Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘my scholarly empire

A Few Quick Thoughts on BLACK PANTHER I Haven’t Already Seen Elsewhere

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(1) I haven’t seen anyone point out that this was the MCU’s take on a Bond movie, right down to M, Q, a Bond girl, an extraneous mission in Korea, and even a Felix Leiter.

(Updated.)

(2) I loved pretty much everything about the Wakandan world-building; pretty much my only minor quibble there was a slight over-reliance on American idioms (like Shuri giving the finger, or the General saying someone “did not get the memo”). It’s a small thing but it fits into point (4) below about the inability of Marvel to imagine a Wakanda that was genuinely independent from Western hegemony, much less the hegemon of the world that it would actually be.

(2a) I do feel a bit like I want to rewatch the T’Challa scenes from Civil War though because I think there was quite a bit of retconning and reimagining happening here; the later scenes with Cap seem not to have happened, and the earlier position of Wakanda in the United Nations seems a bit hard to square with the treatment here.

(2b) Shuri was awesome, incidentally. I demand a Shuri spinoff.

(3) I’ll leave it to others to say “Killmonger was right” but you really do feel your heart sink in the third act as the Wakandans begin to fight each other. For me the real “heart sink” moment was when the planes started exploding over the Wakandan capital; perhaps it was the presence and participation of Everett Ross but you really feel the gut-wrenching rupture of the Wakandan Afrofuturist utopia in that moment.

(3a) Killmonger was right though.

(4) I also had an unhappy moment of clarity about the prominence of Wakanda in the Infinity War trailer. As some of you know I’ve written a chapter on “Wakanda as Nation” for an upcoming collection called Afrofuturism in Time and Space.

Not to belabor the point, but a few more quick quotes from the chapter:

With regard to Wakanda specifically, this problem of interpretation has only compounded over decades of Marvel comics, which frequently upend Wakanda’s historic inviolability in the name of giving individual Black Panther stories sufficient emotional stakes. Thus an African nation that was never colonized historically becomes, over the long run of Marvel stories, the site of repeated meta-imperial11 incursion, from the U.S., from alien invaders, from supervillains like Dr. Doom, from the Atlantean king Namor the Sub-Mariner… As Ta-Nehisi Coates notes in an interview with the science fiction news website io9, part of his task when he took over Black Panther in 2016 was precisely to reestablish Wakanda as the undefeatable global superpower it was always intended as, but never quite was allowed to be.

[…]

We see a similar contradiction in the depiction of Wakandan trade, which has the effect of eroding and destroying Wakandan traditions through Western influence even as Wakanda is ostensibly the more powerful trading partner in this equation—replicating the colonial narrative but with an ahistorical logic that takes the superiority of Western values as axiomatic (and totally untied to the West’s brutal practices of invasion and domination). Already by the 1970s, Black Panther is unsure whether he has done the right thing in entering foreign markets at all, wondering if the reforms he and his father have instituted in opening Wakanda to the world have actually doomed the country—as are many of his countrymen. It is relatively late in the game that Marvel writers even begin to interrogate the techno-progressivist, secular assumptions behind the foundation of the Wakanda story: that a monarch would actually strip-mine a “sacred” site, the Mound, instrumentalizing its special properties for technological gadgetry and even selling parts of it to the West in the name of economic development, all without any cultural struggle or resistance from the population—much less the nearly magical faith that doing so would make things in Wakanda better rather than worse.

Indeed, by the “Doomwar” storyline of the 2010s, the presence of the vibranium within Wakanda has proved to be such a “resource curse” that the heroic resolution of the story sees T’Challa activate a process he has invented that renders all the vibranium in the world (both inside and outside Wakanda) inert, in order to protect it both from foreign invaders like Dr. Doom but also to break the country’s cruel-optimistic dependence on the resource.

[…]

Here, as always, we see the fundamental tension in Wakanda as both/and/neither/nor, as it has been reproduced again and again across its fictional history: an Afrofuturist vision of African superiority that nonetheless must always be disciplined by final subordination to the West…

So, look back at that Infinity War trailer. Based on my study of fifty years of Black Panther stories for my chapter, I’m feeling very confident that white supremacy will reassert itself here again precisely as it always does in Wakanda stories; we’ll never get to see Wakanda become the global hegemon it by all rights ought to be because it’s going to get catastrophically smashed up beyond all recognition before it gets the chance. Count on it.

Monday Morning Links!

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* If you only read one Star Trek: Discovery postmortem this week, it’s got to be Abigail Nussbaum’s. But if you read too, here’s mine at LARB! No Follow-Through.

* Then this one #3: In Its First Season, Star Trek: Discovery Asked Hard Questions It Never Really Wanted the Answers to.

Original pitch for Star Trek: The Next Generation had a hologram captain. Fake Research Paper Based on Star Trek: Voyager‘s Worst Episode Was Published by a Scientific Journal.

Science Fiction Film and Television 11.1 now available! With a special section on the science fiction of Scarlett Johansson, essays on District 9 and dating simulators, and a review essay on Get Out! 

* A CFP for the “Worlding SF” event in Graz, Austria, next December, with keynotes from Mark Bould, Cheryl Morgan, and me…

* Meanwhile, the 2019 CFP for the MLA’s speculative fiction discussion group, of which I am now the immediate past chair:

Activist Speculation and Visionary Fiction

How “visionary fiction” (Walidah Imarisha’s term for stories imagining “newer, freer worlds”) contributes to speculative fiction theory, pedagogy, practice. 200-word abstract, CV by 16 March 2018 to Alexis Lothian (alothian@umd.edu).

* I got the chance to watch this documentary on Flannery O’Connor last week as part of a Marquette English event. It was great! Can’t wait for it to find a home.

* Nothing but respect for my president.

Horrified Florida students beg the adults: Please, do something about guns.

I have a thing to say about growing up after tragedy.

* On the imperative of content. No one knows.

The goal was to create “products,” which could then be monetized, but according to Leslie, who took over oversight of the institute in 2015, “There was not the foundation of a business plan” at the institute’s inception. This is perhaps not surprising, given that the “Framework for Excellence” which midwifed the Institute was literally dreamed up in two days by Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and his advisors and passed by the regents “without asking a single question.”

* We should just create “incentive” / punishment structures that force college presidents to retire at 64 1/2, just like they all did to faculty.

When the White Supremacists Come to Campus.

* When the suits killed Barnes and Noble.

* The august sport of (checks notes) curling may never be the same.

* Male privilege is having never thought about this possibility.

Ban The United States From The Olympics.

* Cleaning products as bad for lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, scientists warn.

* How banks block people of color from homeownership.

* ICE really doubling down. Man who called 911 about suspected burglary detained by ICE. He can’t get proper HIV treatment in Venezuela. But he’s being deported anyway. ICE Arrests in the Pacific Northwest Increased 25 Percent in 2017. Washington officials gave activist’s info to ICE. Refusing an interpreter to a deaf detainee. How ICE Works to Strip Citizenship from Naturalized Americans. ICE Arrests Man at a Green Card Interview. Tearing families apart.

* Know your immigration law.

* Like Uber but for human trafficking.

Westchester School Leaves Behind Disabled Students in Fire Evacuation.

This List of Every Reason Banner Hulks Out in the Classic Hulk TV Series Is Hilarious.

  • Receiving a lethal injection, and then having the person say, “Oh. I just gave you a lethal injection. Sorry, David.”
  • Wandering around in the service ducts of a hotel (predating Bruce Willis) only to accidentally yank several of the pipes loose and get a full blast of hot steam
  • Being tied up and fed soup by an elderly Japanese woman who doesn’t
    understand words like “You’ve GOT to cut me loose!”
  • Being thrown under a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade float by a mean guy in a gorilla suit who gives David a few kicks for good measure
  • Receiving a speeding ticket
  • Wandering around inside a carnival funhouse, only to have someone turn on the machinery so that David is somehow caught in a rolling tumbler and flipped over a few times and then thrown down a convenient slide

‘Minecraft’ Data Mining Reveals Players’ Darkest Secrets.

* When Fonzie time-traveled.

* How should we talk about Trump’s brain?

The Security Clearance Situation in the White House Is Bonkers.

* The case for impeaching Clarence Thomas.

Here’s What Critics Are Saying About Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs.

New York Federal judge rules that embedding tweets can violate copyright law.

* Black Panther killed it. Black Panther and the Invention of Africa. Black Panther Is Not the Movie We Deserve. The Man Who Made Black Panther Cool.

Winners of the 2018 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest.

The Donkey Kong Timeline Is Truly Disturbing.

Debullshitifying Uber’s financial statement reveals a hemorrhaging fountain of red ink with no path to profitability.

* Let kids have a sense of control over their own lives. The research is clear, let’s ban homework. In Defense of Picky Eating.

First ship crosses Arctic in winter without an icebreaker as global warming causes ice sheets to melt. Miami could be underwater in your kid’s lifetime as sea level rise accelerates.

* A History of the United American Socialist Republics.

Here’s All 290 Star Wars Movies Officially in Production Right Now.

* I loved this read of “The Voice of the Dolphins” at LARB, but it’s odd that the piece never notes the very strong suggestion in the story that the entire dolphin project was a hoax.

* ImOscar.com.

* What was only a trial run was taken seriously.

* And in a time without heroes: Cow escapes on way to slaughterhouse, smashes through metal fence, breaks arm of man trying to catch her then swims to safety on island in lake.

Happy Valentine’s Day Links!

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* Very excited to welcome Adam Kotsko to Marquette later this week for his talk “Animated Nihilism: Rick and Morty, BoJack Horseman and the Strange Fate of the Adult Cartoon.”

* There was a nice interview with me at the ArchivesAWARE! site, kicking off a new series on Archives and Audiences.

* SFRA Review #323 is out! Check out the details on the upcoming SFRA conference in Milwaukee.

* CFP: The Journal of Dracula Studies. CFP: Žižek Studies special issue on “Žižek: What Went Wrong?”

* The Simpsons: What Went Wrong?

* A science-fiction narrative imagining an alternate universe in which Donald Trump never became President: he’s just a regular guy in New York City.

The Problem With Annihilation’s Messy Release.

Fantastic Beasts and What Could Have Been. They’re really not nailing this.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: The Radical Philosophy Interview.

KSR: Capitalism is still very feudal in its distribution of wealth. One of the great triumphs of Marxist historiography is to describe accurately the transition from feudalism to capitalism, why it happened and the differences. At a presentation I once gave with Jameson, I said something like capitalism is just feudalism liquidified. In the break he said, ‘Kim, it’s actually a big accomplishment for Marxists to be able to describe the change from feudalism to capitalism.’ I then brought up something he had taught me, Raymond Williams’s concept of the residual and the emergent, and said, ‘but there’s a lot more residual than people have imagined.’ That’s one of the only times I saw Fred startled by something I said. Although I think there’s an exchange of ideas between us, mainly he’s the teacher, I’m the student. He’s explained things that I never would have understood, and I treasure him for that. So it was nice to see him think, ‘Mmm, that’s an interesting thought.’

The residuals out of feudalism would be the power gradient and the actual concentration of wealth per se. In the feudal period, kings might not even have been as proportionally rich as top executives are now in relation to the poor. And if peasants weren’t murdered by passing soldiers, they were living with their food source at hand and working a somewhat decent human life. That isn’t largely true now of the dispossessed. So, capitalism is like feudalism in that, but worse.

* The Good Place and Divine Justice. Meet the Philosophers Who Give ‘The Good Place’ Its Scholarly Bona Fides. TV’s Dystopia Boom. Breakfast and Groundhog Day. Rod Serling: human rights activist as science fiction showrunner. Why the Culture wins. Netflix created a monster with its Cloverfield stunt, and Altered Carbon won’t be the last victim. Reproductive Futurism and Its (Dis)contents. Why I barely read SF these days. Against dystopia.

* My Butch Lesbian Mom, Bruce Springsteen.

* The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind. How Academe Breeds Resentment. International Grad Students’ Interest in American Higher Ed Marks First Decline in 14 Years. Columbia University Gets In Bed with Trump. I’m a Stanford professor accused of being a terrorist. McCarthyism is back. How Hard Do Professors Work? Shameless and Hypocrisy at the MLA. And meanwhile, on the Singularity beat: Teaching assistant robots will reinvent academia. Universities in the Age of AI.

Humanities Grads Gainfully Employed and Happy.

White Supremacists Are Targeting College Students ‘Like Never Before.’

* The Olympic hero for our time.

* To U.S. Border Patrol, the Canadian border is 100 miles wide. A good overview of how Trump’s ICE differs, and doesn’t, from Obama’s; the major distinction seems to be empowering street-level officer to make policy-level determinations about enforcement. A Short, Brutal History of ICE. ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump. ICE Grants Stay To Arizona Father Whose 5-Year-Old Son Is Battling Cancer. Kansas chemistry instructor arrested by ICE while taking his daughter to school. ICE detains man at traffic court after DACA status expires, then frees him after outcry. Public Defenders Walk Out Of Bronx Courthouse After College Student Detained By ICE. Cuban immigrant awaiting removal dies in ICE custody. Green card veteran facing deportation starts hunger strike. Trump administration considered testing “abortion reversal” on unwilling prisoner. Give all immigrants the right to vote.

* Know your police rape loopholes.

* How not to die in America. I Had to Bury My 26-Year-Old Son Because He Couldn’t Afford Insulin. Texas Woman Dies Because She Couldn’t Afford $116 Copay. What Aetna did here might not even be illegal.

* America: (Still) Not a Democracy. That’s not to say things still can’t get worse.

* In the richest country in human history.

FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.

* Even the Democrats (still) won’t talk about climate change. Democrats’ ‘Resistance’ to Trump Is Eroding, and So Are Their Poll Numbers. What Happened To The Democratic Wave?

A map of the world after four degrees of warming. There’s even more good news below the map!

An Urgent Crisis of Leadership, Climate, and Water is Unfolding in South Africa.

* And in Kentucky: Sometimes they get no water. Other times just a trickle. Often, they say, their water is so discolored it resembles milk or Kool-Aid or beer.

The African Anthropocene.

* Floods and pollution.

* Just six months from victory in Afghanistan.

Fitness tracking app Strava gives away location of secret US army bases. Podcast listeners are the advertising holy grail. A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy. slavery.amazon.com. Whole Foods as Amazon Hell. What Amazon Does to Poor Cities.

I’m the Wife of a Former N.F.L. Player. Football Destroyed His Mind. Concussion Protocol.

Here’s Everything We Used to Know About Han Solo’s Early Years. A Primer on All Things Wakanda.

* Monopoly: Cheaters Edition.

Arizona Man Sells His $6.5 Million Ranch Because Of Constant, Violent Alien Attacks.

Supercut of Instagram travel photo clichés. Photos of Total Strangers Pretending to Be in Serious Relationships.

Why is Civilization 5 still more popular than Civilization 6?

* The arc of history is long, but Hot sauce king Billy Mitchell is in danger of having his Donkey Kong records stripped away.

Why Woody Allen hasn’t been toppled by the #MeToo reckoning — yet. This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry.

* Suicide and the opioid epidemic.

* Cancel student debt and grow the economy. Let’s Stop Normalizing Student Debt.

* College compiles first-ever index of slaves and their enslavers in NY. Slavery and the American University.

* Nation of Second Changes: Stories of people who received a pardon from Barack Obama.

* The Alt-Right Is Killing People.

The Median Young Family Has Nearly Zero Wealth.

* #NeverTweet.

Why Antonio Gramsci is the Marxist thinker for our times.

* I call it my brand: Marxism as Organized Sarcasm.

Worf’s Dad Is Repeatedly Disgraced When Predictive Text Writes Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Nintendo’s new cardboard extensions for Switch are blowing users away.

* Case Western in the news!

* Can’t stop the signal: here come the Firefly novels.

* Pets allowed.

‘Speaking’ orca is further proof they shouldn’t be kept captive.

* The mutant crayfish that ate Europe.

* And this guy gets it: Nigel, the world’s loneliest bird, dies next to the concrete decoy he loved.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 13, 2018 at 10:01 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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* I’m heading to Zurich later tonight for the From Human to Posthuman? Ethical Inquiry workshop to be held at the Collegium Helveticum. I’ll be talking about the Anthropocene and various versions of The Time Machine, jumping off my Paradoxa “Global Weirding” essay and a loooong forthcoming piece for a Ralahine Utopian Studies collection on “Science Fiction and Utopia in the Anthropocene.”

Faculty Favorites: Books to Add to Your Shelf This Spring. With a book recommendation from me, among others!

* Marquette’s Center for the Advancement of the Humanities will host a 12-week seminar on the work of Bob Dylan.

* All Hail her most Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Kronos, Regina Andor, All Hail Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius.

* How democracies die.

* Analyzing Elections Since Trump Won the Presidency. Here’s everything Republicans could be doing to stop Trump. Are you a Saturday Night Massacre or a Saturday Night Massacan’t? Trump Launched Campaign to Discredit Potential FBI Witnesses. Trump’s Friends and Advisers Are Terrified of What He Might Say to Mueller. Elite opposition to Trump is collapsing.

* More great Le Guin remembrances from Karen Joy Fowler, Kim Stanley Robinson, adrienne maree brown, Jo Walton, Jacob Brogan, Matthew Cheney, and many others…

* And in a rather Le Guin mode: Read the Into the Black Contest’s Winning Story, Set in a Future Where Economics Are Also Humane.

* I hadn’t realized the Aronofsky adaptation for HBO was cancelled, but MaddAddam is coming to TV, again.

For many years now, tuition-dependent institutions — notably small private colleges and regional public universities — have grappled with such existential questions. Many find themselves in a difficult, complex market, with rising costs in operations, pressure to keep tuition down, increasing competition, an insufficient supply of traditional-age students, and national doubts over the value of college. Naturally, those factors have prompted many observers to take a dour view of the institutions’ future. Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded higher education’s outlook from “stable” to “negative,” noting that demographic challenges, weak revenue growth, and rising labor costs will bedevil colleges in the near term.

* Life transformed into data is life permanently mobilized for capital.

We Are Truly Fucked: Everyone Is Making AI-Generated Fake Porn Now.

As ICE Targets Immigrant Rights Activists for Deportation, Suspicious Vehicles Outside Churches Stoke Surveillance Fears. ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US.

Research has identified embedded racism in IQ tests. Now, prosecutors in at least eight states are using that research—to legalize more executions.

Prisons, as the journalist Tom Wicker once wrote, “have a dual function: to keep us out as well as them in.”

On the fifth floor of a beloved New York institution, the @AMNH, the remains of 12,000 people sit in cabinets and cardboard boxes.

The female price of male pleasure.

* The gig economy and sexual harassment.

* They should carve Aly Raisman’s entire statement into the walls of the lobby of every athletic organization in the world.

* Post-Presidency Benefits at Michigan State. NCAA president Mark Emmert was alerted to Michigan State sexual assault reports in 2010.

Democrats Paid a Huge Price for Letting Unions Die.

* Some monkey news: First Primate Clones Produced Using the “Dolly” Method. 10 Monkeys and a Beetle: Inside VW’s Campaign for ‘Clean Diesel.’ Paris zoo evacuated after 52 baboons escape enclosure.

* Trump vs. migratory birds. Trump vs. the air itself.

* Oh no.

The world’s richest 2000 billionaires could wipe out extreme poverty with one seventh of what they gained last year.

Ghost towers: half of new-build luxury London flats fail to sell.

State of the climate: how the world warmed in 2017.

* A world without Holocaust survivors.

* A world without football.

* There’s only one story and we tell it over and over.

The Short-Lived Normalization of Breastfeeding on Television.

* On the greatness of Swastika Night.

* California doing its best to prove the libertarians right.

And are Dungeons & Dragons Players in a Cult? These Hilarious Warning Signs From 1989 Prove It.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

Wednesday Links!

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* In case you missed it yesterday: the CFP for SFRA 2018 (7/1-7/4 at Marquette)!

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.”  Rest in peace, Ursula K. Le Guin. The art of fiction. Fantastic.

* CFP: Petrocultures 2018 (Glasgow University).

19 Long-Lost Historical Words You Absolutely Need In Your Life.

A new study finds an alarming rise in a novel form of psychological distress. Call it “neoliberal perfectionism.”

But what if forty years of neoliberalism’s violently reiterated dogma that “there is no alternative” has left us incapable of imagining not only better worlds but also worse ones? On dulltopia.

How Twitter Hooks Up Students With Ghostwriters.

* There are some things no man was meant to know: Should vegetarians assume they can eat French fries?

* Right to work vs. the vote.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat of Niles, accompanied Amer Othman Adi to immigration headquarters Tuesday morning for what they thought would be a routine meeting. Instead, Adi, 57, was jailed and told he would be held until his deportation, which was over a dispute about the validity of his first marriage to an American in 1979.

* ‘I won’t fly refugees to their deaths’: The El Al pilots resisting deportation. Same sex couple sues State Department over decision on son’s citizenship. Border patrol arrests ASU adjunct who gave food and water to immigrants. ICE deporting its own protestors.

* Stochastic terrorism watch: Man threatened to kill CNN employees.

* Autobiographia literaria.

* facebook.jpg

Tourism to U.S. under Trump is down, costing $4.6B and 40,000 jobs.

* The unpaid intern economy.

* Afghan Pedophiles Get Free Pass From U.S. Military, Report Says.”

The report, commissioned under the Obama administration, was considered so explosive that it was originally marked “Secret/ No Foreign,” with the recommendation that it remain classified until June 9, 2042. The report was finished in June 2017, but it appears to have included data only through 2016, before the Trump administration took office.

A New Jersey college fired a professor, claiming they were “immediately inundated” with complaints of “fear” after she defended a BLM event on Fox News. We sued to look at the complaints. Total number of complaints in the first 13 days: one.

* The future is not good: South Korea, gripped by suicide epidemic, criminalizes suicide-pacts.

What I’ve learned from my tally of 757 doctor suicides.

* Illustrated thought experiments.

* Nintendo headquarters, c. 1889.

* Rate My Professor and the adjunct professorate.

* Know your ethical conundrums. Free will. Scalars vs. vectors. When God closes a door, he opens a window.

And when they knew the Earth was doomed, they built a ship.

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).

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.”