From the President
Thank you, thank you, thank you for a successful and stimulating SFRA21! It was an amazing conference, technical snafus and all, and it made me tremendously grateful to be a part of this community. People attending the business meeting and the banquet have heard my thanks already, possibly twice, but I wanted to extend one more round of appreciation to Graham Murphy for organizing such a terrific event; to Keren Omry for working such magic with the schedule; to everyone on the executive committee who pitched in in so many ways; to Carma Spence for her help with the website and design work; to the three amazing keynotes for their stellar presentations; to Aisha Matthews for her generous help both public-facing and behind-the scenes; to Lisa Yaszek, De Witt Kilgore, Isiah Lavender, and Taryne Taylor for the bracing and honest bias and belonging roundtable; to the panelists on the and to Ida Yoshinaga, Ali Sperling, and Bernie Mendoza for the terrific job workshop. I also wanted to extend some personal thanks to Lisa Yaszek, Isiah Lavender, Ida Yoshinaga, Sonja Fritszsche, Taryne Taylor, Sherryl Vint, and Bodhi Chattopadhyay, among others, for their counsel and good advice.
One of the things we’ve learned from this strange year is that some of the structures that govern SFRA are no longer working as well as we’d like them to, especially with regard to representation of its many different stakeholder groups. Following up on our robust conversation at the business meeting, we are exploring some possible changes to the composition of the executive committee that we hope to speak with the membership more about soon. Some of these changes will be customary; others of them would potentially require a vote of the membership to alter the bylaws. But we will have a robust comment period before we do anything; we certainly want anything that happens to reflect the will of the entire group. Our goal is to promote an SFRA that better represents the diversity of its membership, in every sense.
In the meantime, thanks to all those who have stepped up to serve on the awards committees, and to those who will be standing for election to the executive board this fall. We are still looking for help with design work for the new plaques and trophies; if you have experience with this sort of 3D design, or know someone who does, please, reach out to me! We are also still looking for a US-based host for the 2023 conference; if you think your institution might be a good fit for an in-person conference, and think you have the capacity to work with the group to plan one, please, let me know! Thanks again to all those whose labor and generosity help make SFRA work.
From the President
Michigan State University
With the May 1 deadline for SFRA21 proposals in the rear view, the next step is putting together the schedule. With more than the usual number of participants across multiple timezones, this is more of a challenge than usual—but we’re hoping to have this information to you very quickly! In the meantime, please pay attention to your email and to the sfra.org website for information on conference registration, access, and other logistics; if you have any questions that aren’t addressed there, please direct them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the organizer, Graham Murphy, at email@example.com.
We are all very excited about the conference, even as we are filled with nervous energy around the experimental format! We hope the ten-minute “mini-paper” roundtable format we’ve selected will be a success and ask that everyone please try their best to stick within these guidelines as they prepare their papers; I know the temptation to take just an extra couple of minutes will be strong, but we really want to leave as much time for questions and conversation as possible. If you find you have more to say, please take advantage of the opportunity to precirculate your paper. This system worked very well at ICFA and I think it will work well at SFRA too.
After the conference we will be turning our attention to the exec elections; we will be electing a new vice president and new treasurer this fall. If you think you might be willing to serve, please email me for more information! We will also be seeking out new members for the various award committees; if you think you might be willing to serve the organization in this capacity, please contact me as well.
In the meantime, everyone stay well, and power through the end of term as best you can! It’s been a year.
From the President
After a year without a conference, I couldn’t be more excited for SFRA 2021—though of course I wish the event could be in person. We are hoping to build a flexible virtual format that will produce the lively encounters we are used to without asking too much from our presenters or audiences and without producing Zoom fatigue; we are learning from what other organizations have already done and from what IAFA is planning to do, but if you have ideas that could help us make this unusual conference format a success, or just want to help, please don’t hesitate to get involved!
On behalf of both the planning committee and the entire executive committee, I want to express again our collective regret for the way the lack of diversity on the original conference keynote let this community down, and our dedication to making repair. Without belaboring the point or adding any caveats, special pleadings, or explanations: We screwed up, and we are sorry. And the conference will be better and stronger because people had the courage to let us know and hold us accountable to the commitments we have made. The full, expanded keynote lineup will be released soon (and may even beat this President’s Note to press), as will additional details of some of the antiracist pedagogy workshops we plan to hold at the event. My home department held a version of these workshops with the Black Student Council at Marquette last summer and the dialogue was truly transformative for our program; I hope this can be the start of similarly productive and generative conversations for SFRA. Thanks again to those who reached out and called on us to live out the mission of the organization; we know that wasn’t easy, and we’re sorry it was necessary.
As always, let me know about events and CFPs I can promote on social media; best way to reach me is an @ or direct message to @sfranews or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you in July!
From the President
This note is a bit bittersweet: we should be coming off the high of our 2020 annual conference, but instead we all remain subject in varying degrees to a global regimen of social distancing and isolation that is now entering its fifth month. This situation is wearing on all of us; even as we begin our preparations for the 2021 conference in earnest we have to wonder what the world will actually look like a year from now, and if Americans will even be welcome in Canada by then. With luck and in hope, we’ll all be able to see each other in Toronto…
In the meantime, my thoughts turn to celebration and gratitude. I wanted to commend again the winners of the 2020 SFRA Awards:
- SFRA Award for Lifetime Contributions to SF Scholarship: Sherryl Vint
- SFRA Innovative Research Award: Susan Ang
- Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service: Wu Yan
- Mary Kay Bray Award for best SFRA Review review: Erin Horáková and Rich Horton
- Student Paper Award: Conrad Scott and honorable mention Erin Cheslow
- SFRA Book Award: Xiao Liu
I invite you all to read the committee and awardee statements elsewhere in this issue. I also wanted to extend on behalf of the entire organization our thanks to the committees who selected these winners, especially the chairs, who will now be rotating off after a job well done; thanks therefore to Joan Gordon, Joan Haran, Pawel Frelik, Katherine Bishop, and Pete Sands.
Katherine Bishop, who has been our organization’s volunteer webmaster for the last three years, deserves an additional round of even more special thanks as she steps down from the post with all our gratitude. A new web director will be recruited very shortly; please stay tuned to the website and the listserv for more information on that if you think this might be a good way for you to contribute. In the meantime: thank you Katherine!
Finally, I wanted to recognize the amazing work Sean Guynes has done not only as editor-in-chief of the journal but most recently in the wonderful redesign work he has done for both the Review in general and the Review’s website in particular. The facelift has positioned SFRA Review very well to continue to expand its reach online; thank you Sean!
I could continue to thank people, but I will cut myself off here. Please, as we move into what is ordinarily a fairly quiet period for the organization, post-conference, let me know if there are events we can promote or calls for papers we can circulate. This is especially true for digital events: between the recent Cyberpunk and Zoomposium digital scholarship events our membership is finding creative ways to meet when we can’t meet—and I’d like to support that however I can.
Stay healthy, stay well!
From the President
It’s my pleasure to write my first SFRA President’s letter in the impossibly distant future of 2020, a number I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing as the actual year. I’ve been getting back up to speed on what’s been going on with the organization since my term as VP ended and I am looking forward to some truly great years for SFRA ahead, including our upcoming conferences in Bloomington, Toronto, and Oslo. Before anything else, a few thanks are in order: thanks to Keren Omry for serving as president for the last three years and serving as immediate past president for the next three, and thank you to Jenni Halpin for her absolutely indispensable service as SFRA secretary this last term. Thanks also to Pawel Frelik, whose improbably long term as immediate past president has now finally come to an end, to our great regret! While we’re at it, thanks to Sonja Fritzsche, Hugh Charles O’Connell, Katherine Bishop, and Sean Guynes, who I’m very excited to be working with on the executive committee the next few years.
I’d also like to thank Rebekah Sheldon, Graham Murphy, and Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay for all the work they have done, are doing, and will do over the next few years on behalf of the organization in hosting a conference. Having done it recently, I know it is no small thing! We are all very much in your debt.
Finally, I’d like to note the work done by Sean Guynes, Jeremy Brett, and Hal W. Hall to make the early years of the SFRA Review available digitally. With the help of the Cushing Library at Texas A&M, Hall’s personal collection of the first thirty issues of what was then called SFRA Newsletter is now available at the journal’s website. This is a terrific boon not only to our scholarship but to our organization’s understanding of its own history, so we are incredibly grateful for those who went above and beyond to make this happen.
It’s a very exciting time for SFRA, and I’m looking forward to working with you on our shared projects in the coming year. One thing we’ll be looking to do is continue to grow and internationalize the membership, as well as forge new connections and partnerships with adjacent disciplinary organizations. If you have ideas about ways we might accomplish that, or would be interested in serving as a local country rep, please, contact me! I’m also always open to any ideas that you may have about making SFRA a stronger and better scholarly organization; please, send me an email, anytime… Thanks all! See you in the next Review.