UPDATE: [20th] CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE FICTION DREAMS OF TOMORROWS

full name / name of organization: 
Danièle ANDRE
contact email: 
danieleandre2b_at_orange.fr@sas.upenn.edu

     CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE FICTION DREAMS OF TOMORROWS
Call for papers
July 20-30, 2009

Science fiction may have been the only source of myths that were born with
our century.Indeed, under the guidance of its authors’powerful imaginations
(whatever their fields), it has offered the broadest panel of
representations of our contemporary world ever. To understand the reality
of the world around us, science fiction has unceasingly pu t it to the test
 by hunting down its possible futur es. The genre has sought to answer age-
old questions about the origin of life and its place in the universe by
projecting the questioning on a scale that matched its pervasiveness and
variety of expressions in human history. It is therefore also legitimate to
look upon science fiction as a way to bring answers to philosophical
questions. The speculative projections of the scientific, technological,
biological or social possible futures of mankind ground metaphysical
questions into everyday life and submit their predictive answers to time.
The plausibility/coherence of the projections are gauged by
contemporary reader; their exactitude, or prophetic value, by history.
There are countless examples of science fiction works that have foretold
major changes in human societies when they were mere possibilities and were
meant to be thought experiments. Science fiction thus casts towards the
future a look rooted in its here and now.
        As it appears, there have been no major scientific revolutions
since the 1950s, and as the future offered by science fiction as hypotheses
has nearly become reality, it is indeed time to raise the following
questions : does science fiction still have a future? What vision of a
possible future can science fiction offer now?

Submissions are encouraged in fields that include: film, visual and media
studies, literature, science, communication, language studies,
linguistics, women and gender studies, history, psychology, philosophy,
religion, social sciences, cultural studies and popular culture.

   Submissions in literature must be restricted to this guideline:
   Despite their reputation of elitist writers, the modernists have largely
resorted to popular - art models and genres. These influences have been
highly camouflaged, though. Contemporary mainstream writers – whether the
term “postmodernists” is deemed acceptable or not –, on the contrary,
openly advertise theirs. Yet what about science fiction writers? What are
their current major influences? Do they still draw their inspiration from
masters from the past or have they succeeded in freeing themselves from
them? Have they remained focused on their own achievement or do they
display some curiosity towards mainstream breakthroughs? If so, then, will
the race forward in updating the models – now at last in pace with our fast
- developing technology – entail a literature and a science fiction
deprived of intertextuality, and will it leave room enough to new
paradigms? Is science fiction necessarily looking back toward its past ? Is
mainstream literature so deteriorating that it now needs to feed on genres
it used to hold in contempt? How do they both regard pastiche ?
Those notions of influence, deviation, evolution and reciprocity are the
ones we would like to see tackled .

Possible subjects for papers include, but are not limited to:

- Considering its link with images, can science fiction get renewed through
means other than cinema and television (video games, the Internet,
installations in amusement parks)? How have those new media transformed
science- fiction as a (sub- )cultural phenomenon? How has digital
convergence transformed science - fiction universes and modes of
representation?

- How has the continuous process of hybridization with other genres
affected science- fiction itself? It is no new idea (f.i Mondwest 1973, or
Blade Runner 1982), however it has found some fertile grounds in works by
such atypical directors as Miike (Dead or Alive ) or Kurosawa (Kaïro ) or
in television series like The 4400 or its predecessor s The X- Files and
Twin Peaks. What are the new generic hybrids? Where do new models come
from? Is hybridization a sign of renewal through elements borrowed from,
for example, Eastern cultures? Is it on the contrary the symptom of a
crisis, the sign of an inability for the genre to renew its problematics on
its own terms?

- In the context of global market and warming, the vision of mankind on a
large scale and the inscription of everyday life in the future world it
implies, which were once defining features of science- fiction, have become
consensual. This inscription of projection in our perception of reality
corresponds to the development of various forms of narratives, at the
crossroads between documentary and fiction (from docu- fictions drawing on
projection models, such as the The Great Flood: Paris 2010 or the Sinking
of Japan, 2006 , to docu- manifestos such as An Inconvenient Truth, 2006 ,
projected on the same blockbuster screen as The Day After Tomorrow, 2004 ).
How do the politics of projection affect the poetics of science- fiction?

- Can science fiction regenerate via civilizations other than those that
gave birth to its major works (can Asia, for instance through mangas, bring
something new and revitalizing ?)

- Can science fiction prolong its life by continuing to draw upon the same
myths set in futuristic surroundings (Matrix , Star Wars , Cryptonomicon,
The Fountain ) or on the contrary should it find new forms which would in
turn lead to new problematics (Twentieth century Boys , Tetsuo )?

   Papers must be in English or in French (papers in English will have to
be given ahead of the conference so as to be translated for non- English
speakers). Abstracts submissions should be approximately 550 words in
length. Presentations last for 40 minutes and be followed by 20 minutes of
questions and answers.

   The deadline for abstract submissions is May 1, 2008 . Notifications
will be mailed on July, 2008. Completed articles should be submitted in May
2009. The conference will be held at The International Conference Center of
Cerisy- la- salle
 CCIC, 50210 Cerisy- la- Salle,
 France phone: 02 33 46 91 66 - Fax : 02 33 46 11 39,
 http: / /www.ccic- cerisy.asso.fr /
 Normandy, July 25-August 3, 2009.

Abstracts and articles must be sent to the three organizers :

ANDRE Danièle ( University of Corsica) danieleandre2b_at_orange.fr

TRON Daniel (University of Poitiers and Angers) daniel.tron_at_free.fr

VILLERS Aurélie (Ph D University of Nice) aurelie.villers_at_wanadoo.fr

   Please include complete contact information (name, home address,
email, phone, affiliation if any) along with a short CV.
   Conference registration and housing reservations will be possible in
2009, the Cerisy Conference Center hosts the contributors (full lodging and
catering). Contributors will be contacted by the center (for full details
regarding the arrival and departure dates, prices, and reductions),
throughout the year preceding the conference.
      For further information please feel free to contact the organizers.

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Received on Thu Feb 28 2008 - 08:34:49 EST

cfp categories: 
twentieth_century_and_beyond