The Fifth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on the topic of Race and SF was held on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 as a Zoom Webinar. You can read the full program here.
Included below are videos of each session as well as links to expanded presentations and SF writers reading their stories.
Many thanks again to everyone who participated and contributed to this year’s event!
Table of Contents
Opening Jason W. Ellis Justin Vazquez-Poritz, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
Literary Afrofuturism Roundtable
Roundtable: Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century Moderator: Lisa Yaszek Panelists: Rebecca Holden Isiah Lavender III Nedine Moonsamy Lisa Yaszek
Pedagogy Paper Session
Paper Session 1: Pedagogy Moderator: Jill Belli Doug Davis – Teaching Afrofuturism with Open Educational Resources Sadia Reza – Theory of Mind, the “Other,” and Composition Peter Sands – Morrison’s Paradise: Slow Pedagogies for Generating Deep Conversations about Race
Film Paper Session
Paper Session 2: Film Moderator: Wanett Clyde Jacob Adler – A Sickness Known as Hate: Race and Identity in the Twilight Zone Kanta Dihal and Stephen Cave – The Whiteness of the AI Uprising (in UK, 4 hours ahead) Sharon Packer – Sinophobia and Tibetophilia: Recurring Racist Memes in SF Cinema and Comics Jessica Wagner Webster – Race, Propaganda, and Sci-Fi/Horror Films During World War II
Student Roundtable: “If you had that kind of power … What would you do? What would you change?”: Thinking Critically about Race and Science Fiction Moderator: Jill Belli Students from Science Fiction, ENG2420: Oscar Abundez, Derick Bardales Khoury Douglas Ronald Gordon Tommy Su
Pulps and Golden Age SF Paper Session
Paper Session 3: Pulps and Golden Age SF Moderator: Lucas Kwong Christopher Leslie – “The Menace of Mars”: Resistance to White Male Privilege in Golden Age Science Fiction Steven Shaviro – Exorcising Lovecraft | View Expanded Presentation
Theories and Readings of Otherness and Representation
Paper Session 4: Theories and Readings of Otherness and Representation Moderator: Ann Matsuuchi Matthew David Goodwin – Gloria Anzaldua and the Making of an Alien Consciousness Subhalakshmi Gooptu – Livepods and Seedlings: Legacies of Colonial Labor in Contemporary Science Fiction Rebecca Hankins and Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad – Islamicate Afrofuturuism: Visions of Muslim Afrofuturism and Beyond Kathrin Lachenmaier – Defying the Colonial ‘Story of Indigenous Deficiency’ in Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God | View Expanded Presentation Aaron Zwintscher – But They Aren’t Human and They Don’t Complain …: Writing Race(s), Diversity, and the Colonial Mindset on Roshar and Elsewhere in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere
Keynote Address by Johnathan W. Gray
Keynote Address by Jonathan W. Gray on “Past Tense, Future Perfect: American Atrocities in HBO’s Watchmen and Lovecraft Country“ Introduction: A. Lavelle Porter
The Fifth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Race and SF is honored to have a Writers Panel with these talented individuals: Alaya Dawn Johnson, Cadwell Turnbull, Erin Roberts, and Carlos Hernandez! Each author has a prerecorded reading linked from the symposium program. At the symposium, they will talk about their experiences and respond to questions from attendees.
The Writers Panel is moderated by Joy Sanchez-Taylor, Associate Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and organized by Emily Hockaday, Managing Editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
The Fifth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Race and Science Fiction will be held on Thursday, Nov. 19 from 9:00am-5:00pm online via Zoom Webinar.
To participate in this free event, attendees will need to (1) Signup for a free Zoom account here (if you don’t already have one), and (2) Register here to receive access instructions to the Zoom Webinar. Participants may register any time before or during the event!
In addition to the Zoom Webinar Chat and YouTube Live Chat, join the event conversation with the event hashtag #CityTechSF and follow us on Twitter @CityTechSF.
As indicated below in the program, some symposium content is pre-recorded to offer more time for discussion on the day of the event. Pre-recorded content includes author readings and full paper presentations. Some of this content is in production and will be posted soon.
9:00AM–9:15AM Opening Jason W. Ellis Justin Vazquez-Poritz, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
9:15AM–9:55AM Roundtable: Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century Moderator: Lisa Yaszek Panelists: Rebecca Holden Isiah Lavender III Nedine Moonsamy Lisa Yaszek
10:00AM–10:50AM Paper Session 1: Pedagogy Moderator: Jill Belli Doug Davis – Teaching Afrofuturism with Open Educational Resources Sadia Reza – Theory of Mind, the “Other,” and Composition Peter Sands – Morrison’s Paradise: Slow Pedagogies for Generating Deep Conversations about Race
10:50AM–11:55AM Paper Session 2: Film Moderator: Wanett Clyde Jacob Adler – A Sickness Known as Hate: Race and Identity in the Twilight Zone Kanta Dihal and Stephen Cave – The Whiteness of the AI Uprising (in UK, 4 hours ahead) Sharon Packer – Sinophobia and Tibetophilia: Recurring Racist Memes in SF Cinema and Comics Jessica Wagner Webster – Race, Propaganda, and Sci-Fi/Horror Films During World War II
12:00PM–12:45PM Student Roundtable: “If you had that kind of power … What would you do? What would you change?”: Thinking Critically about Race and Science Fiction Moderator: Jill Belli Students from Science Fiction, ENG2420: Oscar Abundez, Derick Bardales Khoury Douglas Ronald Gordon Tommy Su
12:50PM–1:35PM Paper Session 3: Pulps and Golden Age SF Moderator: Lucas Kwong Christopher Leslie – “The Menace of Mars”: Resistance to White Male Privilege in Golden Age Science Fiction Steven Shaviro – Exorcising Lovecraft | View Expanded Presentation
2:50PM–4:10PM Paper Session 4: Theories and Readings of Otherness and Representation Moderator: Ann Matsuuchi Matthew David Goodwin – Gloria Anzaldua and the Making of an Alien Consciousness Subhalakshmi Gooptu – Livepods and Seedlings: Legacies of Colonial Labor in Contemporary Science Fiction Rebecca Hankins and Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad – Islamicate Afrofuturuism: Visions of Muslim Afrofuturism and Beyond Kathrin Lachenmaier – Defying the Colonial ‘Story of Indigenous Deficiency’ in Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God | View Expanded Presentation Aaron Zwintscher – But They Aren’t Human and They Don’t Complain …: Writing Race(s), Diversity, and the Colonial Mindset on Roshar and Elsewhere in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere
4:15PM-5:00PM Keynote Address by Jonathan W. Gray on “Past Tense, Future Perfect: American Atrocities in HBO’s Watchmen and Lovecraft Country“ Introduction: A. Lavelle Porter
Oscar Abundez is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student at City Tech.
Jacob Adler has worked in library cataloging for many years. He was a cataloger at The Paley Center for Media in New York from 2010 to 2016, and has been working as the Metadata/Cataloging Librarian at Bronx Community College since 2017. He obtained an MS in Library and Information Science from the Palmer School of Library and Information Science in 2016, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Museum Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.
Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at University of Washington and the Principal Research Scientist at KenSci. Muhammad Aurangzeb has published over 50 research papers in machine learning and artificial intelligence. He has a PhD in Computer Science from University of Minnesota. He is also the founder and editor of the Islam and Science Fiction project, which is the most comprehensive resource on the subject. He has edited or co-edited two anthologies on Science Fiction with Islamic influences.
Derick Bardales is a Business and Technology of Fashion student at City Tech.
Jill Belli is Associate Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, CUNY, where she happily teaches science fiction and utopian studies often. She’s working on long-standing projects on well-being & happiness in education and writing & revising in dystopian texts. Newer interests include looping as composing practice, tarot and astrology as storytelling and knowing, William Reynolds, and grief. Learn more about Jill and her interdisciplinary research and teaching: jillbelli.org.
Stephen Cave is Executive Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge.
Wanett Clyde is the Collections Management Librarian at City Tech. She researches the intersection of Fashion & Black history.
Doug Davis is professor of English at Gordon State College in Barnesville, GA, where he teaches literature and writing. He has published essays on topics ranging from fictions of nuclear war and terrorism to teaching southern literature and Flannery O’Connor. Most recently, he guest-edited two special issues of The Flannery O’Connor Review on the theme of science and technology in O’Connor’s fiction.
Kanta Dihal is a Senior Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge. She is the Principal Investigator on the Global AI Narratives project, which explores intercultural public understanding of artificial intelligence as constructed by fictional and nonfictional narratives. She obtained her DPhil in science communication at the University of Oxford in 2018. Kanta’s work intersects the fields of science communication, literature and science, and science fiction. She is co-editor of AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking About Intelligent Machines (2020) and is currently turning her DPhil thesis into a monograph.
Khoury Douglas is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student at City Tech.
Jason W. Ellis is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY, where he coordinates the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. He coedited The Postnational Fantasy: Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction (McFarland, 2011) and a special issue on Star Wars: The Force Awakens of New American Notes Online, and talked with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson about the relationship between SF and society on StarTalk Radio. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.
Matthew David Goodwin is a scholar, an editor, and a translator. His research is centered on the experience of migration, in particular how Latinx writers are using science fiction and fantasy to explore migration. He is the editor of Latinx Rising: An Anthology of Latinx Science Fiction and Fantasy as well as the forthcoming young adult collection Speculative Fiction for Dreamers. His study of Latinx science fiction, The Latinx Files: Race, Migration, and Space Aliens will be published with Rutgers University Press in 2021. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. His PhD is in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts.
Subhalakshmi Gooptu is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a Writing Fellow at UMass’ Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department and a research associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center. Her dissertation project archives contemporary literary productions that engage with transnational, decolonial and labor migrations. Particularly, through an assemblage of representations of birth, inheritance and reproduction in South Asian and Caribbean diasporic writing.
Ronald Gordon is a Communications Design student at City Tech.
Jonathan W. Gray is Associate Professor of English at John Jay College, CUNY and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Civil Rights in the White Literary Imagination published by University Press of Mississippi. He is currently working on a book project titled Illustrating the Race: Representing Blackness in American Comics which traces depictions of African Americans in comics from 1966 to the present by investigating how the twin notions of illustration–the creative act of depiction and the political act of bringing forth for public consideration–function in these texts. Prof. Gray co-edited the essay collection Disability in Comics and Graphic Novels for Palgrave McMillian and formerly served as the founding editor of the Journal of Comics and Culture (Pace). Prof. Gray’s journalism on popular culture has appeared in The New Republic, Entertainment Weekly, Medium, and Salon.com.
Xavier Guerrero designed the poster for The Fifth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Race and Science Fiction. He is a BFA in Communication Design/Graphic Design student at City Tech and a self-taught photographer. In his spare time, he likes to explore the city and practice photography. See some of his photos on Instagram and other examples of his work in his online portfolio.
Rebecca Hankins is the Wendler Endowed Professor and certified archivist/librarian at Texas A&M University. She is an affiliated faculty in the Interdisciplinary Critical Studies Program that includes Africana, Women’s & Gender, and Religious Studies. Her work has appeared in The International Review of African American Art, Critical Muslim, Foundation, American Archivist, RUSQ, and most recently an essay titled “Practicing Islam in the time of COVID-19” freely available in the eBook, Religion in Quarantine: The Future of Religion in a Post-Pandemic World edited by TAMU Communication’s Professor Heidi Campbell.
Carlos Hernandez (he/him) is the author of the Pura Belpre-award winning Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (2019), as well as its sequel, Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (2020) and the short story collection The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria (2016). He is also a CUNY associate professor of English at BMCC and the Graduate Center, as well as a game writer and designer. Find him on socials @writeteachplay.
Rebecca J. Holden is a fan and scholar of feminist and African American science fiction. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999 and is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Professional Writing Program at the University of Maryland, College Park. Holden has published essays and reviews on various science fiction writers and books in Foundation, Science Fiction Studies, Oxford Bibliographies in American Literature, LA Review of Books, Women of Other Worlds: Excursions through Science Fiction and Feminism, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. Holden has served as a reviewer for Extrapolation, African American Review, and the Masters of Science Fiction series from the University of Illinois Press. With Nisi Shawl, Holden coedited and contributed to Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler (2013). She also edited a collection of essays on WisCon, a feminist science fiction convention, titled Regenerating WisCon (2014). In 2014, Holden cochaired the annual SFRA (Science Fiction Research Association) conference.
Alaya Dawn Johnson is the author of seven novels for adults and young adults. Her most recent novel for adults, Trouble the Saints, was released in July 2020 from Tor books. A short story collection, Reconstruction, is forthcoming in November 2020 from Small Beer Press. Her young adult novel The Summer Prince was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, while her novel Love Is the Drug won the Andre Norton/Nebula Award for Middle Grade/Young Adult fiction. Her short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, A Phoenix First Must Burn, Feral Youth, and Zombies vs. Unicorns. She lives in Mexico where she received a master’s degree with honors in Mesoamerican Studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for her thesis on pre-Columbian fermented food and its role in the religious-agricultural calendar.
Lucas Kwong is an assistant professor of English at New York City College of Technology. His scholarship on fantastic fiction, religion, and colonialism has been published in Victorian Literature and Culture, Religion and Literature, and Journal of Narrative Theory. He also serves as the assistant editor for New American Notes Online, an online interdisciplinary scholarly journal, and as editor for City Tech Writer, a journal of student writing. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
Kathrin Lachenmaier is a master’s student at the University of Cologne, Germany, pursuing a degree in English Studies and is enrolled in the Research Master program at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and German Studies (2019). Her research interests include American literature and culture, North American Indigenous literatures, Indigenous Futurism, science fiction, and ecocriticism.
Isiah Lavender III is Sterling Goodman Professor of English at the University of Georgia, where he researches and teaches courses in African American literature and science fiction. In addition to his books Race in American Science Fiction (Indiana UP, 2011), Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction (UP of Mississippi, 2014), Dis-Orienting Planets: Racial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction (UP of Mississippi, 2017), and Afrofuturism Rising: The Literary Prehistory of a Movement (Ohio State UP, 2019), his publications on science fiction include essays and reviews in journals such as Extrapolation, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and Science Fiction Studies, and collections such as the Cambridge History of Science Fiction and the Routledge Companion to Science Fiction. His co-edited critical anthology Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century with Lisa Yaszek (Ohio State UP) was recently published in 2020 as well as “Beyond Afrofuturism,” the special double issue of Extrapolation, again co-edited with Yaszek. His current projects include: The Routledge Handbook of Alternative Futurisms (co-edited with Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Grace Dillon, and Taryne Jade Taylor), the interview collection Conversations with Nalo Hopkinson, and the monograph “Critical Race Theory and Science Fiction.” Finally, he edits for Extrapolation—the oldest science fiction journal—as one of its six editors.
Christopher Leslie, a two-time winner of a Fulbright fellowship, has taught at Hunter College, John Jay College, New York University, Universität Potsdam, and the South China University of Technology. Dr. Leslie took his M.A. and Ph.D. from the City University of New York Graduate Center. His research interests include the interactions among science, technology, and culture.
Ann Matsuuchi is an instructional technology librarian and professor at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. Writing projects include those that focus on Samuel R. Delany and Wonder Woman, sf tv shows such as Doctor Who, and using Wikipedia to teach the work of Octavia E. Butler.
Nedine Moonsamy is a Senior Lecturer in the English Literature department at the University of Pretoria. She is currently writing a monograph on contemporary South African fictionand otherwise conducts research on science fiction in Africa. She has held research fellowships at The Institute for African and Asian Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin (2017) and at the Visual Cultures Department at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2019). She is currently a researcher on the Urban Cultures and Popular Imaginaries in Africa project (UCAPI, Rhodes University). The Unfamous Five is her debut novel (Modjaji Books 2019).
Sharon Packer, MD is a physician and psychiatrist who is affiliated with Mount Sinai Beth Israel and who is the author of Neuroscience in Science Fiction Film and Superheroes and Superegos and the co-editor of Welcome to Arkham Asylum: Essays on Psychiatry and the Gotham City Institution and other books and articles.
Sadia Reza has taught Intro to Writing courses at several CUNY colleges. With graduate degrees in English from CUNY and in Sociology from Columbia University, she is either teaching writing or pursuing social research. Her research centers on racialized constructions of science, modernity and education. She also writes science fiction and fantasy of her own.
Erin Roberts is a writer of speculative fiction across formats: her short fiction has appeared in publications including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Podcastle, and The Dark and has been selected for three Year’s Best anthologies; her interactive fiction has been published in Sub-Q Magazine; and her nonfiction essays and reviews have appeared on Tor.com and in Cascadia Subduction Zone, People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy, and Strange Horizons, among others. Erin is a graduate of the Odyssey Writers Workshop and holds an MFA from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. You can follow her on Twitter at @nirele and read more about her work at writingwonder.com.
Joy Sanchez-Taylor is an Associate Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) whose research specialty is science fiction and fantasy literature by authors of color. She has published articles in Science Fiction Studies, Extrapolation and The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. Her book Diverse Futures: Science Fiction and Writers of Color is being published by The Ohio State University Press in Fall 2021.
Peter Sands, Director UWM Honors College and Associate Professor of English, writes mainly about utopias and utopianism, and sometimes about teaching writing and literature courses in digital environments. Also cannibalism.
Steven Shaviro is the DeRoy Professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit. He writes mostly about science fiction and about music videos. His books include Connected, or What It Means To Live in the Network Society (2003), Discognition (2016), and Extreme Fabulations (forthcoming in 2021).
Tommy Su is a Computer Systems Technology student at City Tech.
Cadwell Turnbull is the author of The Lesson. His short fiction has appeared in The Verge, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Asimov’s Science Fiction and several anthologies, including The Best American Science Fiction 2018 and The Year’s Best Science Fiction 2019. His novel The Lesson was the winner of the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Award in the debut category. The novel was also shortlisted for the VCU Cabell Award and longlisted for the Massachusetts Book Award. Turnbull lives in Raleigh and teaches at North Carolina State University.
Jessica Wagner Webster is the Digital Initiatives Librarian and Assistant Professor at Baruch College, City University of New York. She holds an MLS in archives and an MA in American History from the University of Maryland. Her responsibilities include digitizing print materials for access, designing long-term archival preservation and access systems, and developing workflows for processing born-digital materials. Her research focuses on film and material culture, trends in archival practice, documentation of underdocumented populations, and collection of student life materials.
Lisa Yaszek is Regents’ Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, where she explores science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures. Yaszek’s books include Galactic Suburbia: Recovering Women’s Science Fiction (Ohio State, 2008); Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction (Wesleyan 2016); The Future is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women (Library of America, 2018); and Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-FirstCentury (co-edited with Isiah Lavender III, Ohio State, 2020). Her ideas have been featured in The Washington Post, Food and Wine Magazine, and USA Today, and she has been an expert commentator for the BBC4’s Stranger Than Sci Fi, Wired.com’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the AMC miniseries James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. A past president of the Science Fiction Research Association, Yaszek currently serves as a juror for the John W. Campbell and Eugie Foster Science Fiction Awards.
Aaron Zwintscher, PhD (UCF) is an adjunct professor of English at City Tech. He has previously written about speculative fiction particularly with regard to its relationships with ecology, representation, and hospitality towards both the human and the other-than-human. His monograph Noise Thinks the Anthropoce was published by the open access academic press Punctum Books in 2019 and is freely available to download from their website.
About the Symposium
Following the inauguration of the City Tech Science Fiction Collection in 2016, faculty have organized an annual symposium on Science Fiction. The event is a celebration of the collection and an opportunity to discuss, share, and consider how important Science Fiction is as a literature of interdisciplinarity, imagination, and inspiration.
Wanett Clyde, Jason W. Ellis, Lucas Kwong, and A. Lavelle Porter co-organized this year’s symposium.
About the City Tech Science Fiction Collection
The City Tech Science Fiction Collection contains over 600-linear-feet of near-complete runs of the major science fiction magazines, and an extensive holding of science fiction anthologies, novels, and scholarship. Additionally, there are significant selections of fringe texts, including mystery, horror, and the supernatural. An anonymous donor gifted the original, tremendous collection to City Tech in 2016. It has since grown thanks to additional donations.
Race and Science Fiction: The Fifth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium
Date and Time: November 19, 2020, 9:00AM-5:00PM
Location: Online, Sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.
Organizers: Wanett Clyde, Jason W. Ellis, and A. Lavelle Porter
“People who say change is impossible are usually pretty happy with things just as they are.” –N. K. Jemisin, The City We Became
Science Fiction, on a fundamental level, is always about the here-and-now in which it is produced, because it is from that point the author extrapolates an imagined future or alternate reality. The long and hard fight for civil rights and the latest unfolding of that struggle in the Black Lives Matter movement and its alliances calls on us to recognize the powerful possibilities within Science Fiction to imagine change, especially those promoting social justice and equality by writers of color and Afrofuturists, as well as reckon with the field’s patterns of racism, resistance to inclusion, and lack of representation.
The Fifth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium aims to explore the possibilities for change through the myriad connections between Race and Science Fiction with scholarly presentations, readings by authors, and engaging discussion. It is our goal to foster conversations that question, critique, or discuss SF as it relates to Race.
We invite proposals for 10-20 minute scholarly paper presentations, panel discussions, or author readings related to the topic of race and Science Fiction. Please send a 250-word abstract with title, brief professional bio, and contact information to Jason Ellis (email@example.com) by September 30, 2020. Topics with a connection to race and Science Fiction might include but are certainly not limited to:
Histories of race and Science Fiction.
Representation of race in Science Fiction.
Representation of writers of color in the Science Fiction field.
Inclusion or exclusion of readers and fans due to race.
Issues of identity, including race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, etc.
Subgenres and movements, such as Afrofuturism, Black science fiction, Indigenous Futurism, and speculative fiction by writers of color.
Race, Science Fiction, and Music, such as Sun Ra, George Clinton, Janelle Monáe, and Outkast.
Race and Comic Books
Engagement with civil rights movements in Science Fiction explicitly or metaphorically.
Pedagogical approaches to teaching race and Science Fiction or teaching about race with Science Fiction.
Due to the uncertainty in the months ahead, the symposium will be held online using a combination of pre-recorded video lectures hosted on the web and real-time interactive discussion on the scheduled day of the symposium using widely available video conferencing software.
The event is sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.
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. It is in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library (Library Building, L543C, New York City College of Technology, 300 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201). More information about the collection and how to access it is available here: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech/librarycollection/.
On Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020, Prof. Jason Ellis gave a guest lecture in the Modern Physics (PHYS 2443ID) class. You can watch it above. The topic is science fiction in which physics is important and fundamental to the story. In relation to this, he will discuss:
City Tech biochemistry adjunct instructor Olga Miroshnychenko and her husband, computer programmer Flash Sheridan organized an afternoon event at City Tech to celebrate the centennial of Isaac Asimov’s birthday. Event details, videos, and audio recordings are included below.
This meetup celebrated the hundredth birthday of the science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. It took place on Saturday January 4th at 2pm, at the New York City College of Technology (home of Science Fiction at City Tech), in room A105 in the Academic Building, 285 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Our thanks to City Tech for hosting us, and to Professor Jason Ellis and Dean Justin Vazquez-Poritz for their support.
Andrew Porter, Hugo-award winning news magazine editor. He may be familiar to New York fandom for his fanzines and semi-prozines Algol, Starship, S.F. Weekly, and Science Fiction Chronicle. He was assistant editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, associate editor at Lancer Books, on the central committee of the 1967 Worldcon (NYCon 3), and Fan Guest of Honor at the 1990 Worldcon, ConFiction.
Mark Noonan, my colleague in the English Department at City Tech, is running an NEH Summer Institute on the topic, “City of Print: New York and the Periodical Press.” I’ll be contributing to the Digital Methods Workshop on Wednesday, June 24 with my experience working on the City Tech Science Fiction Collection and using digital tools to make archival materials available to students and researchers. See the link below for all the sessions and apply to join us in Brooklyn!
City of Print: New York and the Periodical Press
(NEH SUMMER INSTITUTE) (June 21 – July 3, 2020)
New York City College of Technology-CUNY will host a two-week NEH Summer Institute for college and university faculty in the summer of 2020 (June 21 – July 3).
Applications to participate will be accepted via our online application system until March 1, 2020.
The Institute will focus on periodicals, place, and the history of publishing in New York. As an institute participant, you will take part in discussions led by cultural historians, archivists, and experts in the fields of American literature, art and urban history, and periodical studies; participate in hands-on sessions in the periodicals collection of the New-York Historical Society; visit sites important to the rise of New York’s periodical press, such as Newspaper Row, Gramercy Park, the New York Seaport, the East Village, and the Algonquin Hotel; and attend Digital Humanities workshops.
You will also be asked to read a rich body of scholarship and consider new interdisciplinary approaches for researching and teaching periodicals that take into account the important site of their production, as well as relevant cultural, technological, aesthetic, and historical considerations. Sessions will be held across New York City including New York City College of Technology, the Brooklyn Historical Society, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Pace University, and the New-York Historical Society.
We encourage applicants from any field who are interested in the subject matter. Scholars and teachers specializing in periodical studies, journalism, urban history, art history, American studies, literature, and/or cultural studies will find the Institute especially attractive.
Independent scholars, scholars engaged in museum work or full-time graduate studies are also urged to apply.
It was a great success! We had over 100 attendees comprised of scholars, writers, editors, fans, and City Tech students and faculty. The partnership between Analog Science Fiction and Fact and City Tech helped the event grow and reach new audiences, and the combination of scholarly presentations, an editors’ roundtable, and writers events–a writers’ roundtable and the keynote by SF writer Mike Flynn made the event speak in powerful and engaging ways to the many different attendees.
For folks who couldn’t make it to the symposium, we’re carrying on the conversation asynchronously online by making videos of each session and Q&A available on YouTube. Wherever you might talk about the symposium, please use these hashtags to help us engage and track the ongoing discussion: #CityTechSF and #AnalogSF90th.
Julie Bradford, a Graphic Design Intern in City Tech’s Faculty Commons, designed the posters for this year’s and last year’s Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium. Prof. Jason Ellis asked her the following questions about the process and tools that she uses to create her art, and he asked her about her relationship to Science Fiction in general.
(1) Julie, you designed the posters for the third and fourth City Tech Science Fiction Symposia. Considering the Frankenstein-themed poster for last year’s symposium, what inspired you to make the poster artwork for the third symposium? What was your design process like to create this poster recognizing the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking novel?
The Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction poster designed by Julie Bradford.
The main inspiration came from wanting to present a scene everyone familiar with Dr. Frankenstein’s monster know about: the moment he comes to life. I spent some time analyzing the good Doctor’s lab from the 1931 film and sketching up a few designs that would best convey the scene. I wanted to use as few colors as possible with a dark overtone to really set that feeling of terror.
(2) This year, you designed a very different kind of poster for the 4th Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium celebrating the 90th anniversary of Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine. What inspired you to design this poster? What was your design process like on this poster? Did this poster encourage your development as an artist, and if so, how? What, if any, movies, video games, music, or stories provide you with ideas that you incorporated and transformed into this poster?
I had ZERO ideas even though I was excited to design another poster for an anniversary event! All I knew was wanting the poster to resemble an Analog cover. The concept ideas didn’t start to formulate until after I received all the Analog references from you. After reading a few of the provided works, mocking up a few designs and going back-and-forth with you, the final concept came through— which is what we see now! This poster was very different from what I made for last year’s symposium, and even my own current works. The concept pushed me to try new things, one of them was to tell a visual story in one go, no panels with dialogue to help.
The Fourth City Tech Science Fiction Symposium Poster by Julie Bradford.
(3) More generally, what is your design workflow? From generating ideas to drafting to finalizing, how do you create your art and what tools do you use?
First is always the research, from any physical to digital items, movies, shows, written works, etc. What helps the most is talking the idea over with others, especially those who asked for the poster be made. I start off with analog tools: pencil and paper. Once the sketch is approved and solid, I move onto digital with my trusty iPad and the Procreate app. Once the illustration is complete, I import it over to Illustrator where the overall design has been laid out.
(4) Turning to thinking about your relationship to the tools that you use as an artist, do you think of yourself as a cyborg–a being whose existence is mediated by technology? How about being a cyborg in a larger sense thanks to modern digital technologies, such as smartphones, email, social media, streaming, etc.?
Funnily enough, I was thinking of this concept recently about how dependent I am on my digital tools, from my tablet to my desktop to even my video game consoles. There was once a time when I needed none of that but now I can’t imagine going a day without using them. I do not think of myself as a cyborg per se— at least not like Cyborg from DC comics. Perhaps more of a cyborg-lite?
(5) Finally, as a science fiction fan, what do you recommend folks check out? It can be anything SF-related: movies, video games, tv shows, literature, music, apps, etc.
BLACK MIRROR! And the original Twilight Zone. Classics are classics for a reason!
Julie Bradford is a BFA in Communication Design Management student at City Tech who has a strong background in illustration. When she is not distracted by cute and shiny things or busy drawing up comic adventures with her Pokemon Go buddies, she is focused on her schoolwork and catching up on her shows. While completing her BFA, she is working as a graphic design intern for City Tech’s Faculty Commons. See her in-progress work online here: https://www.instagram.com/_saltyjules/.
Librarian Morris Hounion and the City Tech Library’s Exhibit Committee were kind enough to offer us all four entrance displays–the large display outside the library and the three smaller displays inside the library’s entrance.
The exhibits were a collaboration between City Tech and Analog Science Fiction and Fact. City Tech Student Design Intern Julie Bradford created the symposium poster, Prof. Ellis designed posters on the City Tech Science Fiction Collection and the history of the City Tech Science Fiction Symposium, Analog designed posters highlighting the symposium speakers, a timeline of the magazine’s long history, and Analog supplied the cover artwork that fills in the background of each display case. Artifacts in each case were pulled from the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, including the Jan. 1934 issue of Astounding.
Main Display case highlighting the 4th Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium in celebration of 90 years of Analog SF.
Display case highlighting the published work of speakers at the 4th annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.
Display case highlighting the history of the annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.
Display case highlighting the City Tech Science Fiction Collection.
The OpenLab at City Tech:A place to learn, work, and share
The OpenLab is an open-source, digital platform designed to support teaching and learning at City Tech (New York City College of Technology), and to promote student and faculty engagement in the intellectual and social life of the college community.
The OpenLab at City Tech:A place to learn, work, and share
The OpenLab is an open-source, digital platform designed to support teaching and learning at City Tech (New York City College of Technology), and to promote student and faculty engagement in the intellectual and social life of the college community.