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Call for Papers for The Fifth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on Race and Science Fiction

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 (jellis@citytech.cuny.edu) 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.

This event is free and open to the public as space permits: an RSVP will be included with the program when announced on the Science Fiction at City Tech website (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/sciencefictionatcitytech/). Free registration will be required for participation.

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/.

Videos from the Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium, An Astounding 90 Years of Analog Science Fiction and Fact

4th Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium

Photo by Yimei Han.

The Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium on “An Astounding 90 Years of Analog Science Fiction and Fact” was held on December 12, 2019 at the New York City College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

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.

If you’d like to watch the symposium videos in one go, you can find the complete playlist on YouTube here.

Or, you can watch the individual sessions embedded below:

Opening Remarks

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

Jason W. Ellis, Assistant Professor of English, New York City College of Technology

Teaching with SF Collections

Moderator: Lucas Kwong

Jason W. Ellis, “Introduction to the City Tech Science Fiction Collection”

Zachary Lloyd, “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Teaching with Science Fiction”

Editors Panel

Moderator:      Frank Wu


Stanley Schmidt

Trevor Quachri

Emily Hockaday

Marginalized Voices and Feminist Futures

Moderator:      Lisa Yaszek

Marleen Barr, “Rachel Rodman’s “The Evolutionary Alice” As Fractured Feminist Fantasy”

Adam McLain, “Visualizing Gendered Voice in Ninety Years of Astounding and Analog

Marie Vibbert, “Visible Women in Astounding and Analog

Writers Panel

Moderator:      Emily Hockaday


Phoebe Barton

Leah Cypess

Jay Werkheiser

Alison Wilgus

Frank Wu

Critical Issues in Analog SF

Moderator:      Lavelle A. Porter

Sharon Packer, “Simian Cinema, Darwinian Debates, and Early Analog SF Stories”

Stanley Schmidt, “Humor in Analog

Edward Wysocki, Jr., “Just the Facts: Articles in Campbell’s Astounding and Analog

Keynote Address by Mike Flynn

Introduction:   Trevor Quachri