CFP: Essay Collection on Octavia Butler's Work (3/30/07; collection)
CFP: â€œ'Iâ€™ve been a woman I-donâ€™t know-how-many-times': A Critical Tribute to
the Work of Octavia E. Butler"
Essay collection, ed. Patricia Melzer
Over the course of twenty-five years, Octavia E. Butler published thirteen books
and is the most widely known African American woman science fiction writer.
The impact of her fiction has been significant both in popular and critical terms.
Her compelling narratives reach audiences far beyond traditional genre-
classifications: she has gained dedicated readers outside the science fiction
milieu and has achieved cult status across a variety of audiences, including
feminist, African American, youth, and science fiction readers alike. Her
narratives depict complex societies in which alien species force-breed with
humans and humans mutate into alien forms, in which time travel and
shapeshifters exist, and in which humans have telepathic abilities. Butlerâ€™s
science fiction narratives are intriguing because of the complex and at times
contradictory reading experiences they offer; they juxtapose affirmation of
difference with experiences of colonization and slavery. At the center of her
narratives, which Ruth Salvaggio defines as â€œstories of power,â€ are the struggles
of strong female characters who negotiate the contradictions created by colonial
encounters and chaotic social upheaval. Butlerâ€™s writing raises issues of how to
resist racism, sexism, and exploitation in ways that elucidate many of the
concepts we encounter in feminist thought, as well as in queer imaginations.
While not alone in re-imagining the ways in which race, gender, sexuality and
nationality intersect, Butlerâ€™s work is set apart from that of most other writers in
her challenging and pleasureable engagement of simultaneous discourses.
Above all, her work has ignited a significant critical resonance across
disciplinary boundaries as few science fiction writers have, in particular in
feminist studies of utopian thought, African American literary criticism,
postcolonial discourse, and genre literature.
Until her untimely death in 2006, Butlerâ€™s stories have inspired and influenced
feminist debates, and they continue to impact readersâ€™ lives today. This volume
aims to bring together for the first time a comprehensive collection of critical
essays on Butlerâ€™s writing. The anthology will combine previously published
work that was influential in shaping much of feminist and â€" more recently â€"
queer debates on Butlerâ€™s fiction with new scholarship engaging with Butlerâ€™s
writing. Those approaches may involve readings of any of Butlerâ€™s works in
terms of e.g. feminist theory, queer theory, science fiction studies, postcolonial
theory, lesbian and gay studies, and critical race studies.
E-mail proposals for new articles as attachments to:
Womenâ€™s Studies, Temple University
Deadline for proposals (ca. 1000 words): March 30, 2007
Deadline for full manuscripts (ca. 8000 words): June 15, 2007
The editor, Patricia Melzer, is Director of Womenâ€™s Studies at Temple University
and author of "Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist
Dr. Patricia Melzer
Director, Women's Studies Program
1114 West Berks Street
816 Anderson Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19122
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or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Sun Nov 19 2006 - 17:52:12 EST