CFP: SFRA 2018 (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; Sunday, July 1 through Wednesday, July 4, 2018)
CALL FOR PAPERS
SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2018
Sunday, July 1- Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)
Conference Theme: The Future of Labor
Peter Frase (author of Four Futures)
Rebekah Sheldon (author of The Child to Come)
The Science Fiction Research Association invites proposals for its 2018 annual conference, to be held on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. In keeping with Milwaukee's long history as a site of labor activism and union struggle, including the famous Bay View Massacre of protestors striking for the eight-hour-workday and the longest Socialist mayoral tenure in US history—as well as ongoing and increasingly urgent global concerns about the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robots—the overarching theme of SFRA 2018 will be “The Future of Labor.” When machines think and work—at speeds and efficiencies humans cannot match, and perhaps can no longer even understand—what will become of human beings?
Possible subtopics might include:
- artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithmic culture;
- the rise of the machines; automation and labor;
- the Singularity;
- drone warfare;
- automated and robotic care labor;
- the gig economy and hyperexploitiation;
- hyperexploitation and technology in the academy;
- automation and the digital economy;
- automation and the environment, especially climate change;
- automation and disability;
- automation and race, gender, sexuality, and class;
- nonhuman labor and nonhuman laborers;
- genetic manipulation, computer prosthesis, and other modes of cognitive enhancement;
- games, gamificiation, and other brainhacks;
- universal basic income and other modes of postcapitalism;
- the politics of artificial intelligence, utopian, dystopian, and otherwise;
- representations of nonhuman, robotic, artificially intelligent, and postcapitalist labor across the last two centuries of science fiction texts.
Of course we also welcome papers on topics relevant to science fiction research broadly conceived that are not specifically related to the conference theme.
Graduate students are encouraged to apply and attend; as with previous SFRA conferences, the first day of conference programming will include roundtables and workshops devoted to targeted at early-career teachers and researchers working in SF studies and in the study of popular culture more generally.
300-500 word abstracts should be sent to SFRAMilwaukee@gmail.com by March 30, 2018. Notification of acceptance will occur by April 15, 2018. We also welcome submission of preconstituted panels and roundtables.
Questions concerning the call for papers can be directed to SFRAMilwaukee@gmail.com with the subject line “CFP QUESTION,” or to the conference’s local organizers, Gerry Canavan (Marquette University, email@example.com) and Peter Sands (UWM, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Milwaukee is a lovely summertime destination, a city on a lake with festivals nearly every week, a rich ethnic tradition reflected in architecture, neighborhoods, and foods, and many worthwhile sights and activities within a day’s drive, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin North to the west, Chicago to the south, and Lake Michigan’s shoreline itself to the east. It is also a perfect site to contemplate labor’s past and future: the city has a long history with the labor movement and civil rights—from the tragedy of the 1886 Bayview Massacre, in which seven people were killed during a demonstration in favor of the eight-hour work day, to the late 1960s marches which led to Milwaukee being called “Selma of the North,” to the longest-running Socialist administration in U.S. cities, one which focused on “sewer socialism” in recognition of the needs for basic infrastructure to support working people. Wisconsin itself was instrumental in the development of the modern union movement and Robert LaFollette’s Progressive movement, but has also been at the bleeding edge of the current anti-union movement troubling labor throughout the United States. A perfect place to labor over labor.
Marquette University is the home of the J.R.R. Tolkien manuscript collection, containing the original manuscripts for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As a conference bonus, conference attendees will be invited to a lecture on the manuscript collection by the curator of the collection, William Fleiss, which will include a display of some of the collection’s greatest treatures. The conference will also be supported by Marquette’s new interdisciplinary research hub, the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities.
Hotel: Due to seasonal and holiday fluctuations in ticket prices, fully furnished, single-occupancy dormitory rooms have been reserved for conference attendees at low cost on Marquette’s campus. These rooms will be significantly cheaper than a traditional conference hotel rate. Attendees who wish to stay at a hotel anyway are advised to make their reservations sooner rather than later due to the proximity of the July 4 holiday and to the “Summerfest” music festival held in Milwaukee during the conference dates.
Travel: Milwaukee is served by an international airport, airport code MKE. Some travelers in search of lower fares and/or direct flights may prefer to search at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), approximately 70 miles away and accessible by train, bus, and rental car. The drive from O’Hare is very easy, on a dedicated highway with very little traffic, and parking will be available on Marquette’s campus for approximately $10/day.
Food: The conference will include two keynote lunches and an awards banquet the last night. Marquette’s campus is a short, safe walk from downtown Milwaukee with many dining options available there; there is also a smaller area closer to campus called “Campustown” with a number of cheap, good restaurants.
Fees: Conference fees are still being formalized but will be commensurate with previous SFRA meetings.
Additional questions concerning logistics or the conference more generally can be directed to the conference email address, SFRAMilwaukee@gmail.com, with the subject line “LOGISTICAL QUESTION,” or to the conference’s local organizers, Gerry Canavan (Marquette University, email@example.com) and Peter Sands (UWM, firstname.lastname@example.org).