Call for Papers: The Sixth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Access and Science Fiction

The question guiding the Sixth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium is: Who has access to the genre in terms of opportunities to create, enjoy, celebrate, identify with, and connect with others? Access, of course, is a shared concern of many historically marginalized and oppressed groups, including women, the disabled, LGBTQ+ persons, and the working class. Please refer to the Call for Papers for more details. 

Organizers Jill Belli, Wanett Clyde, Jason W. Ellis, Lucas Kwong, and A. Lavelle Porter invite proposals for 10-20 minute scholarly paper presentations or 40-60 minute panel discussions related to the topic of Access and SF. Please send a 250-word abstract with title, brief professional bio, and contact information to Jason Ellis (jellis@citytech.cuny.edu) by October 15, 2021

Issues of access were an important concern before the pandemic, but these were amplified and intensified in new ways, including library closings and book deserts. Reduced access to computers, Internet, and study spaces delayed or derailed important opportunities for many.

These issues with access before and during the pandemic extend to Science Fiction. William Gibson’s aphorism, “The future has arrived–it’s just not evenly distributed yet,” offers a conceptual lens for this. While Gibson’s use of the term “future” equates to the technoscientific, Science Fiction also represents many imagined futures, and those futures are not yet evenly distributed in terms of access to the genre for creators, readers, fans, and critics. 

Lack of access isn’t only a problem for those who might find enjoyment, meaning, and community through SF in the present; it may also affect the stories produced, the characters created, and the control of narratives. 

The Sixth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium will investigate the theme of “Access and SF” and we will question together: what are the tensions between access and SF, what’s at stake and for whom, how to foster alliances, and how to achieve access for all. Also, Analog Science Fiction and Fact will announce the winner of their inaugural Analog Award for Emerging Black Voices at this year’s symposium. 

Topics with a connection to Access and SF include but are not limited to:

•    Access to Science Fiction for an Audience 

•    Access to Science Fiction as a Fan 

•    Access to Science Fiction as a Creator 

•    Access to Science Fiction as a Scholar 

•    Access to Science Fiction where Roles Collide 

•    Barriers to Access of Science Fiction for an Audience 

•    Barriers to Access to Science Fiction as a Creator 

•    Accessibility, Disability, and Science Fiction 

•    Technologies of Access and Accessibility that Relate to SF  

•    Access, Openness, and SF 

•    Affinity Politics and Intersectionality 

This event is free and open to the public as space permits: an RSVP will be included with the program when announced on the Science Fiction at City Tech website. Free registration will be required for participation. ​As with last year’s symposium, the on-going pandemic necessitates holding this year’s event online, too.

The Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction is held in celebration of the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, an archival holding of over 600-linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and scholarship. The City Tech Science Fiction Collection contains near-complete runs of major science fiction magazines and extensive holdings of science fiction anthologies, novels, and scholarship, including rare books and first editions. Additionally, there are significant selections of fringe texts, including mystery, horror, and the supernatural. It is housed in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library. 

If you would like to inquire about the collection for research purposes, please read the library’s access policy for the City Tech Science Fiction Collection and contact Assistant Professor and Collections Management and Archives Librarian Wanett Clyde by phone at 718-260-5496 or email wclyde@citytech.cuny.edu.

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