CFP for MLA 2018: Creative Economies of Science Fiction

MLA 2018 CFP
4-7 January 2018
New York City, NY

Institutions, Markets, Speculations:
Creative Economies of Science Fiction

This panel builds on recent interest in literary institutions, as evidenced for example in Mark McGurl’s The Program Era (Harvard UP, 2009), and dovetails with older investments in the literary marketplace with which literary institutions are necessarily imbricated, to question the place of science fiction (SF) in literary history by looking at its relationship with literary institutions and markets.

This panel for the 2018 MLA convention asks how, in other words, literary institutions—publishers, magazines, book series, anthologies, awards, conventions, writing groups, bookstores, archives, academic and popular critical venues, and so on—impacted the development of SF and how the relationship between literary institutions and SF was mediated by the social, political, and economic forces of cultural production? This panel finally asks what is the shape of SF’s creative economies and what are its positions within the large formations of the literary and cultural marketplace?

To draw further on McGurl for an example, panelists might ask whether the postwar expansion of creative writing programs and the growth of a cohort of professionally trained creative writers led to the interest in “literary” genre fiction, such as slipstream SF, and how in response the literary market has come to categorize such fiction as “literature” as opposed to “science fiction.” Alternatively, panelists might explore the role that awards like the Nebula and Hugo, or “Best of…” anthologies, played in crafting an SF canon.

Papers submitted for consideration to the panel should ultimately be interested in asking the framing question: What is the place of literary institutions and literary markets in the history of SF? Competitive papers will also demonstrate the ways in which studying SF (or popular genre fiction more generally) might be useful to expanding work on literary institutions and markets.

Science fiction should be broadly understood for the purpose of this panel as moving across media, language, nation, market, brow, etc.

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

The official CFP for “Institutions, Markets, Speculations: Creative Economies of Science Fiction” on the MLA website is available here: https://apps.mla.org/cfp_detail_10014.

Please send 200-300 words abstracts, as well as a brief professional bio, to Sean A. Guynes at guynesse@msu.edu.

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

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