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March 2019, Week 4


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Pawel Frelik <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 24 Mar 2019 19:45:31 +0100
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The Senses of Science Fiction: Visions, Sounds, Spaces

An international conference organized by the Speculative Texts and Media 
Research Group, American Studies Center, University of Warsaw

December 5-7, 2019
University of Warsaw, Poland

For most of its history, or at least since the late 19th century, the 
core conversations of science fiction (SF) have not been kind to the 
senses. For different reasons in different decades, the creative 
communities and the critical circles have focused on the genre’s status 
as the supreme expression of western technomodernity, its imbrications 
with the discourses of science and technology, and its subversive 
political potential. While always already present in SF’s structural, 
material, and creative dimensions, the formal, the aesthetic, and the 
sensible have been largely neglected at the expense of the functional, 
the political, and the cognitive. The questions of language and literary 
style have been discussed only with regard to selected writers, such as 
J.G. Ballard or William Gibson, while spectacle in film and television 
has been treated with a degree of suspicion and distrust—as  something 
that dilutes the core values of rigorous speculation. Other less 
narrative media—forms in which the aesthetic plays the central role—have 
received very little or virtually no critical attention. And yet, for 
all its scientific bent and political urgency, science fiction has 
always strived to appeal to the senses and to instill in its audiences a 
sense of the beautiful, the harmonious, and the sublime.

The notion of aisthesis, that is sense perception, has recently regained 
prominence in humanities, playing a significant part in the philosophy 
of speculative realism, the turn towards the posthuman, and the shift 
away from anthropocentrism brought about by the increasingly widely 
embraced paradigm of the Anthropocene. In recognition of this newfound 
appreciation of the aesthetic, this conference seeks to recuperate the 
invisible and forgotten history of the sensible in the cultures of 
science fiction. It also seeks to find new ways of talking about these 
dimensions of SF texts across all media that in one way or another 
appeal to and engage all things sensible: sight, hearing, touch, 
movement, composition, but also smell, taste, auras, and speculative 
senses. Such attentiveness to the sensory in science fiction does not 
entail abandoning narrative, political, or scientific perspectives. 
Indeed, historically, many cultural forms have successfully intertwined 
formal elegance with political agency and emotional appeal with 
philosophical reflection. We believe science fiction is—and has always 
been—among these forms.

While the conference specifically namechecks science fiction, we follow 
in the footsteps of Sherryl Vint, Mark Bould, and John Rieder, treating 
the genre as a practice and a discourse, rather than an object of finite 
parameters. In fact, from a more traditional perspective, many SF texts 
that appeal to the senses as much as to the mind have been generically 
“impure,” borderline, slipstream, or otherwise hybrid.

Possible topics and areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, 
the following:

  * styles and schools in science fiction literature and media
  * aesthetics and politics
  * aesthetics and fantastic identities (race, gender, sexuality)
  * science fiction sublime(s)
  * science fiction art, illustration, graphics
  * science fiction music, radio, and podcasts
  * fantastic architectures: real, visionary, speculative
  * design and typography
  * science fiction and stage arts: theater, opera, dance
  * SF art in/of the Anthropocene
  * outsider art
  * non-western SF aesthetics
  * speculative avant-gardes
  * new materialist perspectives on science fiction
  * affects, senses, and sensations in science fiction
  * hapticity and tactility in science fiction texts
  * immersive worlds of science fiction
  * the virtual and the actual
  * fantastic synaesthesias
  * senses and sensations of SF universes and franchises
  * SF soundscapes in movies, television, music, and games
  * science fiction fashion: upcycling, recycling, DIY, slow fashion,
    haute couture
  * sounds and spaces of Ethnofuturisms: Afrofuturism, Sinofuturism,
    Gulf Futurism, and others
  * material-discursive entanglements of science fiction
  * spatial dis/orientation
  * science fiction aesthetics around the world
  * social inequalities and aesthetic differences

For individual papers, please send proposals of up to 300 words. For 
multiple participant formats (e.g. discussion panels, roundtables, 
etc.), proposals may be up to 500 words long. We also welcome and 
encourage non-traditional forms of participation and presentation: 
performances, lightning presentations (1 slide & 5 minutes), speed 
panels, poster discussions, and others. Pre-formed multiple participant 
panels that are all-male will not be considered for inclusion in the 
conference.  All submissions should be sent to [log in to unmask] 
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>by May 1, 2019. Applicants will receive a 
response by May 15, 2019.

Keynote speakers will be announced in early April 2019, when the 
conference website opens.

Any questions and inquiries can be addressed to [log in to unmask] 
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.

The Organizing Committee:

Filip Boratyn
Jędrzej Burszta
Paweł Frelik (chair)
Agnieszka Kotwasińska
Stanisław Krawczyk
Anna Kurowicka

Pawel Frelik, D.Litt., Ph.D.
Science Fiction Research Association: Immediate Past President
International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts: Science Fiction 
Division Head
Speculative Texts and Media Research Group: Lead

Associate Professor
American Studies Center
University of Warsaw
Al. Niepodleglosci 22
02-653 Warsaw, Poland

Tel.: +48 22 553 3321
Fax: +48 22 553 3322
E-mail: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>; 
[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>

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