Race, Gender and Technology in Science-Fiction
Aliens, journeys into space, time travel, wormholes, parallel universes, dark matter, artificial intelligence, robots, cyborgs, self-replicating androids, super computers becoming self-aware, memory implants, optograms, secret weapons, autonomous objects, connected objects, enhanced reality, mass surveillance and the global panopticon, robocops, utopias, terraforming, galactic empires, future cities, technosociety, mutants, degeneration, dystopias… Whilst the focus in science-fiction studies has often been on the ethical dilemmas that accompany (real or anticipated) scientific innovations, this conference wishes instead to concentrate on the illuminations that science-fiction stories can bring to critical race theory and gender studies. Writers of science-fiction extrapolate from the realms of scientific knowledge or theory, or from technology, techniques, machines or instruments, and thus envisage the possibilities of new social organisations, the appearance of new social facts, or new social norms. This conference aims primarily to explore the intersections between fictional science and the dynamics of race and gender.
How has anticipatory literature (including short stories, graphic novels, films, TV series…) interacted with the life sciences to question the biologisation of race and gender? How have its utopias/dystopias engaged with questions of gender, sexuality and empowerment? How have its scenarios addressed the African-American, Chicano/a, Asian-American, Native American experience, double-consciousness, colourblindness, whiteness or white privilege?
How does science-fiction engage with history, the colonial past, Jim Crow or slavery? How has Afrofuturism changed in the digital age? Papers that investigate any of these topics are particularly welcome. Whilst the examples above, for the purposes of exposition, refer primarily to North America, we invite papers on science-fiction emanating from any geographical territory.