Academic Programming


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  • Deadline for proposals: February 14

WisCon has a track of academic programming, framed by the convention’s Statement of Principles, that is open to undergraduate, postgraduate, and independent scholars. One of the benefits of this track is that it strengthens the links between the wider feminist science fiction community, students and other scholars working on feminist science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy and related fields. The track operates very much like a conventional academic conference, with presentations based on research. However, scholarly work on all aspects of feminist science fiction reaches an audience at WisCon that gives a kind of passionate and informed feedback that is rare at academic conferences. We very much encourage submissions from people who aren’t involved in formal academic work! Over the years, people have presented papers on fantasy, horror, speculative and science fiction literature, media, and fandom, examining issues of feminism, gender, sexuality, race, disability, and class amongst many others.

In 2018, for the first time, WisCon’s programming will have an overall theme: “What Does Justice Demand?” This question invites exploration of the meanings, histories, and cultures of “social justice,” a term that circulates through multiple on and offline spaces that WisCon’s members inhabit. Many talk about and endeavour to work within this framework, but how is social justice lived/embodied without becoming a buzzword? And how does this shape feminisms’ relationship to speculative genres (scifi, fantasy, horror, and beyond) both past and present? This is an opportunity both for work that deals specifically with social and political questions of justice as they relate to feminist science fiction and for work on the histories and cultures of social-justice-oriented fan communities. We encourage contributions that emphasize WisCon’s focus on how science fiction has played an important role in the exploration and creation of socially just futures: futures where people of all colors and backgrounds flourish, where women’s rights and women’s contributions are valued, where gender is not limited to one of two options, where no one is erased out of convenience, hidden discrimination, or outright bigotry.

In addition to or as part of the convention’s theme, we especially welcome scholarship that engages with the work of our Guests of Honor, Tananarive Due and Saladin Ahmed. We encourage submissions from scholars in all fields, including interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary areas, and from amateur and independent scholars as well as graduate students, postdocs, and faculty.

An incomplete list of possible subjects

      • What Does Justice Demand? How is social justice lived/embodied? How does social justice shape feminism and genre work (scifi, fantasy, horror, and others) both past and present?
      • Gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability in individual works of science fiction and fantasy, especially in the works of our Guests of Honor
      • Feminist, queer, critical race, and critical disability analysis of science fiction and fantasy in media (film, television, music, video games, online culture)
      • Speculative aspects of feminist and social justice movements
      • Science fiction and feminist science and technology studies
      • Race, colonialism, and speculative fiction; Afrofuturism and related cultural movements
      • Fan cultures and communities
      • Feminist pedagogy and speculative fiction in the classroom

An incomplete list of possible formats

      • 15-minute paper presentations, with or without visual accompaniment
      • Groups of presentations submitted together as panels
      • Presentation of scholarly creative works, including digital scholarship
      • Readings from recently published or forthcoming scholarly books
      • Discussion-based panels and roundtables on scholarly research, teaching, or service
      • Mentoring sessions on academic professional life: graduate study, the job market, tenure and promotion, publishing and presentation
      • Screenings and discussions of short films or videos

Submit your proposal using our online form. You will be asked for a 100-word abstract, which will be printed in the convention’s program, and for a more detailed proposal of up to 500 words. If you are proposing something other than a traditional paper, please make sure you describe the format of your proposed program item. A projector and screen will be available; if you have further technological needs, please let us know in your proposal.

If you have any questions, contact us at the email address at the top of the page.