MMLA Panel

deadline for submissions: 
April 5, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Science and Fiction Panel
contact email: 

Taking up the MMLA conference theme, “Duality, Doubles, and Doppelgängers,” the panel for Science and Fiction seeks proposals engaging the presence of the double in fiction inflected or inspired by science, medicine, or technology; the fields’ theories or methods; or their practitioners. Oftentimes, the double is associated with the horror genre and presented as emblematic of Freud’s ideas about the uncanny, or the unheimlich (unhomely is the literal translation). The term describes the feeling of unease or fear one gets from experiencing something familiar turned uncomfortably strange. Fred Botting, however, notes that horror and science fiction each “give form to a sense of otherness” (Botting, 2008, 131). Thus from aliens, cyborgs, holograms, time-travelers,  or clones, to scientific experiments like Frankenstein’s monster or Dr. Jekyll’s blunder, Mr. Hyde, science fiction is riddled with moments of duality, doubles, or doppelgängers—someone, or something, that is upsettingly like the self and yet threateningly other. Within science and speculative fiction, as Jeffrey Cohen explains in “Monster Culture,” the monstrous other might figure “as a warning against exploration” as “curiosity is more often punished than rewarded” (Cohen, 12). Submissions may focus on science fiction or depictions of the scientist specifically but are not required to do so. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

·     The double as it is depicted in science fiction vs horror or other related “transgressive” genres or mediums, such as, graphic novels, comic books, videogames, or digital media

·     “The return of the repressed,” memory, repetition, and time travel

·     Sexuality and the unfamiliar as threatening to heteronormativity

·     The imagined otherness of women, the working class, race, other ideologies, and departures from other supposed cultural or societal norms

·     How science, or its theories and practices, influenced a period’s fiction (literary, cinematic, etc.) and its exploration of the self vs other

·     The vibrant interplay between or discourses surrounding the fields of science and literature

·     Other stock characters of genre fiction utilizing doubles, such as the mad scientist, greedy capitalist, or intrepid explorer

·     Cinematic adaptations of science or speculative fiction as doubles of their literary originals

·     Clones, cyborgs, and robots and their creator’s ethical culpability/responsibility for their existence

·     Space exploration/human colonies and the alien as racialized or gendered other

·     Fictional renderings of labs or clinics

·     The vacuum of space, other voids, or empty, post-apocalyptic cities as uncanny

 

The deadline for proposals is April 5, 2019. Please submit as email attachments (Microsoft Word) a 250-word abstract and a 1-page CV for consideration to Michelle Mastro at mmastro@indiana.edu