Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Call for Papers: Science Fiction Research Association Annual Conference 2018 (7/1-7/4, Milwaukee, WI)

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SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2018

Sunday, July 1- Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)

Conference Theme: The Future of Labor

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Peter Frase (author of Four Futures)

Rebekah Sheldon (author of The Child to Come)

The Science Fiction Research Association invites proposals for its 2018 annual conference, to be held on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. In keeping with Milwaukee’s long history as a site of labor activism and union struggle, including the famous Bay View Massacre of protestors striking for the eight-hour-workday and the longest Socialist mayoral tenure in US history—as well as ongoing and increasingly urgent global concerns about the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robots—the overarching theme of SFRA 2018 will be “The Future of Labor.” When machines think and work—at speeds and efficiencies humans cannot match, and perhaps can no longer even understand—what will become of human beings?

Possible subtopics might include:

  • artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithmic culture;
  • the rise of the machines; automation and labor;
  • the Singularity;
  • drone warfare;
  • automated and robotic care labor;
  • the gig economy and hyperexploitiation;
  • hyperexploitation and technology in the academy;
  • automation and the digital economy;
  • automation and the environment, especially climate change;
  • automation and disability;
  • automation and race, gender, sexuality, and class;
  • nonhuman labor and nonhuman laborers;
  • genetic manipulation, computer prosthesis, and other modes of cognitive enhancement;
  • games, gamificiation, and other brainhacks;
  • universal basic income and other modes of postcapitalism;
  • the politics of artificial intelligence, utopian, dystopian, and otherwise;
  • representations of nonhuman, robotic, artificially intelligent, and postcapitalist labor across the last two centuries of science fiction texts.

Of course we also welcome papers on topics relevant to science fiction research broadly conceived that are not specifically related to the conference theme.

Graduate students are encouraged to apply and attend; as with previous SFRA conferences, the first day of conference programming will include roundtables and workshops devoted to targeted at early-career teachers and researchers working in SF studies and in the study of popular culture more generally.

300-500 word abstracts should be sent to SFRAMilwaukee@gmail.com by March 30, 2018. Notification of acceptance will occur by April 15, 2018. We also welcome submission of preconstituted panels and roundtables.

Questions concerning the call for papers can be directed to SFRAMilwaukee@gmail.com with the subject line “CFP QUESTION,” or to the conference’s local organizers, Gerry Canavan (Marquette University, gerry.canavan@marquette.edu) and Peter Sands (UWM, sands@uwm.edu). 

ABOUT MILWAUKEE

Milwaukee is a lovely summertime destination, a city on a lake with festivals nearly every week, a rich ethnic tradition reflected in architecture, neighborhoods, and foods, and many worthwhile sights and activities within a day’s drive, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin North to the west, Chicago to the south, and Lake Michigan’s shoreline itself to the east. It is also a perfect site to contemplate labor’s past and future: the city has a long history with the labor movement and civil rights—from the tragedy of the 1886 Bayview Massacre, in which seven people were killed during a demonstration in favor of the eight-hour work day, to the late 1960s marches which led to Milwaukee being called “Selma of the North,” to the longest-running Socialist administration in U.S. cities, one which focused on “sewer socialism” in recognition of the needs for basic infrastructure to support working people. Wisconsin itself was instrumental in the development of the modern union movement and Robert LaFollette’s Progressive movement, but has also been at the bleeding edge of the current anti-union movement troubling labor throughout the United States. A perfect place to labor over labor.

Marquette University is the home of the J.R.R. Tolkien manuscript collection, containing the original manuscripts for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As a conference bonus, conference attendees will be invited to a lecture on the manuscript collection by the curator of the collection, William Fleiss, which will include a display of some of the collection’s greatest treatures. The conference will also be supported by Marquette’s new interdisciplinary research hub, the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities.

LOGISTICS

Hotel: Due to seasonal and holiday fluctuations in ticket prices, fully furnished, single-occupancy dormitory rooms have been reserved for conference attendees at low cost on Marquette’s campus. These rooms will be significantly cheaper than a traditional conference hotel rate. Attendees who wish to stay at a hotel anyway are advised to make their reservations sooner rather than later due to the proximity of the July 4 holiday and to the “Summerfest” music festival held in Milwaukee during the conference dates.

Travel: Milwaukee is served by an international airport, airport code MKE. Some travelers in search of lower fares and/or direct flights may prefer to search at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), approximately 70 miles away and accessible by train, bus, and rental car. The drive from O’Hare is very easy, on a dedicated highway with very little traffic, and parking will be available on Marquette’s campus for approximately $10/day.

Food: The conference will include two keynote lunches and an awards banquet the last night. Marquette’s campus is a short, safe walk from downtown Milwaukee with many dining options available there; there is also a smaller area closer to campus called “Campustown” with a number of cheap, good restaurants.

Fees: Conference fees are still being formalized but will be commensurate with previous SFRA meetings.

Additional questions concerning logistics or the conference more generally can be directed to the conference email address, SFRAMilwaukee@gmail.com, with the subject line “LOGISTICAL QUESTION,” or to the conference’s local organizers, Gerry Canavan (Marquette University, gerry.canavan@marquette.edu) and Peter Sands (UWM, sands@uwm.edu).

Monday Morning Links!

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* Discovery vs. the canon. All of these so-called violations can be solved with creative thinking, you cowards!

* The day Star Trek: The Next Generation was truly invented.

This is not the dystopia we were promised. Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans.

* I really think every person who has anything to do with assessment knows it is completely meaningless but fears some other actor in the system who they think truly believes in it. Great piece from the Chronicle on just how bad it is.

* Natalie Portman on being 13 in Hollywood. Five strategies of sexual harassers.

* Monopsony in America.

* Today in the NYPD.

* Kalamazoo doctor detained by ICE after forty years in the US. ICE looks to be targeting Niec, despite a permanent green card, due to some misdemeanor property damage convictions from 17 years ago.

* Rethinking Truman.

We remember Truman primarily as the person who was president when the atomic bombs were first used. We should also remember him, as I have argued before, as the person who ordered that the atomic bombs stop being used. And the person who, over the course of his presidency, did the most to establish that atomic bombs were not weapons to be deployed lightly ever again. One might see this as irony, but in my interpretation, it is not: it the reaction of someone who realized he had been badly out of the loop once, and wore that on his conscience, and determined it would not happen again.

* What it’s like to be a convicted felon.

* The Corruption Thesis, dystopia, and authoritarianism.

Invasion of the German Board Games.

I say all this because I think it’s important to bear in mind when considering the substantial subset of UCB that doesn’t get paid for its labor: the improvisors, stand-ups and sketch comics who perform nightly at its theaters. All of them work for free, and often at a loss. To perform on a UCB house team, you must complete UCB’s core curriculum, or four courses at $450-500 apiece. You must also be approved for study in an Advanced Study course—another $450-500. (Through its diversity scholarships, UCB waives these fees for 175 students each year). That’s at least $2,250 and at most $2,500 simply to be eligible to audition for UCB’s flagship Harold and Lloyd teams. If you make it, which you probably won’t, the costs continue to accrue. Members of UCB’s house teams are required to pay their coaches, and many also pay for rehearsal spaces and props. They do not recoup these costs.

Republicans want to make it easier to kill whales and dolphins.

* As metaphors go, it’s a little on the nose.

* And the New York Times asking the tough questions: Formidable tail weaponry is nearly absent in living animals. Scientists have an explanation for what happened to the clubbed tails of the ankylosaurus or the spikes on a stegosaurus.

Sunday Links!

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* Nintendo Labo looks amazing. I’ve already preordered both kits…

* From the AAUP: A New Reality? The Far Right’s Use of Cyberharassment against Academics.

Among the first-time nominees for the 1967 prize, writes M.A. Orthofer for Literary Saloon, are “future winners Saul Bellow and Claude Simon, as well as Jorge Amado, Jean Genet, György Lukács — and the (as best I can tell) last surviving nominee, Hans Magnus Enzensberger.” Other names on the list include “Auden, Beckett, Ionesco, Kawabata, Mishima, Montale, Moravia, Neruda, Katherine Anne Porter, Anna Seghers, Simenon, and J.R.R.Tolkien.” Also on the list, writes Alison Flood for The Guardian, is “Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the following year,” 1968.

The drought-stricken city announced on Thursday that it will begin marking 200 collection points where its 3.7 million residents will be required to queue for a rationed supply of water on “Day Zero” – currently forecast to be April 21. If it happens, Cape Town would become the first major city in the world to shut down entirely the supply of running water in all of its homes.

* After work.

* Kylo Ren destroying the Millennium Falcon in the trailer is a pretty cool idea, I have to admit.

* Break your phone addiction by turning your screen to grayscale.

The sexual assault backlash is coming. Here’s how to respond.

14 on MSU staff got Nassar warnings over 2 decades.

Why Did Two-Thirds of These Weird Antelope Suddenly Drop Dead?

Charter schools can never fail, they can only be failed.

* Too late, Delta tries to put the “comfort animal” genie back in the bottle.

US border patrol routinely sabotages water left for migrants, report says. Deputy shoots, kills 16-year-old boy during scuffle at courthouse. This Is What a White Supremacist Department of Justice Looks Like.

* “Americans like to think we invented freedom, but we really only extended it to an absurd conclusion in the person of Trump.”

Within Reach: The transgender community fights for health care.

New AI System Predicts How Long Patients Will Live With Startling Accuracy.

* A nice reading of one of the better Black Mirror episodes not many people are talking about, “Hang the DJ.”

* Porn and the bomb, by the numbers.

It has been 33 years since the last month that the globe was cooler than normal, according to NOAA.

How Sierra and a Disgraced Cop Made the Most Reactionary Game of the 90s.

* De Witt Douglas Kilgore reviews Race and Popular Fantasy Literature: Habits of Whiteness at LARB.

9 Times People Were Actually Murdered By Their Clothes.

* What radicalized you? Calvin and Hobbes.

* And a happy, happy birthday to the Dax symbiont, born in 2018.

Spring Syllabi! Animals! Television! Animals!

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First Day of School Links!

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* Some late but very nice press for my Octavia Butler book: I was on an episode of the nationally syndicated radio show Viewpoints Radio this week, and the book had a lovely review in LARB!

CFP: Artificial Life: Debating Medical Modernity (April 19-21, UC Riverside).

* $75 million dollars to philosophy at Johns Hopkins.

* And on the pedestal these words appear.

12 People Face Misdemeanor Charges for Giving Food to The Homeless in El Cajon.

A girl-power moment for Medieval Times, where a woman has the lead for the first time. I have wanted to take my kids to Medieval Times ever since listening to the Doughboys episode about it a few months ago.

* Like the story about the sexual assaults of the US gymnastics team, there is something about Eliza Dushku’s story of being abused as a child by adults who were trusted with her care that is just so heartbreaking.

* Meanwhile, McKayla Maroney is facing a $100,000 for violating her NDA with USA Gymnastics.

A list of the teen-sex movies that I grew up on in the late 1970s/ 1980s. Keep in mind: Every one of these was considered a *comedy.*

‘Every day I am crushed’: the stateless man held without trial by Australia for eight years.

* ICE Keeps Raiding Hospitals and Mistreating Disabled Children. Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws. DHS and DOJ Want to Arrest Mayors of Sanctuary Cities.

How one employee ‘pushed the wrong button’ and caused a wave of panic. America’s emergency notification systems were first built for war, and then rebuilt for peace. A false alarm in Hawaii shows that they didn’t anticipate how media works in the smartphone era. These are fascinating but I still have every confidence that the explanation we have been given for this event is bullshit and that the truth will come out in a decade or so. Pandemonium and Rage in Hawaii.

* “Wisconsin school apologizes for slavery homework assignment.”

* Foxconn boondoggle nearing $4.5 billion.

* “Almost 35 years ago, she let a stranger hold her newborn. It has haunted her ever since.”

Activists charged with Confederate statue toppling no longer face felonies.

Chelsea Manning files to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland.

The True History of Luke Skywalker’s Monastic Retreat.

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea.

How the Female Stars of The Breakfast ClubFought to Remove a Sexist Scene, and Won.

* Tired of winning. So tired.

* And of course you had me at “Gorgeous Images of the Planet Jupiter.”

Last Weekend Before Classes Links!

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* CFP: Granfalloon: A Kurt Vonnegut Gathering. MLA 2019 CFP: Stephen King at 45. Call for applications: The S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship.

* A special issue of Palimpsest on The Life and Work of Octavia E. Butler.

* Staging Octavia Butler in Abu Dhabi. Parable of the Butler as an opera.

Syllabus: Good Grief: Humor and Tragedy in Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature.

There has not in living memory been a better time to be a fascist. We live in a utopia: it just isn’t ours.

American kids are 70 percent more likely to die before adulthood than kids in other rich countries.

* Very nice long read in the Guardian on what depression is and isn’t.

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance.

* Black Mirror did this one already: Future biotechnology could be used to trick a prisoner’s mind into thinking they have served a 1,000 year sentence, a group of scientists have claimed.

* The 90s, World War II, and the War on Terror. Great little bit of cultural analysis in comic form, derived from a Chris Hayes essay from 2006.

* Tiny books of the resistance.

* Can the humanities be defended? Well, it depends.

The best way to remember 2017 will surely be through the stories it told about what might come after.

The Fierce Urgency of “How.”

Trump’s offshore drilling plan defies ‘wishes of every coastal state, city and county.’ Insurance after climate change. Welcome to West Port Arthur, Texas, Ground Zero in the Fight for Climate Justice. Climate change and the global south. A Radical New Scheme to Prevent Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise.

UBI already exists for the 1%. A Simple Fix for Our Massive Inequality Problem.

5 things to know about Puerto Rico 100 days after Hurricane Maria.

But the most notable difference in the table is political: no public institution with a Democratic governor chose Vance; only one public institution with a Republican governor chose Coates (the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga). Hillbilly Elegy is the kind of book you want parents and politicians to know students are reading to persuade white, Midwestern Republicans to feel good about releasing funds to support higher education. If you are running a flagship state university campus like the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and your Republican governor and legislature have come after funding and tenure, you are more than happy to choose Vance’s book.

* The woman behind the “Shitty Men in Media” list. How I Learned to Look Believable. Why Dan Harmon’s sexual-misconduct confession is actually worth listening to.

* “Every single neighbor I’ve had has died of cancer.” This Town Is So Toxic, They Want It Wiped off the Map.

* This is not to garner pity for sad trannies like me. We have enough roses by our beds. It is rather to say, minimally, that trans women want things too. The deposits of our desire run as deep and fine as any. The richness of our want is staggering. Perhaps this is why coming out can feel like crushing, why a first dress can feel like a first kiss, why dysphoria can feel like heartbreak. The other name for disappointment, after all, is love. On Liking Women.

Justice Department Announces Court Order Revoking Naturalized Citizenship, Citing Fingerprint Issue. Washington state AG sues Motel 6 over giving ICE info on 9,000 guests. 200,000 Salvadorans may be forced to leave the U.S. as Trump ends immigration protection. Trump may deport thousands of Indian H-1B visa holders as they wait for green cards. To fulfill Trump’s vision on immigration, sheriffs are trampling over constitutional principles. The head of ICE is calling for mayors and local city councilmen to be arrested. Private Prison Continues to Send ICE Detainees to Solitary Confinement for Refusing Voluntary Labor. ICE to move forward with deportation of paraplegic boy’s caregiver. When Deportation Is a Death Sentence. Trump Puts the Purpose of His Presidency Into Words. And of course.

* The university after Trump.

This is how nuclear war with North Korea would unfold.

If the President Is Uniquely Dangerous, Treat Him That Way.

* Child protective services and artificial intelligence.

* The Dogecoin century.

* The end of computer security. An amazing coincidence.

* How students pay for graduate school.

* Bringing back indentured servitude. Let’s let kids mortgage their social security while they’re at it.

We Finally Know Why People Are Left- Or Right-Handed.

The case for (and against) the tiger living on LSU’s campus.

College football has the money to pay players. The College Football Playoff proves it.

* North Carolina gerrymander ruled illegal, again.

* Living with Slenderman.

You Won’t Live to See the Final Blade Runner Movie.

* #MeToo, Inc.

Uh Oh—CRISPR Might Not Work in Most People.

* The law, in its majestic equality.

* Roads to nowhere.

* Police departments nationwide agree: guns officially have more rights than people.

* Solo, oh no. Star Wars fatigue is real. Why So Many Men Hate The Last Jedi But Can’t Agree on Why. The Last Jedi and fandom. The best anti-Last-Jedi piece I’ve seen. Poe Dameron apologetics.

* Teaching the controversy the Duke way.

* Marxism and Nintendo? I love my Switch, so anything that keeps me from not feeling too bad about owning it… Nintendo’s Resurgence Was the Best Tech Story of 2017. More at MetaFilter.

* Airline travel has become so safe even I’m barely afraid of it anymore.

Southwest Flips on Big Three Airlines in Cartel Case.

* Boomeranging the boomerang effect.

* Web comic of the month: “Three Jumps.”

* The Handmaid’s Tale after Margaret Atwood.

* Fox (TV) after Disney.

* Flight of the Conchords forever.

* The coping economy.

* Stop speculating about Trump’s mental health.

* Segregation today.

* The end of the Mickey Mouse Copyright Era? We’ll see.

* Hamilton in London. Hamilton in Milwaukee. Next up: Saga, the Musical?

As for the bots themselves, #R2DoubleD and #TripleCPU are indeed a very cool sight to behold but (in my opinion) don’t come close to anything ever approaching “arousing.”

* Carrie Fisher’s private philosophy coach.

* google Uno truth

* Updated rules for Settlers of Catan.

* Choose Your Own Adventure, in graph form. Interactive map of every Quantum Leap time jump.

* What happens to the mind under anesthesia?

* Know your airport codes.

* The rise of the machines.

* In fact, it’s cold as hell.

* And you’ve already seen it, but just for the record. Almost been one year. Trump Has Created Dangers We Haven’t Even Imagined Yet. There’s no way out.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 13, 2018 at 10:00 am

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Nothing Changes on New Year’s Day Links

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* Call for Papers: Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene.

* People that found their doppelgängers in art museums.

We are often told that we need to articulate the case for the humanities in order to survive the current budgetary and political landscape. Many of us stutter and stumble when confronted with such requests, mumbling some barely audible phrases involving “skills,” “relevance,” “a changing economy,” “engagement,” and “values.” The reason it does not come out as something coherent or articulate, much less compelling, is that the ideas behind the words are just as hollow, and we know it. Somewhere inside we all know that there is no case for the humanities.

* George Ciccariello-Maher Resigns: “We are all a single outrage campaign away from having no rights at all.” Iowa senator proposes bill decried as ‘political litmus test’ for universities. A note to tenured faculty.

Meet the black architect who designed Duke University 37 years before he could have attended it.

* J.R.R. Tolkien, Beyond Good and Evil.

* “The midichlorians are an example of my overarching argument about The Prequels: that they contain a very nuanced story told very, very incompetently.”

* What was Leia supposed to do in Episode 9?

* Teach the controversy: the legend of Mark Hamill’s face.

* Another profile of the worst job on the Internet.

* NANO issue 12, a special issue on The Force Awakens.

* Ada 12, radical speculation and Ursula K. Le Guin.

* What if Parents Loved Strangers’ Children As Much As Their Own?

* Anomie. Quantum Mechanics. Love. Stotting. Zeno. Choice paralysis. Frosty. Melville. Poetry. Keep scrolling!

Unearthing the Capitalocene: Towards a Reparations Ecology.

* There is just no bottom.

* Killed by swatting.

* Why Is a Small Montana Town a Hotbed of Far-Right Activity? Emboldened white nationalists? Look no further than this liberal Oregon college town.

Price of 40-year-old cancer drug hiked 1,400% by new owners.

US nuclear tests killed far more civilians than we knew.

New research suggests that the hidden cost of developing nuclear weapons were far larger than previous estimates, with radioactive fallout responsible for 340,000 to 690,000 American deaths from 1951 to 1973.

* The robots are coming.

Obamacare and the survival test.

How to crush Trump.

How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America. Extreme poverty in America. World’s richest 500 see their wealth increase by $1tn this year. The U.S. without pensions. No ‘Easy Answer’ To Growing Number Of Stray Dogs In The U.S., Advocate Says. Long after Trump is gone, we’ll still be fighting him. As Wildfires Raged, Insurers Sent in Private Firefighters to Protect Homes of the Wealthy. Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong. Death in an Amazon dumpster. The homeless and the coming cashless economy.

* Addiction, Inc.

Why Has Science Only Cured One Person of HIV?

* Same: Young American Men Are Choosing Video Games Over Work in Staggering Numbers. WHO to recognize gaming disorder as mental health condition in 2018.

* I’m starting to take this stuff personally: Poor social skills may be harmful to health.

* I mean really. Why Are Smart People Usually Ugly?

* Academics ‘face higher mental health risk’ than other professions.

* Atheism is caused by poor breath control.

The Rise and Fall of the Racist Right.

* Every Black Mirror. Against SNL. Against Star Wars. Disney Apparently Expects ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ To Bomb. How Star Wars Was Saved in the Edit.

When Michael Jackson Almost Bought Marvel.

Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme. How We Know It Was Climate Change. And just because there can never be a single moment’s peace from toxic masculinity: Men Resist Green Behavior as Unmanly.

Can humanity make peace with its death?

* Seinfeld: The Point and Click Adventure.

The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth.

* A world without prisons.

Private Prison Companies Are About to Cash In on Trump’s Deportation Regime.

* Marquette in the ne — oh no, this again?