Two SF CfPs

Two science fictiony CfPs: a conference (which I am pretending to co-organise) and an edited collection (no special Lab connection, but looks interesting) — Jo

CfP: Productive Futures

Bloomsbury, London, 12-14 September 2019

Keynote speakers: Dr Caroline Edwards, Dr Joan Haran
Guests of honour: Aliette de Bodard, Zen Cho, Tade Thompson

The history of science fiction (SF) is a history of unreal economics: from asteroid mining to interstellar trade, from the sex-work of replicants to the domestic labour of the housewives of galactic suburbia, from the abolition of money and property to techno-capitalist tragedies of the near future. Read the full CfP.

LSFRC invites abstracts of 300 words, plus 50 word bios, addressing economic themes in SF, and/or exploring how SF can help to widen and evolve our sense of the economic. We encourage submissions from collaborators across disciplines and/or institutions. Please submit to lsfrcmail@gmail.com by 31st May 2019.

CfP: Technologies of Feminist Speculative Fiction

Edited by Sherryl Vint and Sümeyra Buran

In 1985, Donna Haraway’s massively influential “Cyborg Manifesto” reoriented feminist thought in her call for women to engage with science and technology, to recognize in them and the new worlds they might make new resources for female emancipation and feminist critique. Now, over thirty year later, technology has remade much of the social world, from communications to reproduction to work. Our anthology seeks to bring together cutting-edge scholarship on the contemporary status of feminism and technology, as reflected in speculative fiction. We invite papers for an edited collection on intersections between contemporary technology and both feminist and queer readings of speculative fiction.

We are interested in both works that imagine the future of sexuality and gender in which biological reproduction is policed or controlled as a technology of social reproduction, and those that imagine futures in which women’s bodies are changed or controlled via new biotechnologies. We are interested in articles that explore anxieties about changing demographics, changing gender roles, or the placidity of the body from feminist and queer points of view. Although the examples listed below emphasize print texts, we are open to papers addressing works from any medium. Similarly, our examples focus on recently published work, reflecting our view that this topic is of substantial interest to contemporary writers, but we are open to proposals that address similar themes in earlier texts.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Works about how fertility is imagined as a scarce resource in dystopian futures premised on massive sterility and the oppressive control of reproductive women, such as Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks, Meg Ellison’s The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Sarah Hall’s Daughters of the North or Carrie Vaughn’s Bannerless.
  • Explorations of dystopian texts which project futures of authoritarian policing of gender and sexuality, that is, compulsory heterosexuality imagined as a police state, such as Maggie Chen’s An Excess Male, Johanna Sinisalo’s The Core of the Sun, Jenna Glass’s The Women’s Waror Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army.
  • Speculations about the future of assisted reproductive technologies such as cloning, IVF, parthenogenic reproduction, inter-species reproduction, ectogenesis, or machine reproduction, such as Carola Dibbell’s The Only Ones, Mur Lafferty’sSix Wakes, Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time, Jane Roger’s The Testament of Jessie Lamb, Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yoursor Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.
  • Works that explore how gender relations are manipulated and/or changed by a changing environment, whether this be new technologies used to control women, as in Christina Dalcher’s Vox, new developments in human morphology, as in Naomi Alderson’s The Power, or gendered experiences of artificial beings, as in Louisa Hall’s Speak.

Please send paper proposals of 500 words to Sümeyra Buran by June 15, 2019. Proposals will be reviewed and full papers invited by August 1, 2019.

Welcome

Welcome to the sparkling new Sussex Humanities Lab blog!

What is this field, called the Digital Humanities? Broadly speaking, it’s about a dialogue – occasionally a tussle, or a two-part harmony – between all the things humanities scholars have traditionally done, and the new and emerging practices which digital technology enables. Here at the SHL, we’re organised into four strands: Digital History/Digital Archives, Digital Media/Computational Culture, Digital Technologies/Digital Performance, and Digital Lives/Digital Memories; we also collaborate extensively with the TAG (Text Analysis Group) Lab, and with the University of Sussex Library. Building innovative archival and analytic tools to reappraise literary and cultural heritage is part of what we do; so is thinking through the ethical implications of the changing nature of privacy and personal data; so is investigating fledging or fleeting everyday cultural practices of social media users. The fore-edges of medieval manuscripts are in our wheelhouse; so are the memes of 4Chan.

But even a permissive definition of the Digital Humanities risks falling short of the sheer richness and diversity of activity taking place under its rubric. The influence of the Digital Humanities spreads wide, as encounters with new cultural forms often cast fresh light on the familiar, revealing what was under our noses all along. Some scholars and artists have already started to prefer the term postdigital. Let’s not forget about that strong practice-led thread either: the Digital Humanities is not only critical and curatorial, but also creative.

Perhaps the best way to understand the Digital Humanities is to keep an eye on what Digital Humanities scholars are up to. That’s where this blog comes in. In the coming months we’ll be bringing you glimpses of dozens of exciting projects and initiatives with which the Sussex Humanities Lab is involved. We hope to make this blog a place of interest to researchers of all disciplines, and to the public at large.

For my part, I mostly work on the intersection of speculative fiction and economics. How are creators of speculative fiction imagining the impact of automation and Artificial Intelligence on society? Can speculative fiction inform the design of new institutions and policies, allowing us to meet the ecological challenges of the future? Or … maybe it can’t? Later in the year, I’ll be sharing my research more fully. But right now, I want to flag up two projects I’ve been involved with editorially, both hot off the presses. On the fiction side, there’s Strange Economics, an anthology from David Schultz, featuring original economics-themed short stories. The ebook will be free for a limited time. Then there’s Vector, the UK’s longest-running magazine of SF criticism. Vector #288, co-edited with Polina Levontin, a special issue devoted to the future of economics. The magazine only goes to members of the British Science Fiction Association, but we’ll be featuring plenty of excerpts on the Vector website over the next few months.