Category Archives: symposia and conferences

CFP, 200 Years of Interdisciplinarity Beginning with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 1831 edition.

I’m pleased to announce the call for papers for the Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction!

Details about this year’s theme, the date of the symposium, and the deadline for paper proposals (Oct. 31, 2018) are all below.

200 Years of Interdisciplinarity Beginning with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Third Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction

 

Date and Time: Tuesday, November 27, 2018. 9:00am-5:00pm

Location: New York City College of Technology, 300 Jay St., Namm N119, Brooklyn, NY

 

“So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”

–Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1831 edition)

“Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

–Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Jurassic Park (1993)

Ian Malcolm’s admonition above is as much a rebuke to the lasting echo of Victor Frankenstein’s ambition to accomplish “more, far more” as it is to park owner John Hammond’s explaining, “Our scientists have done things no one could ever do before.” Films like Jurassic Park and the kind of literature that came to be known as Science Fiction (SF) owe a tremendous debt to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818). In addition to being an (if not the) inaugural work of SF, Mary Shelley builds her cautionary tale around interdisciplinary approaches to science, and she takes this innovation further by applying the humanities to question the nature of being in the world, the effects of science on society, and the ethical responsibilities of scientists. These are only some of Frankenstein’s groundbreaking insights, which as Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove observe in Trillion Year Spree (1986), “is marvellously good and inexhaustible in its interest” (20). The many dimensions of interdisciplinarity in Frankenstein and the SF that followed are the focus of the Third Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.

In this special anniversary year of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, join us for a one-day symposium discussing interdisciplinarity and SF. Continuing conversations began in the earlier symposia, we seek to investigate SF’s power as an extrapolating art form with interdisciplinarity at its core, including interdisciplinarity within STEM fields and the interdisciplinary synergy of STEM and the humanities.

We invite presentations of 15-20 minutes on SF and interdisciplinarity. Papers on or connected to Frankenstein are particularly encouraged. Possible presentation topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and interdisciplinarity (focusing on research questions or teaching approaches)
  • Explorations of interdisciplinary ideas, approaches, and themes in SF (or what disciplinary boundaries does SF bridge)
  • SF as an interdisciplinary teaching tool (or what SF have you used or want to use in your classes to achieve interdisciplinary outcomes)
  • SF’s interdisciplinary imaginative functions (or Gedankenexperiment, considering ethical issues, unintended consequences, or unexpected breakthroughs)
  • Studying SF through an interdisciplinary lens (or combining otherwise discipline-bound approaches to uncover new meanings)
  • Bridging STEM and the humanities via SF (or SF as an interdisciplinary cultural work that embraces STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics)
  • SF and identity (or how interdisciplinarity in SF reveals, supports, or explores issues of identity, culture, sex, gender, and race)
  • SF and place (or how SF’s settings are interdisciplinary, or where it is written fosters its interdisciplinarity)
  • Interdisciplinarity and archival work in SF collections (or making the City Tech Science Fiction Collection work for faculty, students, and researchers across disciplines)

Please send your abstract (no more than 250 words), brief bio, and contact information to Jason Ellis (jellis@citytech.cuny.edu) by Oct. 31, 2018.

The program will be announced by Nov. 12, 2018 on the Science Fiction at City Tech website here: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech/.

Hosted 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 located 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/.

Prof. Lavelle Porter Speaks on Teaching and Samuel R. Delany at SFRA 2018

English Professor Lavelle Porter will discuss his Fall 2017 English 3403: One Major Writer class on the SF writer Samuel R. Delany at an upcoming roundtable panel on “Reimagining Race and Racism through SF” at this year’s annual meeting of the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) held at Marquette University from July 1-4, 2018. The SFRA is the oldest professional organization devoted to the research and teaching of SF, and its annual meeting attracts an international audience of scholars. Full details of Prof. Porter’s roundtable are below, and the full conference schedule is available here.

Monday, July 2, 2018, 2:00-3:30pm
ROUNDTABLE: REIMAGINING RACE AND RACISM THROUGH SF
Moderator: Andrew Hageman, Luther College
Stina Attebery
Novian Whitsitt
Lavelle Porter
Isiah Lavender III

“In Search of Samuel R. Delany”

In this presentation I will discuss my experiences in the Fall of 2017 when I taught a course at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY on the work of Samuel R. Delany. The course was part of my department’s “English 3403: One Major Writer” series, and it was also related to ongoing initiatives in science fiction and pedagogy at City Tech. The Ursula C. Schwerin Library at City Tech recently acquired an archive of science fiction material, and our English department regularly offers courses on science fiction. My course was titled “Samuel R. Delany: Science Fiction and the City,” and it was organized as an introduction to Delany’s writing in science fiction and other genres, including criticism, memoir, and literary fiction. The main texts included Aye, and Gomorrah, Babel-17, and Atlantis: Model 1924. This ended up being a small course with six students. As a college with a vocational and technical focus, none of the students in the course were English majors, and none of them had heard of the writer before the class. We discussed Delany’s role in the development of Afrofuturism, his family’s background in Harlem, his writing on queer life before and after Stonewall, and the significance of the city as a concept in his work. The semester was capped off with a public reading by Delany who was the keynote speaker for our second annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.

Lavelle Porter is an Assistant Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. He holds a B.A. in history from Morehouse College, and a Ph. D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center. His writing has appeared in venues such as The New Inquiry, Poetry Foundation, Callaloo and JSTOR Daily, and he is a regular contributor to Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society. He is currently working on a book titled The Blackademic Life: Academic Fiction, Higher Education and the Black Intellectual.

Videos of 2nd Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium

Below are videos of the presentations made at the 2nd Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Extrapolation, Interdisciplinarity, and Learning held on Dec. 6, 2017. They are included in the order from the program with the last video being the very special keynote address by Samuel R. Delany. If you’d like to watch all these as a playlist on YouTube, follow this link.

Program for the 2nd Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium, Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017, 9:00am-6:00pm

Poster for Second City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.

Event poster by Marlon Palmer.

 

Extrapolation, Interdisciplinarity, and Learning

 

The Second Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction

 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Keynote Speaker: Samuel R. Delany

Organizing Committee: Jason W. Ellis and A. Lavelle Porter.

Hosted by the School of Arts and Sciences at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.

 

Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise—even in their own field. How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. . . . That is all wrong. . . . If we go through the history of human advance, we find that there are many places where art and science intermingled and where an advance in one was impossible without an advance in the other.

–Isaac Asimov, A Roving Mind (1983)

Over twenty years after C. P. Snow published The Two Cultures, the unparalleled writer, scientist, and educator Isaac Asimov defends the “interconnection” between the sciences and the arts. In fact, he demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinarity—both within STEM fields as well as between STEM and the humanities—through his unsurpassed 500+ books ranging from Biblical scholarship to biochemistry, and science to science fiction. He shows how disciplines inform and strengthen one another to create greater knowledge and wisdom, which in turn leads to greater understanding and new insights. While significant strides have been made in promoting interdisciplinarity, Asimov’s defense continues to echo today.

This symposium explores SF in the spirit of Asimov’s defense by exploring interdisciplinarity through the lens of science fiction—a mediating ‘third culture’ (borrowing Snow’s term) that combines the sciences and the humanities to extrapolate new worlds while reflecting on our own. Together, we aim to uncover science fiction’s interdisciplinary roots as a literary form, lens for research, and pedagogical approach.

 


Schedule

 

9:00AM-9:15AM

Opening Remarks

Location: Namm 119

Justin Vazquez-Poritz, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, New York City College of Technology

Jason W. Ellis, New York City College of Technology

 

9:15AM-10:50AM

Session 1: Knowledge, Language, and Computing

Location: Namm 119

Moderator: Lucas Kwong

Aaron Barlow, “Crashing Discipline: How Philip K. Dick Expanded Conversation”

Jill Belli, “Composing Resistance: Writing and Revision in Science Fiction Texts”

Johannah Rodgers, “The Genealogy of an Image, or, What Does Literature (Not) Have To Do With the History of Computing?: Tracing the Sources and Reception of Gulliver’s ‘Knowledge Engine’”

Jessica Roman, “‘Any direction might as well be forward’: An examination of the Science, Technology, Linguistics and Philosophy of Ted Chiang’s The Story of Your Life

 

10:50AM-11:00AM

Break

 

11:00AM-12:20PM

Session 2: Exploring Boundaries and Possibilities

Location: Namm 119

Moderator: Sean Scanlan

Leigh Dara Gold, “Ursula K Le Guin’s ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’ as Interdisciplinary Gedankenexperiment”

Adam Heidebrink-Bruno, “Structural Violence of Late Capitalism and the Limiting of Radical Imagination”

Kimon Keramidas, “Science Fiction: Humanity, Technology, the Present, the Future”

 

12:20AM-1:30PM

Lunch

 

1:30PM-2:20PM

Session 3: An Epic Entanglement in the Glorious World of Science Fiction: Panel Discussion About NEH-Funded “Cultural History of Digital Technology”

Location: Namm 119

Moderator: Jill Belli

Sandra Cheng, Anne Leonhardt, Satyanand Singh, and Peter Spillane

 

2:20PM-2:30PM

Break

 

2:30PM-3:50PM

Session 4: Science, Fiction, and Ethics

Location: Namm 119

Moderator: Aaron Barlow

Marleen S. Barr, “‘You Never Would Believe Where the Keebler Cookies
Come From . . . They’re Baked In Magic Ovens, and There’s No
Factory’: Ecological Plant-Based Urban Planning Makes Eleanor Cameron’s The Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet Real”

Anastasia Klimchynskaya, “Imaginative Possibility, Virtual Laboratories, and Communal Spaces: Science Fiction and the History of Experimental Science”

Sharon Packer, “Luke Cage Comics and Race-Based Unethical Medical Experiments”

 

3:50PM-4:00PM

Break

 

4:00PM-5:00PM

Keynote Address by Samuel R. Delany

Location: Namm 119

Introduction: Syed Ahmed

 

5:00PM-5:15PM

Break

 

5:15PM-6:00PM

Oral History of the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, and Book Signing with Samuel R. Delany

Location: Atrium 543C, Library Archives, Enter the library on the fourth floor of the Atrium Building, walk up to the fifth floor inside the library, walk to the left past the stacks, and turn left again.

Keith Muchowski, College Archivist, New York City College of Technology

Jason W. Ellis, New York City College of Technology


 

Symposium Speakers

Syed Ahmed is an Associate in Science (AS) in Liberal Arts and Sciences student at New York City College of Technology. He is currently enrolled in Professor A. Lavelle Porter’s ENG 3403, One Major Writer: Samuel R. Delany class.

Aaron Barlow teaches English at New York City College of Technology and has written often on Philip K. Dick.

Marleen S. Barr is known for her pioneering work in feminist science fiction and teaches English at the City University of New York. She has won the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Barr is the author of Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist Theory, Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond, Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction, and Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. Barr has edited many anthologies and co-edited the science fiction issue of PMLA. She is the author of the novels Oy Pioneer! and Oy Feminist Planets: A Fake Memoir.

Jill Belli, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and Co-Director of the OpenLab, the college’s open-source digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaborating. Jill teaches and researches utopian studies and science fiction, collaborates on a digital science fiction project, the Futures Past Archive, and serves on the Steering Committee and as the web developer for the Society for Utopian Studies. She is currently working on a book about happiness and well-being in education.

Sandra Cheng is an Assistant Professor of Art History at New York City College of Technology. Her research interests include seventeenth-century art and theory; the history of collecting, drawing and studio practice; history of monstrosity in the Renaissance and Baroque; comics and caricature; and women photographers of the early twentieth century. She is a Project Co-Director of the NEH-funded “Cultural History of Digital Technology” project.

Samuel R. Delany is an influential SF writer, recognized literary critic, and retired professor. Born in 1942 and raised in Harlem, he published his first novel, The Jewels of Aptor, at the age of 20. His SF has won many of the field’s highest accolades, including: Hugo for Best Short Story (“Aye, and Gomorrah…”, 1967), Hugo and Nebula Awards (“Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones,” 1968), and Nebula Award for Best Novel (Babel-17, 1966; and The Einstein Intersection, 1967). Delany’s critical studies of SF, such as The Jewel-Hinged Jaw and Starboard Wine continue to fuel debate. For The Motion of Light in Water, he won the Hugo for Best Nonfiction. Delany is also a retired professor. He has taught as a professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, of English at SUNY Buffalo, and of English and Creative Writing at Temple University. Delany’s considerable contributions to the SF field have been recognized by the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pilgrim Award in 1985 and the J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In 2013 he was named the 31st Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master of Science Fiction by the Science Fiction Writers of America. For his lifetime contributions to LGBTQ studies he received the Kessler Award in 1997 from the CLAGS Center for LGBTQ Studies, housed at the CUNY Graduate Center.   

Jason W. Ellis is an Assistant Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, and a former Marion L. Brittain Fellow of Georgia Tech. He coedited The Postnational Fantasy: Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011). His research interests include science fiction, digital technology, and LEGO. Read about his work at dynamicsubspace.net.

Leigh Dara Gold received her doctorate in German Literature in 2011 from New York University. She teaches Introduction to Poetry and English 1121 at New York City College of Technology, and Ancient Literature and Composition at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her current research interests include science fiction’s role in the classroom, research on Ursula K. Le Guin, and connections between dance, literature, and philosophy.

Adam Heidebrink-Bruno is a graduate student in Lehigh University’s Literature and Social Justice program. He is particularly interested in how storytelling, broadly conceived, is used to mediate and influence real world events, including culture and politics. Adam’s scholarship focuses on contemporary American fiction with an emphasis on science fiction.

Kimon Keramidas is associate director and clinical assistant professor in the Center for Experimental Humanities in New York University’s Graduate School for Arts and Sciences. Kimon is a cultural historian whose research focuses on the study of media and technology through the lenses of political economy and sociology of culture. His most recent project was the exhibition The Interface Experience: Forty Years of Personal Computing which presented some of the most ubiquitous objects in the history of personal computing in tactile and interactive displays. Kimon’s research and teaching considers digital tools not only as objects of study, but also as a means for performing research and scholarship. Kimon is active in the fields of digital humanities and interactive technology and pedagogy, and has helped found and is on the editorial collective of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, and founded and is on the steering committee of New York City Digital Humanities. Read about his work at kimonkeramidas.com.

Anastasia Klimchynskaya is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, where she’s working on a dissertation on the emergence of science fiction in the 19th century. In particular, she situates the rise of the genre within the history of science, focusing on the way new scientific paradigms, modes of thought, and forms of knowledge gave rise to it, and on creating a theory of the genre based in that history. She has taught several courses on science fiction and the history of science, including “Living in a Science Fiction World,” which used sci-fi to tackle contemporary sociopolitical, legal, and technological issues. Her other intellectual interests include exploring the mechanisms through which science fiction becomes science fact, the way science fiction can be used as a tool to develop law, policy, and research agendas, and the semiotics of science fiction.

Lucas Kwong is an assistant professor of English at New York City College of Technology, where he has recently served as the coordinator for the 2016 and 2017 Literary Arts Festival Writing Competitions.  His scholarship on religion, the novel, and the fantastic includes the article “Dracula’s Apologetics of Progress,” published in a 2016 issue of Victorian Literature and Culture.  His current research project examines how, through the fantastic fiction of the late Victorian period, authors such as Bram Stoker and Rudyard Kipling reimagined their era’s fascination with religious difference.

Anne Leonhardt is an Associate Professor of Architecture at New York City College of Technology, and she is a registered architect in the State of New York. Her research, teaching, and design practice focus on the material and environmental interfaces between architectural design, form, and tectonics. Areas of expertise include associative computational design, building performance analysis, information modeling systems, fabrication, and sustainable materials and energy. She is the Project Director of the NEH-funded “Cultural History of Digital Technology” project.

Keith Muchowski is a librarian and professor at New York City College of Technology (CUNY). His areas of interest include nineteenth and twentieth century military history, the politics and culture of the Cold War, and the Roosevelt family.

Sharon Packer, MD is a physician and psychiatrist who is in private practice and is Assistant Clinical Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai. She is the author of several books that link science, psychiatry and the humanities, including Neuroscience in Science Fiction Film, Cinema’s Sinister Psychiatrists, Movies and the Modern Psyche, Superheroes & Superegos: the Minds behind the Masks; Dreams in Myth, Medicine & Movies. She edited two multi-volume books on Evil in American Popular Culture and Mental Illness in Popular Culture. She writes regular articles on “Why Psychiatrists are Physicians First” for Psychiatric Times.

A. Lavelle Porter is an Assistant Professor of English at New York City College of Technology. He holds a B.A. in history from Morehouse College and a Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center. His writing has appeared in venues such as The GC Advocate, Callaloo, The New Inquiry, Poetry Foundation, and the African American Intellectual History Society. He is currently working on a book about representations of black higher education in popular culture.

Johannah Rodgers is a writer, visual artist, and educator whose work explores issues related to representation and communication practices across media. She is the author of 52worddrawings (mimeograph, 2017), Technology: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press, 2014),  the digital fiction project, DNA (The Brooklyn Rail, 2014), and sentences (Red Dust, 2007).  Her visual works include the Excel Drawing Series and The How Much Project, which explores the intersection of aesthetics, civic literacy, and social action in relation to income inequality in the United States via digital and analog visualization tools. She teaches writing and literature courses at The City University of New York, where she is an associate professor in English at the New York City College of Technology. Read about her work at johannahrodgers.net or on Twitter @what_is_writing.

Jessica Roman is a Bachelor of Science in Applied Chemistry student at New York City College of Technology.

Sean Scanlan is an Associate Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, where he specializes in literary technologies and American and global literature. He is the founder and editor of the peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal NANO: New American Notes Online. And he recently published an article titled “Global Homesickness in William Gibson’s Blue Ant Trilogy” in a 2016 collection titled The City after 9/11.

Satyanand Singh is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at New York City College of Technology. His research interests include Number Theory, Cryptography, Probability, and Algebra. His research appears in The Electronic Journal of Combinatorics, The International Journal of Number Theory, CMJ, and the International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. He is a Project Co-Director of the NEH-funded “Cultural History of Digital Technology” project.

Peter Spellane, Ph. D., is an associate professor and member of the Chemistry department at New York City College of Technology. Recent work with City Tech colleagues includes the design and launch of new courses in environmental science (NSF support) and of three NEH-funded projects that integrate humanities with education in science and technology, “Water and Work: The Ecology of Downtown Brooklyn,” “Along the Shore, Changing and Preserving the Landmarks of the Brooklyn’s Industrial Waterfront,” and “A Cultural History of Digital Technology.” His current work concerns the history and environmental legacy of chemicals production and petroleum refining in New York City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Event Poster Designer

Marlon Palmer is a senior at New York City College of Technology where he is studying Graphic Design. He’s been a design intern at NYCCT’s Faculty Commons since 2014 where he has worked on many projects including, Scholars Exchange, Nucleus, The Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center (BWRC) Annual Conference, and City Tech’s Science Fiction Symposium. View his portfolio here: https://www.behance.net/palmerjr.

City Tech Library Exhibits on Science Fiction, Interdisciplinarity, and Samuel R. Delany

Library exhibits on Samuel R. Delany and the 2nd Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium.

LIbrary display on the City Tech Science Fiction Collection.

Prof. Jason W. Ellis installed three window displays in the entrance to City Tech’s Ursula C. Schwerin Library, where the City Tech Science Fiction Collection is housed. When entering the library, on the right are two displays: the first is on the upcoming 2nd Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Extrapolation, Interdisciplinarity, and Learning, and the second is an Author Spotlight on Samuel R. Delany, this year’s keynote speaker for the symposium. On the left side, adjacent to the circulation desk, is a display on the City Tech Science Fiction Symposium. In addition to designing posters for these displays and showing magazine covers from the collection, each exhibit has artifacts from the collection. Samuel R. Delany’s exhibit features magazines in which his fiction appears. These exhibits will be up until January 2018.

Call for Papers: Extrapolation, Interdisciplinarity, and Learning: The Second Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction [Updated: Keynote Speaker, Samuel R. Delany]

Extrapolation, Interdisciplinarity, and Learning: The Second Annual City Tech Symposium on Science Fiction

 

Date:               Wednesday, December 6, 2017

 

Location:         New York City College of Technology, 300 Jay St., Namm N119,

Brooklyn, NY

 

Keynote Speaker: Samuel R. Delany

 

            Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise—even in their own field.

How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. . . . That is all wrong. . . . If we go through the history of human advance, we find that there are many places where art and science intermingled and where an advance in one was impossible without an advance in the other.

–Isaac Asimov, A Roving Mind (1983)

 

Over twenty years after C. P. Snow published The Two Cultures, the unparalleled writer, scientist, and educator Isaac Asimov defends the “interconnection” between the sciences and the arts. In fact, he demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinarity—both within STEM fields as well as between STEM and the humanities—through his unsurpassed 500+ books ranging from Biblical scholarship to biochemistry, and science to science fiction. He shows how disciplines inform and strengthen one another to create greater knowledge and wisdom, which in turn leads to greater understanding and new insights. While significant strides have been made in promoting interdisciplinarity, Asimov’s defense continues to echo today.

 

Join us for a one-day symposium in the spirit of Asimov’s defense by exploring interdisciplinarity through the lens of science fiction—a mediating ‘third culture’ (borrowing Snow’s term) that combines the sciences and the humanities to extrapolate new worlds while reflecting on our own. This symposium aims to explore science fiction as an interdisciplinary literary form, a tool for teaching interdisciplinarity, and a cultural art form benefiting from interdisciplinary research approaches.

 

We invite presentations of 15-20 minutes on SF and interdisciplinarity. Possible presentation topics include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Explorations of interdisciplinary ideas, approaches, and themes in SF (or what disciplinary boundaries does SF bridge)
  • SF as an interdisciplinary teaching tool (or what SF have you used or want to use in your classes to achieve interdisciplinary outcomes)
  • SF’s interdisciplinary imaginative functions (or Gedankenexperiment, considering ethical issues, unintended consequences, or unexpected breakthroughs)
  • Studying SF through an interdisciplinary lens (or combining otherwise discipline-bound approaches to uncover new meanings)
  • Bridging STEM and the humanities via SF (or SF as an interdisciplinary cultural work that embraces STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics)
  • SF and place (or how SF’s settings are interdisciplinary, or where it is written fosters its interdisciplinarity)
  • Interdisciplinarity and archival work in SF collections (or making the City Tech Science Fiction Collection work for faculty, students, and researchers across disciplines)

 

Please send your abstract (no more than 250 words), brief bio, and contact information to Jason Ellis (jellis@citytech.cuny.edu) by Oct. 31, 2017.

 

The program will be announced by Nov. 15, 2017 on the Science Fiction at City Tech website here: https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech/.

 

Hosted by the School of Arts and Sciences at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY.

 

The annual 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 located in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library (Atrium Building, A543C, 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/.

Symposium on Amazing Stories was a Great Success!

Student Roundtable Session. Photo by Jason Ellis.

Student Roundtable Session. Photo by Jason Ellis.

On Tuesday, November 29, over 70 attendees and presenters gathered at City Tech to celebrate the new City Tech Science Fiction Collection and discuss the importance of science fiction as a method for understanding the effect of science and technology on humanity, a pedagogical tool in writing, history, and interdisciplinary learning environments, and a medium for understanding our place in the world, imagining different possible worlds, and conceptualizing new paths forward–including career paths. In addition to presenters from City Tech, there were speakers from City University of New York, Columbia University, Winthrop Group, Yale University, and York College. Very importantly, the City Tech Science Fiction Collection’s initiator and former City Tech professor, Alan Lovegreen flew out from California where he now teaches at Orange Coast College. A roundtable of City Tech students closed out the presentation portion of the symposium, and we ended the day with a presentation on the acquisition of the City Tech Science Fiction Collection and a tour of the archives. It was a full day of conversation, learning, and sharing. Its success points the way toward the next symposium to be held next year. Last but not least, the Symposium on Amazing Stories Organizing Committee–Profs. Jason W. Ellis (chair), Aaron Barlow, Jill Belli, and Mary Nilles wish to thank everyone who took part in the symposium and the many people–administrators, colleagues, and students–who made the event such an enjoyable and meaningful event!

Prof. Jason Ellis welcoming everyone. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Prof. Jason Ellis welcoming everyone. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Dean of School of Arts and Sciences Justin Vazquez-Poritz opening the symposium. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Dean of School of Arts and Sciences Justin Vazquez-Poritz opening the symposium. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Alan Lovegreen presenting on Hugo Gernsback and air wonder stories. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Alan Lovegreen presenting on Hugo Gernsback and air wonder stories. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Grant Wythoff presenting. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Grant Wythoff presenting. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Sean Scanlan presenting on William Gibson, Pattern Recognition, and Collecting to a full audience. Photo by Jason Ellis.

Sean Scanlan presenting on William Gibson, Pattern Recognition, and Collecting to a full audience. Photo by Jason Ellis.

R to L: Jason Ellis, Leigh Dara Gold, Johannah Rodgers, and Daniel Phelps. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

R to L: Jason Ellis, Leigh Dara Gold, Johannah Rodgers, and Daniel Phelps. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

L to R: A. Lavelle Porter, Stephen Chambers, and Jill Belli. Photo by Jason W. Ellis.

L to R: A. Lavelle Porter, Stephen Chambers, and Jill Belli. Photo by Jason W. Ellis.

Jill Belli (2nd from left) moderates the student roundtable. Photo by Jason Ellis.

Jill Belli (2nd from left) moderates the student roundtable. Photo by Jason Ellis.

Touring the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. Photo by Jason Ellis.

Touring the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. Photo by Jason Ellis.

Prof. Jason Ellis describing the collection. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Prof. Jason Ellis describing the collection. Photo by Sean Scanlan.

Symposium on Amazing Stories: Inspiration, Learning, and Adventure in Science Fiction, Tues. Nov. 29, 9am-5pm, Namm 119, Schedule

fc_services_symposium-on-amazing-stories_11_29_16_draft_1

Poster designed by Marlon Palmer.

Symposium on Amazing Stories: Inspiration, Learning, and Adventure in Science Fiction

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 9am-5pm

Namm 119

Everyone is invited to the Symposium on Amazing Stories: Inspiration, Learning, and Adventure in Science Fiction. Join us on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 9:00am-5:00pm in Namm 119 (City Tech, 300 Jay St., Brooklyn) for a symposium exploring SF as a medium for engaging imagination, a means for exploring STEM/STEAM fields, and an instrument for discovering interdisciplinary connections, and also celebrating the new City Tech Science Fiction Collection held in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library. The tentative schedule is included below (the final program will be posted as soon as possible).

Schedule

 

9:00AM-9:15AM

Registration and Coffee

 

 

9:15AM-9:30AM

Opening Remarks

Justin Vazquez-Poritz, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, New York City College of Technology

Jason W. Ellis, New York City College of Technology

 

 

9:30AM-10:45AM

Session 1: History of/and Science Fiction

Moderator: Aaron Barlow, New York City College of Technology

Jason W. Ellis, New York City College of Technology, “Engagement, Learning and Inspiration in SF: Use Cases for the City Tech Science Fiction Collection”

Alan Lovegreen, Orange Coast College, “Hugo Gernsback, Interdisciplinarity, and Wonder Stories

Sean Scanlan, New York City College of Technology, “William Gibson’s Dead Tech Collection: Characters, Narratives, Time”

Grant Wythoff, Columbia University, “Hugo Gernsback and the Origins of Science Fiction”

 

 

10:45AM-11:00AM

Break

 

 

11:00AM-12:15AM

Session 2: Science Fiction Teaching Strategies

Moderator: Johannah Rodgers, New York City College of Technology

Leigh Dara Gold, New York City College of Technology, “Exploring Human Experience with Ursula K. Le Guin and Ray Bradbury”

Amanda Lerner, Yale University, “Bridging Cultures with Russian Science Fiction”

Daniel Phelps, York College, “Building and Hacking: Keeping Up-To-Date with Science Fiction”

Johannah Rodgers, New York City College of Technology, “Todorov and the Incredible Hulk, or Exploring the Roles and Definitions of Fiction Across the Disciplines”

 

 

12:15AM-1:30PM

Lunch

 

 

1:30PM-2:45PM

Session 3: Science Fiction Contexts

Moderator: Sean Scanlan, New York City College of Technology

Marleen S. Barr, City University of New York, “Why Science Fiction Is Pertinent to Black Children’s Literature Pedagogy”

Jill Belli, New York City College of Technology, “Teaching Science Fiction, Utopian, and Dystopian Literatures at City Tech”

Stephen Chambers, Winthrop Group, “Reading the Future to Bring the Past into the Present: Why Science Fiction Makes Better Historians”

A. Lavelle Porter, New York City College of Technology, “Samuel Delany’s The Motion of Light in Water and SF Publishing”

 

 

2:45PM-3:00PM

Break

 

 

3:00PM-4:00PM

Session 4: Science Fiction in and beyond the Classrooms: A Student Roundtable

Moderator: Jill Belli, New York City College of Technology

Participants:    Joselin Campoverde

Pellegrino Cioffi

Andrew Dutt

Eugene Espineuva

Aleksanor Samoylov

Shiasja Simeon Prince

Moises Taveras

Cody Tony-Griffith

Gabriel Vega

 

 

4:00PM-4:15PM

Break

 

 

4:15PM-5:00PM

Library Archives

Location: Enter the library on the fourth floor of the Atrium Building, walk up to the fifth floor inside the library, walk to the left past the stacks, and turn left again.

Keith Muchowski, College Archivist, New York City College of Technology

Jason W. Ellis, New York City College of Technology

 

 

 

 

Symposium Speakers

 

Marleen S. Barr is known for her pioneering work in feminist science fiction and teaches English at the City University of New York. She has won the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Barr is the author of Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist Theory, Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond, Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction, and Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. Barr has edited many anthologies and co-edited the science fiction issue of PMLA. She is the author of the novels Oy Pioneer! and Oy Feminist Planets: A Fake Memoir.

 

Jill Belli, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and Co-Director of the OpenLab, the college’s open-source digital platform for teaching, learning, and collaborating. Jill is active in utopian studies and science fiction, and she regularly designs/teaches courses, presents at conferences, and produces scholarship in these areas. She is collaborating on a digital science fiction project, the Futures Past Archive, and serves on the Steering Committee, the Teaching Committee, and as the web developer for the Society for Utopian Studies. She is also a founding member and developer of the Writing Studies Tree, an online, open-access, interactive academic genealogy for the field of writing studies. Her interdisciplinary research centers on utopian studies, positive psychology/happiness studies, writing studies, digital humanities, and education/pedagogy, and her current book project, Pedagogies of Happiness, explores their intersections.

 

Stephen Chambers is the author of works of science fiction and fantasy such as Jane and the Raven King (Sourcebooks, 2010), as well as business and history, including most recently No God But Gain: The Untold Story of Cuban Slavery, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Making of the United States (New York: Verso Books, 2015). He is a senior consultant and the deputy manager of the History Division at the Winthrop Group.

 

Jason W. Ellis is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, and a former Marion L. Brittain Fellow of Georgia Tech. He coedited The Postnational Fantasy: Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011). His research interests include science fiction, digital technology, and LEGO.

 

Leigh Dara Gold received her doctorate in German Literature in 2011 from New York University. Since then, she has been teaching English at CUNY colleges and History at New Jersey City University. Some of her research interests include the interconnections between dance and literature, science fiction and sadism, and the question of intimacy in poetry.

 

Amanda Lerner is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. She specializes in science fiction as both a genre and a mode. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “In Dialogue with The Future: Time Travel in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian Fiction,” focuses on how a traditionally generic device, such as time travel, can complicate and supercede the generic distinction of ‘science fiction.’ Her research interests also include Balkan/Yugoslav literature, (re)identification of the formation of nationhood in the post-Yugoslav context, the interplay between American and Soviet science fiction, and dystopian literature as reimagination and recontextualization of the present.

 

Alan Lovegreen’s research covers intersections of literature and technoculture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a focus on aerofuturism in discourses of race, posthumanism, the built environment, and ecological futures. He has published essays in Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the ArtsParadoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres, La Torre di Babele: Rivista di Letteratura e Linguistica, The Eaton Journal of Archival Research in Science Fiction, and The Steinbeck Review. He is currently working on an edited anthology of aerial fiction.  Alan teaches at Orange Coast College, having formerly taught at New York City College of Technology.

 

Daniel Phelps is an integrated media artist and filmmaker in New York City. His work consists of various forms of non-fiction media specializing in the use of hi-technology for digital storytelling. His linear work has been seen on NBC Sports, The Tennis Channel, and cable networks across the country. More recently, his feature-length documentary, The Domino Effect, advocates for fair housing and informed urban planning in New York City. Daniel holds a B.A. in Mass Media Communication from The California State University Sacramento as well as a M.F.A. in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College. Through grant funding, he participated in the 2015 and 2016 Robotic Mining Competitions and the NASA Swarmathon. His current focus of research consists of the use of drones, robotics, virtual reality and other forms of digital fabrication as commercial and artistic tools.
A. Lavelle Porter is an Assistant Professor of English at City Tech. He holds a B.A. in history from Morehouse College and a Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center. His writing has appeared in venues such as The GC Advocate, Callaloo, The New Inquiry, Poetry Foundation, and the African American Intellectual History Society. He is currently working on a book about representations of black higher education in popular culture.

 

Johannah Rodgers is an Associate Professor in English at the City University of New York’s New York City College of Technology and the Director of City Tech’s First Year Writing Program.  She is the author of Technology: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press, 2014), the digital fiction project DNA (mimeograph/The Brooklyn Rail, 2014), and the book sentences (Red Dust, 2007). Her short stories, essays, and book reviews have been published in Fence, Bookforum, and The Brooklyn Rail, where she is a contributing editor.

 

Sean Scanlan is Assistant Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, where he specializes in literary technologies and American and global literature. He is the founder and editor of the peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal NANO: New American Notes Online. And he recently published an article titled “Global Homesickness in William Gibson’s Blue Ant Trilogy” in a 2016 collection titled The City after 9/11.

 

Grant Wythoff is a Digital Methods and Public Humanities Fellow at Columbia University interested in the history and theory of media technologies, twentieth century American literature, the history of method in the humanities, and science fiction.  His book The Perversity of Things: Hugo Gernsback on Media, Tinkering, and Scientifiction was published in the University of Minnesota Press’s Electronic Mediations series, and will be a pilot project for their Manifold Scholarship interactive book platform.  His next book project is a cultural history of the gadget from nineteenth-century nautical techniques to the twenty-first century smartphone.  Grant has published essays in Grey Room, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, Media Fields, Wi: Journal of Mobile Media, and The Programming Historian.

Profs. Barlow, Ellis, and Noonan Present at James Madison University’s First Pulp Studies Symposium

jmu-pulp-studies

On Oct. 7, 2016, Professors Aaron Barlow (in absentia, read by Jason Ellis), Mark Noonan, and Jason Ellis led a full paper session devoted to the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. Prof. Barlow presented on the collection’s acquisition, its original collector, and its importance to the materiality of education that we do at City Tech. Prof. Noonan presented on pulp publishing history in New York City and how it relates to the magazine holdings in the collection. Finally, Prof. Ellis presented on how he has used the collection pedagogically for students (removing readings from the abstraction of anthologization) and for faculty (using SF as a bridge between the humanities and STEM fields). Below are photos taken by Prof. Caroline Hellman of the session.

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