Displaying items by tag: conference
Call for Papers
The 2013 Joint Eaton/SFRA Conference
Science Fiction Media
April 10-14, 2013
Riverside Marriott Hotel
Riverside, California
This conference—cosponsored by the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy (UC Riverside) and the Science Fiction Research Association—will examine science fiction in multiple media. The past several decades have witnessed an explosion in SF texts across the media landscape, from film and TV to comics and digital games. We are interested in papers that explore SF as a multimedia phenomenon, whether focusing on popular mass media, such as Hollywood blockbusters, or on niche and subcultural forms of expression, such as MUDs and vidding. We invite paper and panel proposals that focus on all forms of SF, including prose fiction, and that address (but are not limited to) the following topics:
  • Mainstream Hollywood vs. Global SF Cinema
  • SF Comics and Manga
  • SF Anime and Animation
  • SF on the Internet and the World Wide Web
  • Multimedia “dispersed” SF narratives
  • Fandom, Cosplay, Mashups, and Remixing
  • Broadcast and Cable SF Television
  • SF Videogames
  • World’s Fairs, Theme Parks, and other “Material” SF Media
  • Short-form SF film
  • Afrofuturism
  • SF and/in Music
  • SF Idiom and Imagery in Advertising
  • Webisodes and TV Games
  • SF Art and Illustration
The conference will also feature the fourth Science Fiction Studies Symposium on the topic of “SF Media(tions),” with speakers Mark Bould, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr., and Vivian Sobchack. Keynote speakers and special guests will be announced as they are confirmed; see the conference website at http://eatonconference.ucr.edu/ for periodic updates.
Conference sessions will be held at the newly remodeled and centrally located Riverside Marriott Hotel, with rooms at a reduced conference rate ($109). For more about the hotel, see their website at: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/ hotel-information/travel/ralmc-riverside-marriott.
A block of rooms will also be available at a discount ($139) at the historic Mission Inn Hotel and Spa two blocks from the Marriott: http://missioninn.com.
Rooms in both hotels are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Abstracts of 500 words (for papers of 20-minutes in length) should be submitted by September 14, 2012. We also welcome panel proposals gathering three papers on a cohesive topic. Send electronic submissions to conference co-chair Melissa Conway at Melissa.Conway@ucr.edu with the subject heading: EATON/SFRA CONFERENCE PROPOSAL. Please include a brief bio with your abstract and indicate whether your presentation would require A/V. Participants will be informed by December 1 if their proposals have been accepted.

Published in Kathryn Allan's Blog
Monday, 02 April 2012 18:11

Theorizing Vulnerability (A Beginning)

With ICFA now behind me, I'm already looking forward to attending WisCon at the end of May. I will be presenting a paper as part of WisCon's academic track and I am hoping to get a conversation started about vulnerability in feminist SF. This paper actually heralds in the first stage of my next major research project. Even though I'm still putting together Technology as Cure? Representations of Disability in Science Fiction, I'm already starting to plan out a solo, book-length exploration of vulnerability (in science/science fiction). I have been thinking critically about vulnerability - in all contexts of the word - since I first picked up Margrit Shildrick's Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self (2002) during my doctoral research. Shildrick's evocation of the vulnerable self - and the measures we take to cover it up - became a guiding theoretical framework for my thesis.

But even after writing my dissertation, the complexity of vulnerability - in terms of ontology, epistemology, and corporeality - has persisted in my imagination. It bleeds into all of my academic thinking. I encounter it, suddenly and unexpectedly, in my daily life. Vulnerability refuses to be ignored. No theory, word, or concept has ever taken such deep root in my conscious before. I find it - both the word and its presence in my awareness - unsettling and inspiring. And like with most things we find troubling, I'm eager to examine and contain it. I can't say yet what the book will look like or how fast I will write it, but I know that it is coming.

Below is the abstract for the paper (still to be written) I will be presenting at WisCon. A (tiny) sneak peek into my on-going obsession with vulnerability:

Theorizing Vulnerability in Feminist Science Fiction

As the pace of advancements in prosthetic and other computerized assisted-living technologies quickens, we, as a culture, find ourselves faced with new possibilities for (dis)abled bodies and embodiments. In this paper, I want to explore the concept of vulnerability in feminist SF and begin articulating the ways that vulnerability of the body can open up new ways of understanding human being (both materially and ontologically). Drawing on both disability studies and feminist theory, I want to expand on the notion of vulnerability as theorized by Margrit Shildrick in Embodying the Monster (2002). Shildrick proposes that while “we are already without boundaries, already vulnerable” (6), normative subjectivity elides its own vulnerability by repositioning it as a quality of the monstrous other (68). Much traditionally masculine oriented SF (from the books of Isaac Asimov to Gene Rodenberry’s Star Trek series) rejects vulnerability in favour of the technologically-fortified posthuman. Technology is positioned as a way in which to overcome the physical or mental limitations of the human body, but the quest to transcend the body ignores the lived realities of labouring, feeling, and suffering bodies.

I suggest that, regardless of the distractions and promises offered by technology, the body matters. Elizabeth Grosz reminds us that: “If bodies are objects or things, they are like no others, for they are the centers of perspective, insight, reflection, desire, agency” (Volatile Bodies, 1994, xi). It is those unquantifiable qualities – perspective, insight, reflection, desire, and agency – that uniquely define embodied vulnerable being. They are qualities that technology cannot reproduce or replace. By taking examples from feminist SF works (from writers such as Octavia Butler, Misha, Larissa Lai, and Nalo Hopkinson), I want create an open discussion about the ways that the genre stresses the importance of the body (both abled and disabled), asking us to recognize the shared vulnerability that defines human being.

Published in Kathryn Allan's Blog

Mothering Monsters: Technology, Reproduction, and the Maternal Body in
Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl and Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber

Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl (2002) and Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber (2000) explore the ways that reproductive technologies have the capacity to reshape human being in unexpected and frightening ways. Drawing on corporeal feminism (of Margrit Shildrick and Elizabeth Grosz, most notably), I interrogate the ways in which Lai and Hopkinson explore issues of monstrosity, maternity, and reproduction in posthuman worlds. Cloning meets reincarnation in Salt Fish Girl, as Lai traces the journey of durian-odoured Miranda from adolescence to motherhood. I examine the ways reproductive technologies, like cloning, intersect with environmental pollution and hybrid diseases to create a threatening maternal body that has no need for men. Lai reflects that “now we step out of moist earth, out of DNA new and old, an imprint of what has gone before, but also a variation. [...] By our strangeness we write our bodies into the future” (SFG, 259). Miranda’s struggles with corporeal indeterminacy and “seepage” are reflected, I argue, in Midnight Robber’s Tan-Tan. Like Lai, Hopkinson exposes the particular vulnerability and monstrosity inherent in maternity as Tan-Tan struggles with self-actualization and non-normative embodiment. Straddling the worlds of technology (Toussaint) and unadulterated nature (New Half-Way Tree), Tan-Tan becomes a contested site of the posthuman mother – her child is directly connected to the Grande Anansi Nanotech Interface: “[His] little bodystring will sing to Nanny tune, doux-doux. [He] will be a weave in she flesh” (MR, 328). Reading these two texts as exemplars of feminist post-cyberpunk SF, I ultimately propose that Lai and Hopkinson situate the monstrous maternal body as both vulnerable and technologically adaptable. Salt Fish Girl and Midnight Robber articulate the dangers inherent in adopting any new technology, but remain optimistic that the maternal body will continue to replicate on its own terms and in unforeseen ways.

 

Proposed Bibliography

Anatol, Giselle Liza. “Maternal Discourses in Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber.” African  American Review. 40.1 (Spring 2006). 1-14. Print.

Barr, Marleen, Ed. Future Females, The Next Generation: New Voices and Velocities in  Feminist Science Fiction Criticism. Lanham: Rowman and  Littlefield Publishers, 2000.  13-34. Print.

- - - . “’We’re at the start of a new ball game and that’s why we’re all real nervous’: Or, Cloning – Technological Cognition Reflects Estrangement from Women.” Learning From Other Worlds: Estrangement, Cognition, and the Politics of Science Fiction and Utopia. Ed. Patrick Parrinder. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001. 193-207. Print.

Braidotti, Rosi. “Cyberteratologies: Female Monsters Negotiate the Other’s Participation in Humanity’s Far Future.” Envisioning the Future: Science Fiction and the Next Millennium. Ed. Marleen Barr. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2003. 146-172. Print.

Doane, Mary Ann. “Technophilia: Technology, Representation, and the Feminine.” Cybersexualities: A Reader on Feminist Theory, Cyborgs and Cyberspace. Ed. Jenny Wolmark. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999. 20-33. Print.

Graham, Elaine. Representations of the Post/Human: Monsters, Aliens, and Others in Popular Culture. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002. Print.

Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. Print.

Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1999. Print.

Hopkinson, Nalo. Midnight Robber. New York: Warner Books, 2000. Print.

Lai, Larissa. Salt Fish Girl. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2008. Print.

Lee, Tara. “Mutant Bodies in Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl: Challenging the Alliance Between Science and Capital.” West Coast Line 38.2 (Fall 2004): 1-11. Print.

Morris, Robyn. “’What Does it Mean to be Human?’: Racing Monsters, Clones and Replicants.” Foundation (Summer 2004): 81-96. Print.

Rogan, Alcena Madeline Davis. “Tananarive Due and Nalo Hopkinson Revisit the Reproduction of Mothering.” Afro-Future Females: Black Writers Chart Science Fiction’s Newest New-Wave Trajectory. Ed. Marleen S. Barr. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2008. 75-99. Print.

Shildrick, Margrit. Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self London: SAGE Publications, 2002. Print.

Vint, Sherryl. Bodies of Tomorrow: Technology, Subjectivity, Science Fiction. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007. Print.

Published in Kathryn Allan's Blog
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