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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/.

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/.

Call for Papers: NANO New American Notes Online Issue 12 on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

tfa-cast-falcon

NANO New American Notes Online is an online, peer-reviewed journal edited by Prof. Sean Scanlan and supported by the New York City College of Technology, CUNY. Prof. Jason Ellis is on NANO’s editorial board. Together with their colleague Prof. Alan Lovegreen of Orange Coast College, they are co-editing an upcoming special issue focused on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Their call for papers is included below and the original CFP is available on the NANO website.

Call for Papers: NANO New American Notes Online Issue 12 on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Deadline: February 1, 2017

 

Special Issue: Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Narrative, Characters, Media, and Event

 

Guest Editors: Jason W. Ellis, Alan Lovegreen, and Sean Scanlan

 

This thing [Star Wars] communicates. It is in a language that is talking to young people today, and that’s marvelous.

–Joseph Campbell in conversation with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth (1988)

 

There are certainly many more themes in The Force Awakens that speak to us, and help us to learn more about these characters and what makes them tick.

–Dan Zehr, “Studying Skywalkers” column on starwars.com (May 18, 2016)

 

It is the aim of this special issue of NANO to address the significance of the latest installment of Star Wars by exploring its narrative, characters, media, and event. Across nearly four decades, audiences spanning generations have experienced Star Wars through films, television programs, books, video games, special events such as the annual “celebrations,” and other storytelling media, including action figures and LEGO. Following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, George Lucas’ production company, audiences experienced a new transmedia event and a continuation of the old stories with the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in 2015. Joseph Campbell’s earlier observations about the first film raises new questions that deserve to be answered about the latest: How does this new film communicate? What language does it use? And, to whom is it speaking?

 

One way to approach these issues of communication and language is through the convergence of the film’s narrative and characters, especially how the transmission of this convergence gets revealed through a variety of media as an event. For example, how does the film’s narrative respond to, continue, and challenge those that it follows? And what about the cast of characters—some returning and some new? What do these characters and their performance of the narrative have to say about the here-and-now as well as the past? Of course, the narrative is told through media, which includes different film technologies, digital distribution, DVD and Blu-Ray discs, websites, video games, and apps. And stepping back for a larger perspective, the release of the film and its transmedia supporting elements inform The Force Awakens as an event, in part orchestrated by Disney/Lucasfilm, and in part connected to contemporary events, including #oscarssowhite, #womeninfilm, and #paygap. Furthermore, how does its event(s) relate to those of the past, including specifically those centered on the release of the earlier films and subsequent events awakening fans’ nostalgic enthusiasm. The Force Awakens’ considerable box office performance and tie-in successes signal how significant this film (and its progenitors) is, and it is the aim of this special issue to explore the promise and pitfalls of its cultural influence.

 

This issue welcomes multimodal essays up to 4,000 words (excluding works cited) exploring topics relating to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including but not limited to the following:

 

* transmedia storytelling and The Force Awakens (including “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” publications, such as Chuck Wendig’s novel, Star Wars: Aftermath, and comic books Star Wars: Shattered Empire and Star Wars: Poe Dameron

* media transformation and adaptation (e.g., comparing the film with Alan Dean Foster’s novelization)

* materiality and The Force Awakens (e.g., LEGO, play, and collecting)

* Star Wars fandom and cosplay

* Star Wars reference materials and publications

* starwars.com and the official Star Wars app

* Star Wars videogames including LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars Battlefront, and the now defunct Disney Infinity tie-ins

* Jakku Spy VR experience

* Star Wars Celebration and ComicCon special events

* social and political movements’ coinciding/connecting with The Force Awakens

* the hero’s journey and the heroes’ journeys

* movement and storytelling

* vehicles as characters

* nostalgia and familiarity

* inclusive casting/characters

* droids and aliens

* hidden bodies/cgi characters (e.g., Maz Kanata/ Lupita Nyong’o and Captain Phasma/Gwendoline Christie)

* race and gender in The Force Awakens

* terrorism, insurgency, war, and militarism

* surveillance

 

Direct questions to the Special Issue co-editors: Jason W. Ellis [jellis@citytech.cuny.edu], Alan Lovegreen [alanlovegreen@yahoo.com], and Sean Scanlan [sscanlan@citytech.cuny.edu].

 

NANO is a multimodal journal. Therefore, we encourage submissions that include images, sound, or video in support of a written argument. These multimodal components may consist of objects and data sets that go beyond traditional media. The multimodal components of the essay must be owned or licensed by the author, come from the public domain, or fall within reasonable fair use (see Stanford University Libraries’ Copyright & Fair Use site, http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/ and the U.S. Copyright Office’s Fair Use site, http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html for more information. NANO’s Fair Use Statement is available on its submission page, http://www.nanocrit.com/submissions-information/).

 

For questions about video, audio, or image usage, please contact NANO: editornano@citytech.cuny.edu.

 

NANO uses modified MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting and style.

 

Submission style guidelines: http://www.nanocrit.com/submissions-information/style-guide-nano/

 

Submission form: http://www.nanocrit.com/submissions-information/submission-form-page-nano1

 

Keywords and abstract: Each author is asked to submit 5 keywords and a 150-word abstract to accompany their submission.

 

Schedule: Deadlines concerning the special issue to be published in NANO:

 

* Submission deadline: February 1, 2017

* Complete comments and peer review June 2017

* Pre-production begins August 2017

 

We look forward to receiving your contributions.