Call for submissions—WisCon invites scholars to submit proposals for academic programming

  • contact: academic@wiscon.net
  • Deadline for proposals: February 28, 2022
  • WisCon will take place May 27–30, 2022

Land Acknowledgement: Madison, Wisconsin, the location of WisCon, occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial.

In an 1832 treaty, the Ho-Chunk were forced to cede this territory. Decades of white supremacist, settler colonial violence followed as both the federal and state government repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, sought to forcibly remove the Ho-Chunk from Wisconsin. This history of colonization informs our shared future of collaboration and innovation. WisCon’s dynamic intersectional feminist process is informed by internal and external collaboration with displaced communities as we strive to enact decolonial politics.

Today, WisCon respects the inherent sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation, along with the Miami, Menominee, Potawatomi, Oneida, Mohican, Ojibwe (Chippewa), Sioux, and all First Nations of Wisconsin.

WisCon has a track of academic programming, framed by the convention’s Statement of Principles, that encourages submissions from scholars in all fields, including interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and anti-disciplinary areas, from amateur and independent scholars as well as graduate students, postdocs, and faculty. 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, the audience that WisCon reaches is able to provide scholarly work—on all aspects of feminist science fiction—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, colonialism, and class, amongst many others.

Given our current political moment, we invite papers and panels that explore themes echoing the American Studies Association’s 2022 Annual Meeting, “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire” as well as the National Women’s Studies Association’s 2021 Annual Conference: “We Are Family: Feminist Community Formations Across Borders and Experience.” With these themes in mind, we encourage proposals to consider science fiction as a site of connection, survival, and protest. For example, how can feminist speculative fiction help us fight for a more just world? What lessons can be learned from Indigenous, Black, POC, and diasporic speculative fiction, to advance decolonial and anti-racist change? How can we use speculative fiction genres to respond to the threats of white supremacy, dispossession, militarization, and extractive capitalism? How might speculative fiction help us come together amidst collapsing structures to enable better futures?

These themes offer opportunity both for work that deals specifically with social and cultural questions about the radical politics of futures as they relate to feminist speculative fiction and for work on the histories and dream making of freedom-oriented fan communities.

Further, we invite proposals from anyone with a scholarly interest in the intersections of gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, class, and disability with speculative fiction—broadly defined—in literature, media, and culture. We encourage contributions that emphasize WisCon’s focus on how speculative 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 by discrimination, or experiences bigotry.

An incomplete list of possible subjects:

  • What are the meanings, histories, and cultures of “protest”? How do we come together when “the roof is on fire”? What do we do when the structures that were never built for many of us collapse? 
  • How can feminist protest advance decolonial, anti-racist change? And how does this shape feminisms’ relationship to speculative genres (scifi, fantasy, horror, and beyond) both past and present?
  • Gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, class, and disability in individual works of science fiction and fantasy, especially in the works of our 2022 Guests of Honor Sheree Renée Thomas, Zen Cho, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Yoon Ha Lee.
  • Feminist, queer, critical race, and critical disability analysis of speculative fiction in media (film, television, music, video games, online culture).
  • Speculative aspects of feminist and social justice movements.
  • Race, colonialism, and speculative fiction; Indigenous Futurism, Afrofuturism, Latinx Futurism, African and Diasporic Futurism, Asian Futurism, and related cultural movements.
  • Feminist pedagogy and speculative fiction in the academic classroom and beyond.

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.
  • Discussion-based panels and roundtables on scholarly research, teaching, or service.
  • Screenings and discussions of short films or videos.

The deadline for submitting an abstract for WisCon 2022 is midnight US Central Time on February 28, 2022

This year, we are planning to meet with in-person panels at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, WI. We will also have synchronous Zoom panels for those unable to meet in person. Please indicate whether you plan to present in-person or virtually when you submit your abstract.

Please submit your proposal on the wiscon.net site. First you must create a profile and then click the SUGGEST A SESSION link and choose academic from the select a division dropdown. You will be asked for a title, a 100-word abstract, which will be printed in the convention’s program, and 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 for those at the Concourse Hotel.

If you have questions, please email: academic@wiscon.net.