When It Changed: Women in SF/F since 1972

deadline for submissions: 
August 8, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Science Fiction Foundation / Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, Glasgow University

To mark the 50th anniversary of Joanna Russ’s landmark short story, ‘When It Changed’, the Science Fiction Foundation and the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at Glasgow University are proposing an online conference (3-4 December 2022) on women’s role in reshaping science fiction.

Russ’s success aside, the 1972 Hugo and Nebula Awards were dominated by men. Fifty years later, the situation seems very different with the major prizes being won by women, among them N.K. Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, Laura Jean McKay and Martha Wells. To these we can add the posthumous success of Octavia E. Butler and the mainstream acclaim of writers such as Susanna Clarke. Despite such controversies as ‘Puppygate’, sf/f now appears to be a more inclusive place, partly because of the role played by women.

If sf/f has indeed changed, in what ways did women help to cause this happen? On the other hand, does the glamour of sales and literary prizes for a few select authors disguise structural inequities within sf/f that endure from the 1970s? We invite papers of 20 minutes in length that will debate these questions. Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Imagining post-patriarchal futures
  • Lesbian, non-binary and trans representations
  • Women and Indigenous futurisms
  • Women and technoculture
  • Disability studies and the medical humanities
  • Women, ecology and the ‘Manthropocene’
  • Space opera and planetary romance
  • Sf/f and Young Adult fiction
  • Women and the graphic novel
  • Video, table-top and role-playing games
  • Fanzines and fan cultures
  • Modes of production and consumption – women as editors, reviewers, publishers
  • Feminist presses and imprints
  • The New Wave and literary experimentalism
  • The role of the female auteur in sf music and cinema
  • Women and sf/f criticism and theory
  • Exploding the sf/f canon – re-visioning sf/f histories
  • Sf/f and social/digital media
  • Transmedia and adaptation studies
  • Canonisation and the role of literary awards

Proposals of up to 250 words with a bionote of 50 words should be submitted to Dr Paul March-Russell (paulmarchrussell@gmail.com) by 8 August 2022. We are also interested in ideas for panels on special topics related to the conference theme. A selection of papers will be published in the winter 2023 issue of Foundation.