Tag Archives: science fiction

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

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/.

Spring 2020 Modern Physics PHYS 2443 ID Guest Lecture

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:

In preparation for the class, here are some readings and other resources that will be referenced in the discussion:

Link to Prof. Ellis’ Google Slides Presentation.


Science Fiction Students are Interested In

Isaac Asimov

Strugatsky Brothers

Starship Troopers

Cosmos: A Spacetime Ody

Fringe

The Three Body Problem

Rick and Morty

 

Another Round of City Tech Science Fiction Collection Inventorying

 

Kate Wilhelm autograph

On August 6-8, Prof. Jason W. Ellis continued to inventory the shelved novels of the City Tech Science Fiction Collection. Since the last inventory session, he spent 20 hours at home typing in the author, title, and publisher information for the remaining novels based on the photographic inventory that he made after the collection had been originally shelved. While some titles were incomplete but could be gleaned through database research at the ISFDB or Worldcat, other titles were obscured in the photographic inventory, so these had to be seen in person. For all of the remaining titles, the publication date or copyright date (depending on what information the publisher was inclined to include) had to be found in each open book. This meant that even though all originally shelved novels are recorded by author’s name, title, and publisher, the publication date and any other relevant information (edition, marginalia, inscriptions, etc.) have to be recorded in person. During the nine hours in the archives this week, Prof. Ellis recorded the dates from 26 shelves of books bringing the total shelves remaining to be recorded to about 30. This should be accomplished during the coming academic year.

Also during this time, Prof. Ellis gave a tour of the collection to David B. Smith, Dean of the School of Professional Studies, and he met City Tech’s new Collections Management Librarian, Wanett Clyde.

 

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.