Cyberpunk Science Fiction as a Cultural Formation of (Cyber)Space and Time - NeMLA 2024
At its core, cyberpunk contrasts fantastic technological developments with dystopian society, emphasizing the persistence of extreme social, economic, and political inequalities despite evident surpluses in capital and resources that should enable higher standards of living within these imagined futures. Caroline Alphin's Neoliberalism and Cyberpunk Science Fiction contends that cyberpunk simultaneously impugns and maintains neoliberal cultural mentalities, anxiously illustrating dystopian futures while also indulging in individualistic fantasies of empowerment. Similar to Alphin's work, other recent recent scholarship, such as Anna McFarlane et al.'s Fifty Key Figures in Cyberpunk Culture, approaches cyberpunk not solely as a genre, but as a "cultural formation" that illustrates a common set of techno-dystopian concerns throughout multiple eras of science fiction and across various media landscapes, including texts ranging from '80s pulp novels (such as Gibson'sNeuromancer) to recent video games (such as CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077).
This panel invites presentations that address cyberpunk narratives and/or aesthetics across any of cyberpunk's historic eras or media forms, examining the cultural implications of cyberpunk's techno-dystopian speculations, especially regarding matters space and time (such as, but not limited to, depictions of cyberspace, metropolises, and digitized consciousness). Animating queries for proposals to this panel may include the following: in what ways does cyberpunk narratively represent cybernetics and cybernetically represent narrative? How does cyberpunk uniquely approach immersion within the imaginary or virtual, and how does it complicate audience relationships with diegesis? What sociopolitical ramifications arise from cyberpunk portrayals of virtualized space and time? What anxieties and hopes motivate cyberpunk science fiction, and when do elements cyberpunk texts sustain and/or challenge hegemonic philosophies and institutions?
Abstracts of must be submitted through the NeMLA online portal (https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/CFP) before September 30th 2023. Abstracts no longer than 300 words; titles no longer than 100 characters. NeMLA Membership is not required to submit abstracts.
The NeMLA 2024 convention will take place in Boston, Massachusetts from March 7th–10th.