Speculative Fiction as Literature of Emergence

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Gabriella Friedman/American Studies Association 2018
contact email: 

Speculative fiction is often loosely defined as an umbrella category that includes genres such as science fiction, fantasy, supernatural horror, and magical realism—that is, as fiction that deploys non-mimetic or “fantastic” elements. This panel, however, will take up conceptions of speculative fiction that go beyond this generic distinction. That is, instead of defining speculative fiction primarily by the presence of non-mimetic elements, the panel will explore speculative fiction as any fiction that generates emergences—ontological, epistemological, and/or political—which are seemingly unimaginable in our existing society. 

Can speculation be understood as a mode of thinking, being, operating, or relating to others? If so, how and to what ends does literature articulate this mode? What does the fantastic/magic/the non-mimetic do in speculative fiction when it is present? Can literature which features no overtly non-mimetic elements be considered speculative fiction? What is the relation between speculative fiction and experimental fiction? What are the political stakes of speculative fiction?

Papers on literary texts from any period are welcome.

Panel proposal for the American Studies Association meeting in Atlanta, GA (November 8-11, 2018).

Please send 300 word abstract and brief bio to Gabriella at gf258@cornell.edu by January 15th.