Displaying items by tag: disabilitySF

CFP: Technology as Cure – Representations of Disability in Science Fiction

Call for Papers

Representations of Disability in Science Fiction (essay collection; abstracts due Nov. 18/11)

Contributions are invited for an essay collection on the representations of disability and the disabled body in science fiction. Technology is often characterized as a cure for the disabled body – one that either elides or exacerbates corporeal difference. From block buster films and televised space operas to cyberpunk and hard SF, disabled bodies are often modified and supported by technological interventions. How are dis/ability, medical “breakthroughs,” (bio) technologies, and the body theorized, materialized, and politicized in science fiction? This collection is particularly interested in the ways dis/abled bodies challenge normative discourses of ability, generate novel spaces of embodiment, and proliferate new understandings of human being.

Contributions are welcomed from both academic- and arts-based researchers and practitioners from a wide range of critical perspectives: literary studies, disability studies, feminist studies, science and technology studies, critical theory, race studies, queer studies, media studies, film studies, Aboriginal studies, cultural studies, and rhetoric studies. Papers may deal with the representation of disability in any form of popular genre SF: film, television, and print (including all SF subgenres i.e.: feminist SF, post-cyberpunk, hard SF, steampunk, etc.). All possible topics related to the representation of disability and disabled persons in SF are welcome: dis/ability, illness, technology as cure, prosthesis, diseased bodies/contagion, care of the self, alterations to the body, corporeal boundaries, environmental modifications, medical care, and alternative constructions of being.

Send a 300- to 500-word abstract, working title, and a brief bio, by email in a Word attachment, to kathryn@academiceditingcanada.ca before or on November 18, 2011. Inquiries are also welcome. Final papers should range in length from 5000-8000 words and will be due late March 2012 (a set date will be sent out along with acceptance notifications).

About the editor: Kathryn Allan received her PhD in English Literature from McMaster University (2010) studying feminist post-cyberpunk SF and theories of the vulnerable body. She currently is an independent SF scholar, working as a freelance writer and (academic) editor.

Published in Kathryn Allan's Blog
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 23:53

Disability Studies and SF

An excerpt from the Conclusion of my thesis that explains why I want to study representations of disability in SF:

In addition to advocating for more attention to be devoted to reading race in SF, I feel that addressing issues of disability and the suffering body as depicted in SF narratives (feminist or otherwise) is also pressing. As the pace of advancements in prosthetic and other computerized assisted-living technologies quickens, we, as a culture, find ourselves faced with new possibilities for disabled bodies and embodiments. As I have always been interested in disability studies, it is a regret that I did not better engage with theories of disability and the technologically enabled body in this thesis. My own experience with chronic illness and pain has deepened my interest in this line of inquiry, but I also believe that there is a need within the SF community itself to engage with more images of disability.

During my participation at The 67th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) in August 2009, I attended a panel discussion of disability in SF: the room was absolutely packed with people, most of whom identified as disabled. Throughout the hour, people shared their stories of identifying with specific disabled (or bodily limited) characters and insightfully critiqued the technologies imagined within these SF scenarios. I found the communal desire to discuss disability, as it is represented in SF, overwhelming. I would encourage academics working in the field of SF criticism to pay closer attention to the representation of disability in SF narratives (particularly in terms of reimagining the possibility of transcendence from the suffering body), as the SF community has demonstrated its eagerness to engage with the material and it offers a rich site of investigation into questions of embodiment and identity.

Published in Kathryn Allan's Blog
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 14:14

Independent Academic

In the past month, I’ve taken to thinking of myself an “independent academic,” a designation that somehow is both laughable and admirable. Regardless of my many complaints and concerns about the academy, I still love the process of researching and writing. The highlights of my graduate education were those times of investigation and analysis. I miss seminar discussions of theory and literature. I even feel nostalgic for the long days spent searching through journals in the library. It took me the last half year to realize that I still wanted to be an academic. Not an academic in the sense of a university professor, but as someone who still pursues knowledge and shares it with like-minded people. I might not want to be a university faculty member anymore, but I still want to keep doing the same kind of work.

Being a science fiction (SF) scholar, I have a unique base of knowledge to start me off. The SF community is well-established and I am hoping that there is room in there for me. Part of the motivation for this blog – aside from a cathartic unburdening of my grad school trauma – is that I want to make connections with people who love SF as much as I do. My dream job would be to do editing work in the morning and write/talk/create SF in the afternoon. I believe that I have something worthwhile to contribute to the field of SF studies and I don’t see why I should stop my research just because I’m not employed by an institution of higher education.

My doctoral research was in the areas of feminist post-cyberpunk SF (a genre term of my own making!), post-humanism, technology, and the body. You can read my dissertation, Bleeding Chrome: Technology and the Vulnerable Body in Feminsist Post-Cyberpunk Science Fiction, online if you like. My current area of research interest (when I find the time) is the representation of disabled bodies and disability in SF. I’m particularly keen on notions of the prosthetic at the moment. I hope to document and discuss my on-going research through this site, so please feel free to join me in conversation.

Published in Kathryn Allan's Blog
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