Unknown Pasts / Unseen Futures
June 28 to July 1, 2017
University of California, Riverside
Keynote Speaker: Nnedi Okorafor
Guest Author: Ted Chiang
The 2017 SFRA conference will be held at the Marriott Riverside at the Convention Center and hosted by University of California, Riverside (UCR). The home of the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, UCR also runs the Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science graduate program and has a robust research community focused on speculative fiction across media.
Our keynote speaker is author Nnedi Okorafor, writer of fantasy, sf, and speculative fiction. Sf author Ted Chiang will also be in attendance for a special screening of Arrival (2016, dir. Denis Villeneuve), which is based on Chiang’s short story “Story of Your Life.” A Q&A with Chiang will follow the screening.
The conference theme will be Unknown Pasts / Unseen Futures. This theme grows out of the 2016 conference, whose conversations reminded us that there is so much about the history of science fiction that has yet to be sufficiently addressed in scholarship, including marginalized or otherwise neglected bodies of work. The future of scholarship in the field can be opened up to new possibilities through this return to under-examined elements in our genre’s past, opening it up to futures that are as-yet unanticipated in existing fictional and scholarly visions. This conference theme also reflects UCR’s commitment to science fiction scholarship that is focused on imagining and creating sustainable and inclusive futures. Thus our focus is equally on new voices in the field and the new kinds of futures that emerge from this broader sense of the field’s membership.
In her acceptance speech as she received the National Book Foundation’s medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters, Ursula K. Le Guin reminded us of the importance of the speculative imagination: such visions can help us recognize that social and political structures of our present are only one option among many rather than inevitable formations. In this spirit, we invite papers that explore science fiction’s pasts from innovative perspectives and that focus on its power to envision alternative futures that are more than just the intensification of urgent problems of the present, such as environmental crisis, climate change, and growing economic inequality.
Topics can include, but are not limited to:
- Science fiction without the label: speculative cultural productions that might be understood as part of an expanded frame for science fiction
- Neglected voices: authors or works once prominent in the field who have been forgotten
- New voices: works by the next generation of sf writers and creators and how their work is changing our field
- New methodologies: new ways of asking questions about and with science fiction
- Overlooked media: what other media can we think about in sf terms—visual art, performance art, and more
- New futures: how can we think beyond or outside of the various crises—economic, ecological, social, democratic—in which we find ourselves in the twenty-first century
- Reinventing sf: it has become axiomatic to say that the future resembles science fiction in reference to contemporary technology such as augmented reality or biotechnology; so if we are now living in the world as envisioned by Gernsback’s sf, what should be the project for another kind of sf for the twenty-first century
Please send proposals of 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31, 2017. Proposals should include your name and affiliation, and be accompanied by a brief bibliography. Proposals can be made for pre-constituted panels and these must include email addresses for all proposed speakers. The CFP can be downloaded here.
Notification of acceptance will be sent by early April.
Continuing a new SFRA initiative, our program on June 28 will be specifically addressed to graduate students and will include sessions on career professionalization.
All attendees at any SFRA-related event are expected to adhere to the SFRA Code of Conduct, which can be found here.
Information about the conference program will be coming soon.