CFP: Science and Science Fiction

SCIENCE & SCIENCE FICTION with Special Issue Editors Alexander I. Stingl & Sabrina M. Weiss

The relation between science and society is often heavily influenced by and identified in the intermediary figurations portrayed in the genre of science fiction. This depiction evokes a simultaneously important and yet all too simple dimension:

Western popular culture has reflected on the signs and portents, utopian and nightmarish potentials, and promised comforts and current and future ethical crises of science in form of narrativizations from Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein, Ursula LeGuin, Iain Banks, Gene Roddenberry, Octavia Butler, Ron Moore, Margaret Atwood, and Charles Stross, in the form of novels and short stories, whether the Island of Dr. Moreau, Starship Trooper, or Halting State, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, Dune, Oryx and Crake, to movies and television, such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, The Jetsons, Orphan Black, ReGenesis, I, Robot, A.I., Minority Report, Gattaca, Battlestar Galactica, etc.

The influence on the popular perception of the potentials and promises of science as well on many innovative ideas that would become science offer exciting opportunities for critical reflections on these texts and media. We welcome both general reflections on this discourse as well as specific contributions that focus on a particular aspect of science or a chosen fiction, as well as social studies of “geek” or “nerd” culture that focus on the relation of geeks and science in this special issue.

But the issue (whether the issue of Science/Sci-Fi or our SPECIAL ISSUE) is not exhausted with discourse on science and science fiction that identifies Western popular culture with a global popular culture. And even within the Western or Northern Sci-Fi discourse, ideologies, imperialisms, and biases determine the inclusion/exclusion of authors, characters, plots, etc. An author such as Octavia Butler is to this day the exception rather than the rule in a genre that is still dominated by white male writers. We therefore also actively invite authors who want to address the issue from within feminist, standpoint, intersectional, and queer discourses.

Science Fiction is also not a Western invention nor exclusive to the Western discourse, in the same terms that STS has interrogated the Western colonial attitude towards non-Western and indigenous knowledges and their disqualification. Along those lines, we want to encourage writers who work with non-Western, postcolonial and decolonial subject matters.

Finally we encourage what we would like to call ‘Experiments in Social Science Fictions’; we approve of writers who use STS and social and political science ideas creatively, as tools to ‘think with,’ rather than producing ‘yet another case study’. Science Fiction includes promises and predictions about what the future would, could, or should look like. An active contribution by the science studies and the social sciences may prevent us saying one day “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda”.

From Sage Publishers

spaceship cartoon*** Extended Deadline March 10, 2015 ***
Guest Editors:
Alexander I. Stingl (STS, Drexel) and Sabrina M. Weiss (STS, RIT)

Susan Losh (FSU)

From H-Net

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