CFP: MLA 2017 Session, Science Fiction’s Countercultures

Dangerous Visions: Science Fiction’s Countercultures

In the introduction to the chapter on “Countercultures” in his edited volume The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction (2014), Rob Latham asserts that “Science fiction has always had a close relationship with countercultural movements” (383). The alternative worldmaking capacities of SF&F, in other words, has long had resonances in the sub- and countercultural movements of the past few centuries, “especially,” as Latham qualifies and expands, “if the allied genre of the literary utopia [and, we might add, the dystopia] is included within” the orbit of SF.

This session, for the 2017 MLA conference, to be held in Philadelphia, PA, seeks papers that probe Latham’s assertion of SF’s relationship to countercultural movements.

“Dangerous Visions”—which references the 1967 story collection of the same name edited by Harlan Ellison, a cornerstone of the American New Wave of SF—encourages submissions on the place of the New Wave in the American counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. But the panel does not seek to restrict extrapolations of Latham’s assertions, particularly regarding the historical and geographic bounds of the term “countercultural.”

Papers proposed to the panel, then, might address the countercultural forces of the following topics, broadly conceived, or take their own unique direction:

  • pulp magazines
  • SF and the Literary Left
  • the New Wave (American or British)
  • cyberpunk
  • British Boom
  • contemporary/world SF
  • postcolonial SF
  • (critical) utopias/dystopias
  • SF as counterculture
  • SF beyond “science fiction”
  • SF comics, films, television

To respond to the session CFP please follow the MLA’s guidelines, available here: https://apps.mla.org/callsforpapers.

The official CFP for “Dangerous Visions: Science Fiction’s Countercultures” on the MLA website is available here: https://apps.mla.org/cfp_detail_8510.

Please send 200-300 words abstracts, as well as a brief professional bio, to me at guynesse@msu.edu. Or you may use may use the contact page on my website (seanguynes.wordpress.com).

Abstracts and bios are due by March 10, 2016. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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