Multispecies Becoming: Coming into Terms with Our Own End

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association NeMLA 2020
contact email: 

Talking about different political slogans that she has written for different eras, namely “Cyborgs for Earthly Survival” during Reagan’s era, “Run fast Bite Hard” for father Bush’s era and “Shut up and Train” for George W. Bush’s presidency , Donna Haraway declares that today her slogan is “Stay with the Trouble!” (137) Amidst the very real and imminent threats of environmental disasters, rise of racism, and an expanding precarity, it is in fact very hard to stay with the trouble rather than going elsewhere to save ourselves. Indeed, staying with the trouble implies the risk of failure: if we cannot manage to attend our own world that is “not yet murdered”, we can end up confronting our own end as species beings.(Haraway 137) For Haraway, if we are to stay, we can no longer keep the myth of man as the apex and solution for all beings. We will need to learn to become with other species to give up boundaries that we so dearly hold on to between nature, culture and technology, in short , to radically transform ourselves as sole agents of our being.

To claim that another way of being is possible is one thing, to imagine those worlds and becoming is another gargantuan task. Yet, SF and especially Weird has been tackling questions of radical transformations of human species for a while. Octavia Butler imagines human/Oankali constructs radically different in their non-hierarchical organizations and tentacular bodies, Jeff VanderMeer offers symbiotic, fungal bodies both in Ambergris and Area X series, or Dempow Torishima portrays shifting temporalities and amorphous oozy bodies that forces us to think in the mind of another that is not necessarily human. In all these stories, we are asked to come into terms with another space where humans are not at the apex of all beings, but rather effects and contributors to its worldling, where our bodies are no longer intact closed systems but a web of carnal relations with a multitude of species .


This panel aims to consider speculative/science fiction’s imagination of the end of the human reign as we know it. What would the a posthuman, transhuman body and space look like? What can we become in order to stay with the trouble? And what kind of discourses such imaginations disrups and question through offering these depictions? Topics may include but not limited to:

- Posthuman embodiment

- Bleeding, oozing, merging bodies

- Ecocritical Fiction

- Symbiosis and entanglement in SF/ Weird film and literature

- Non-binary bodies and representations of multiplicities in SF film and literature

- Dystopian spaces and imagination of extinction in SF film and literature

-Decolonial imaginations of body and subject in SF

-Animal Studies

To submit your short (500 words )abstract with a brief bio , please go to NeMLA link below or from NeMLA org paper abstract proposal page , and then choose session 18150.


The deadline for submission is September 30, 2019