IAFA Online Conference
October 7-9, 2022
“The Global Fantastic”
Guest of Honor: Tananarive Due
Guest Scholar: Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay
For a very long time, the fantastic and its spectrum of genres—science fiction, fantasy, horror, old and new weird, and others—has been perceived as very white and very English and French. The privileged circulation of texts by authors rooted in these two languages has been largely responsible for this condition, but the bias was also perpetuated by the international scholarship on these genres. Moreover, while the attention to Western authors and texts is definitely part of the problem, it can be argued that the very ways in which the conceptions of genres were originally formulated also contributed to the predominance of the Anglo-American (and, in some cases, Francophone) bias.
Things have changed, and, in 2022, attention has turned to the global fantastic that extends beyond a handful of former colonial centers. Several interrelated—albeit not necessarily mutually reinforcing—factors have been responsible for the new fantastic geography. First, the global spread of neoliberal capitalism, of which culture industries are an integral part, has seeded elements of Western imaginaries and transplanted models of production around the globe but also carved out opportunities for interaction with many local artists and creators. Second, the arrival and spread of digital technologies has dramatically expanded and democratized production and distribution of cultural texts, among which the broadly understood fantastic accounts for a sizable share. Most importantly, a range of political and cultural transformations going beyond storytelling has fostered a slow but steady realization that the category of the fantastic in general, and the genres of science fiction and fantasy in particular, can mean very different things in different places, and that a range of fantastic traditions has long flourished in many nations and regions around the world. This new lens reconfigures an understanding of not just the contemporary cultural landscape but allows for a discovery and recuperation of past traditions of the fantastic in the countries beyond the Anglo-French axis.
It is thus very apt that our inaugural October online conference, open to both regular ICFA attendees and those who cannot, for any reason, come to in-person events, should focus on the global fantastic to bring these traditions to the forefront.
The Guest of Honor is Tananarive Due, the winner of the American Book Award for The Living Blood (2001), the author of a dozen other speculative and mystery novels, and a film historian with expertise in Black horror. The Guest Scholar is Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay (University of Oslo), an internationally recognized scholar of global fantastic and the leader of the prestigious European Research Council grant “CoFutures: Pathways to Possible Presents.”
We invite paper proposals responding to, but not limited to, the following thematic areas and topics:
non-Anglophone fantastic of the Global North
local varieties of Western genres
the fantastic produced in languages other than English
slipstreams and interstitial genres
non-Western genres of the fantastic
postcolonial fantastic imaginaries
non-Western media production in the fantastic: film, short film, television, video games
theories of the fantastic beyond the Global North
Proposals not related to the conference theme are also welcome. The submission portal will open on June 1, 2022 - please watch out for the link in the next publicity blast. The deadline for proposals is June 30, 11:59 a.m. EST.
For a list of the IAFA Divisions and Division Heads, see https://iaftfita.wildapricot.org/Division-Heads.
CFP for Journal of Tolkien Research: a special issue on "Tolkien's Animals" growing out of our successful "Tolkien & the Medieval Animal" session at Kalamazoo's International Congress on Medieval Studies. This special issue seeks articles from a variety of theoretical perspectives, addressing a wide range of animals, and not necessarily connected with medieval conceptions. See attached PDF for more information.
In line with this year's GIFCon theme, Mapping the Impossible journal is seeking submissions from students (undergraduate, postgraduate, and recent graduate) for the second issue, "Fantasy Across Media." Read more about the submission guidelines at https://fantasy-research.gla.ac.uk/index.php/submissions/. The deadline is June 30th.
Edited Volume on Disney and the Middle Ages
We invite proposals for an edited collection of essays on medievalism in Disney media for Brepols’ new series Reinterpreting the Middle Ages: From Medieval to Neo. The Walt Disney Company's films, theme parks, and merchandise are full of people, places, and things coded as “medieval,” and because Disney's medievalism is often coded as white and Christian, it is especially relevant to medieval studies' ongoing struggle with white supremacy within and outside the field.
We encourage authors to consider the role of the Walt Disney Company in shaping popular perceptions of the Middle Ages, as well as the function of medievalism in Disney’s ideological projects. How does Disney’s medievalist media represent gender, race, religion, disability, and other features of medieval life? What do those representations reveal about modern life as seen and shaped by Disney?
We welcome submissions from a wide variety of disciplines including literary studies, history, religious studies, gender studies, musicology, art history, and film studies. Critical perspectives such as ecocriticism, animal studies, queer theory, critical race studies, disability studies, material culture, and postcolonial theory are also encouraged. In addition, we welcome submissions from non-medievalist scholars with expertise in twentieth- and twenty-first-century media and culture. Proposals of 300 to 500 words should be submitted by email to [email protected] by Friday July 15, 2022. We aim to notify authors about accepted submissions by September 1, 2022. We have been invited to submit this collection for publication in Brepols’ new series Reinterpreting the Middle Ages: From Medieval to Neo.
Please write to the above email address with any questions, or contact Christina M. Carlson ([email protected]), Mariah Cooper ([email protected]), and/or Joshua Parks ([email protected]).
We look forward to hearing from you.