From the SFRA Executive Committee
From the Vice President
The burgeoning excitement for our annual summer conference, evidenced by greater numbers of paper and panel proposals received for last year’s vibrant gathering in Oslo, and now for the upcoming Dresden 2023 meeting (including those submitted by in-person attendees of the latter), invigorates again the pressing question of how to expand science-fiction studies past our default Western and Global North circuits, to encompass speculative-fiction production and reception in other parts of the world.
From suggestions by members of our SFRA country representatives group, by our general membership, and by global CoFutures colleagues in Norway, we on the Executive Council have expanded these representatives to include SFRA members from China (Regina Kanyu Wang), Ireland (Thomas Connolly, pulling double duty as webmaster), Portugal (Tânia Cerqueira and Manuel José Sousa Oliveira), the Philippines (Gabriela Lee, also our At-Large Executive Committee member), in addition to adding reps of our Australia group (Yimin Xu).
Welcome representatives! If you’ve suggestions for more dedicated SFRA folk who can meet virtually 3-4 times a year; share what’s going on with sf production in their own regions, nations, or languages (such as conferences, publications, events, and trends); and advise the EC on ideas for the international future of the organization among other matters, please contact Hugh O’Connell, myself, or other members of the EC.
Here’s our current list of country reps: https://sfra.org/country-representatives/
At the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts a few months ago in March, the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts BIPOC Caucus held sessions on exploring global methodologies and theories for speculative genre and media. Inspired by the annual theme that underscored contributions from Africanfuturism and Afrofuturism to our evolving discourse on fantastic and speculative arts, as well as by cross discussions that have been arising in Indigenous Futurism and Latinx Futurism, the Caucus has been trying to reach beyond the standard Suvinian and Todorovian conceptualizations of our family of non-real and semi-real genres. Researchers Suparno Banerjee, Nicola Hunt, Taryne Taylor, Candice Thornton, and Guest Scholar Isiah Lavender III discussed topics such as postcolonial and Indigenous terminologies, translation challenges, diversity of regional production, and continuity of spirituality in transnational diaspora.
This August, we expect that both the Executive Committee’s sponsored sessions will follow these worldwide sf themes. They are: two professional-development panels for early-career scholars, including one made up of international postdocs and graduate students looking for work in the global job market; and one diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging session themed to decolonial and Indigenous Futurist speculative methodologies and related research protocols. Additionally, panel proposals accepted include one similar to the ICFA global theories/methods discussion, put together by German cultural studies scholar Sonja Fritzsche and her colleagues from Peter Lang Publishing’s World Science Fiction Series (on which board I happen to belong).
What is world science fiction? Hoping you can share your mindful, enriching responses this summer with us at TU Dresden, “disrupting” conventional imagination.