[UPDATE] Special Issue: Steampunk, Science, and (Neo)Victorian Technologies

full name / name of organization: 
Rachel Bowser and Brian Croxall / Neo-Victorian Studies

Neo-Victorian Studies invites papers and/or abstracts for a 2009 special issue on neo-Victorianism's engagement with science and new/old technologies, especially as articulated through the genre of Steampunk. As a lifestyle, aesthetic and literary movement, Steampunk can be both the act of modding your laptop to look like and function as a Victorian artefact and an act of (re-)imagining a London in which Charles Babbage's analytical engine was realised. Steampunk includes applications of nineteenth-century aesthetics to contemporary objects; speculative extensions of technologies that actually existed; and the anachronistic importation of contemporary science into fictionalised pasts and projected futures. In all cases, Steampunk blurs boundaries: between centuries, between technologies, and between "those" Victorians and "us" neo-Victorians. This special issue will explore why particular scientific and technological developments are revisited at particular historical moments and trace Steampunk's importance to neo-Victorianism, as well as its wider cultural implications.

Deadline for submissions of completed papers: 1 June 2009

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Steampunk and the importation/transformation of Victorian aesthetics
  • changing narrative "technologies" in Victorian/neo-Victorian fiction
  • markets and economics of the Steampunk universe
  • science and environmental politics
  • Steampunk and the myths of the Industrial Revolution
  • redefining the human: intersections with cyberpunk
  • Steampunk and old/new/lost world empire(s)
  • the terrors of Steampunk in a post-9/11 world
  • historicising the Steampunk phenomenon
  • gender constructions in Steampunk art, literature, and practice
  • mad geniuses: scientists, inventors, doctors, engineers
  • Steampunk pasts and futures (e.g. The Difference Engine vs. The Diamond Age)
  • modding and maker practices: objects and (neo-)Victorian materialism
  • real and imagined difference engines
  • scientific (im)practicalities of Steampunk contraptions
  • visual Steampunk vs. narrative Steampunk (e.g. graphic novels or movies vs. novels)
  • cosplay and conventions

Articles and/or creative pieces between 6000-8000 words should be submitted by email to the guest editors Rachel A. Bowser (rachel.bowser@gmail.com) and Brian Croxall (b.croxall@gmail.com), with a further copy to the General Editor, Marie-Luise Kohlke (neovictorianstudies@swansea.ac.uk). For submission guidelines, please consult the journal website at http://www.neovictorianstudies.com/.