[Image courtesy of NASA: International Space Station Expedition 38 (2014)]


CFP: SCIENCE FICTION RESEARCH ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2019

Friday, 21 June - Monday, 24 June 2019

Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii

Conference Theme: Facing the Future, Facing the Past: Colonialism, Indigeneity, and SF

Keynote Speaker: NALO HOPKINSON

  • Author, Brown Girl in the Ring; Midnight Robber; The Salt Roads; The New Moon's Arms
  • Editor, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy (with Uppinder Mehan) and Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction
  • Professor of Creative Writing, University of California, Riverside
  • Special Guest: Leading scholar of indigenous futurisms, DR. GRACE L. DILLON (Anishinaabe)

    Editor, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (2012) & Professor, Indigenous Nations Studies Program, Portland State University

The Science Fiction Research Association invites proposals for its 2019 annual conference, to be held on the campus of Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I ka wā mua, ka wā ma hope” is a Hawaiian proverb that can be translated, “In the past lies the future,” or more literally, “In what is in front of you is found what is behind you.” In the Native Hawaiian way of thinking, according to scholar Lilikalā Kameeleihiwa, “The Hawaiian stands firmly in the present, with his back to the future, and his eyes fixed upon the past, seeking historical answers for present-day dilemmas.” Another way of interpreting this saying might be, you must face the past to prepare yourself for the future. Thinking about this Hawaiian proverb in the context of science fiction brings up questions about ways of knowing, ways of orienting ourselves in time and space, the relation of our notions of the possible to our understanding of history, the ethical and political obligations of our scientific-technological practice in relation to the past and the future, and our expectations of social change as well as our sense of how it comes about.

SFRA 2019 will meet in Hawaii, a set of islands that after two and a half centuries of Western contact has become the world leader in species extinction, while being transformed during the nineteenth century from a wholly self-sustaining civilization into a plantation economy dominated by export crops and ravaged by epidemics that reduced the Native Hawaiian population by 80% or more, and whose political sovereignty was stolen by the settler-controlled and US-military-aided overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. As we plan to meet on this occupied land with its long history of Indigenous resistance to colonial incursion, we welcome papers and panels on the relation of science fiction to colonial history and its ongoing effects, to the contemporary ecological crisis, to issues of political and economic justice, and to past and ongoing visions of the future.

Topics related to the conference theme include the relation of SF to the following:

  • Indigenous Futurism
  • colonial fantasies & indigenous survivance
  • explorers, settlers, & natives
  • indigenization v. cultural assimilation of forms & genres
  • the dynamics of recognition, versions of the colonial gaze
  • the “post” in postcolonialism
  • decolonial speculative fiction
  • the symbiosis of colonialism & capitalism
  • epistemology in the contact zone
  • speculative technologies of resistance
  • Native & regional disruptions of the colonial biopolitical order
  • Indigenous intellectual property in light of transgenics, genetic modification, & other man-made mutations
  • biopolitical imperialism, biopiracy, bioprospecting
  • food security, organic & smart farming
  • ecocriticism & the anthropocene
  • progress v. sustainability
  • estranging empire, rethinking centers and margins
  • world systems & world construction
  • world, nation, & culture: imagined communities & communities of practice

We also welcome papers on topics relevant to science fiction research broadly conceived that are not specifically related to the conference theme, including proposals for preconstituted panels & roundtables.

300-500 word abstracts should be sent to  SFRAHonolulu@gmail.com  or through the Abstract Submission form by 22 March 2019 (extended deadline). Notification of acceptance will occur by 8 April 2019.

Questions concerning this call for papers, preconstituted panels, & roundtables can be directed to SFRAHonolulu@gmail.com with the subject line "CFP QUESTION," or to the conference’s local organizers, John Rieder (rieder@hawaii.edu) and Ida Yoshinaga (ida@hawaii.edu) of the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and Justin Wyble (justin.wyble@chaminade.edu) of Chaminade University.

Graduate students are encouraged to submit abstracts & to attend, regardless of whether they plan to present. As with previous SFRA conferences, the first day of the conference schedule, 21 June 2019, will include roundtables & workshops targeted at early-career teachers or researchers working in SF studies as well as in the study of popular culture more generally.

A conference travel grant is available by applying here. The application is due on 15 April 2019.

You will also need to join SFRA (or renew your membership) in order to register for the conference. For more on registration categories & deadlines, see Conference Registration.


Science Fiction Research Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

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