Jesuits in Science Fiction: From James Blish to Walter Miller Jr. to today

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
North East Modern Languages Association
contact email: 

Roundtable CFP

Annual Northeast Modern Language Association

51st Annual Convention

Boston MA, March 5th - 8th, 2020

Mariott Copley Place

Host Institution: Boston University


Jesuits in Science Fiction: From James Blish & Walter Miller Jr. to Today

Science Fiction, sometimes regarded as the “literature of ideas”, has always been deeply influenced by ideas from philosophy and theology.  This influence is clearly seen in James Blish’s and Walter Miller Jr.’s work in the late 1950’s.  But their work also added what could be called a “Jesuit dimension” as it included characters trained in the Jesuit (and related scholastic traditions) who dealt with extraordinary circumstances in other worlds or future scenarios.  This “Jesuit dimension” opened up the possibilities of further exploring philosophical and theological ideas in contexts of displaced traditions as well as room for speculations on how intellectual traditions can expand and change according to their embedding environments.  The focus of this roundtable is to consider philosophical and theological ideas as they change and develop in meaning in different contexts.  Although writers such as Blish and Miller form the basis of this roundtable, analyses of other science fiction authors dealing with philosophical and theological themes are welcome. 

The NeMLA site to submit your proposal is:



Please note: The deadline for 250-300 word abstracts is September 30th, 2019.


For further information, please contact:

Professor Richard Feist

Faculty of Philosophy, Saint Paul University

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada