CFP: [General] SLSA 2008 panel: Steampunk and Reiteration

full name / name of organization: 
Brian Croxall
contact email: 

As a lifestyle and a literary movement, steampunk can be both the act of
modding your laptop to look like and function as a Victorian artifact and
an act of imagining what London might have looked like had Charles
Babbage’s analytical engine been realized. Steampunk is the application of
nineteenth-century aesthetics to contemporary objects; it is the
speculative extension of technologies that actually existed; it is the
anachronistic importation of contemporary technologies into the
fictionalized past. In all cases, steampunk blurs boundaries: between
centuries, between technologies, and between origin and repetition.

We welcome abstracts on the subject of steampunk for a proposed panel for
the 2008 Society for Science, Literature and the Arts Conference in
Charlotte, NC (Nov. 13-16, 2008). In keeping with this year’s theme of
“Reiteration,” our panel seeks to explore the importance of steampunk in
fiction and reality and to consider why particular technologies are
revisited at particular moments.

Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

•How steampunk is a reiteration and remediation of cyberpunk?
•How does empire function in steampunk?
•What is the role of steampunk in a post-9/11 world?
•What’s at stake in a reiterative process that revises the past in terms of
the present?
•Does steampunk expose fractures in past and contemporary gender constructions?
•Why does steampunk need the Industrial Revolution and/or Victorian aesthetics?
•Steampunk pasts and futures (e.g., The Difference Engine vs. The Diamond Age).
•The modding of computers and other objects to embody Victorian aesthetics.
•The recent manufacture of two physical difference engines.
•The scientific (im)practicalities of steampunk contraptions.
•Steampunk cosplay.

Please email 250-word abstracts to both Rachel Bowser (
and Brian Croxall ( by 8 May 2008.

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Received on Mon Apr 14 2008 - 14:24:50 EDT