors (Center for the Study of Women in Society, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and Knight Library Special Collections and University Archives) in all publications resulting from the research fellowship.
Applicants must submit by September 1, 2013:
- A 1,000-word (maximum) proposal that describes the project for which these collections will be consulted, as well as the role that the applicant expects these collections will play in the project;
- An anticipated budget for the research visit;
- A two-page curriculum vitae or resume;
- Full contact information;
- Two letters of recommendation.
Applications (as PDF attachments) and questions should be emailed to Jenée Wilde, CSWS Development GTF (jenee[at]uoregon[dot]edu).
As part of CSWS’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship recipient for 2013-14 will be announced at the Sally Miller Gearhart “Worlds Beyond World” Symposium, University of Oregon, November 8-9, 2013, with honored guest speaker Ursula K. Le Guin.