CFP: Science Fiction and Transgressive Identities (ACLA 2015)

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association

Science fiction has often been considered to be a narrative genre that is particularly well suited to explore alternative realities and speculative scenarios. Authors such as Darko Suvin (1979), Fredric Jameson (2005), and, most recently, Seo-Young Chu (2011) have suggested that these scenarios are much less investigations of our possible future or alternative past, as they are about an interrogation of the readers' present conditions and the present's utopian potential. What can the present be, other than what it is? Placed firmly in this tradition of SF scholarship, we would like to propose a session that focuses on the specific question of how SF imagines alternative forms of identity and how it explores alterity's transgressive impact on the status quo. Such a focus is as necessary as it is timely: Recent movies such as Her (2014), novels such as How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2011), and television shows such as Almost Human (2013 – present) bring the idea of SF as a mode of critical reflection and possible intervention of the status quo into the popular mainstream. Our panel seeks to revisit and refine the theoretical tools for discussing these cultural phenomena on a wide basis, as it deliberately looks outside of the canon of SF or popular culture. Explorations of non-English language and non-canonical texts are particularly welcome.
Please submit a 250-500 word abstract directly via the ACLA Website