Call for Chapters: Studies in Jewish Speculative Fiction

Judeofuturism: Histories, Theories, and Possibilities of Jewish Speculative Fiction

Today, anti-Semitic crimes and rhetoric are on the rise, alt-right white nationalists march to the chant “The Jews Will Not Replace Us,” the Russian President claims Jews rigged the 2016 American presidential election, and political organizing on the intersectional left is threatened by confusions between being Jewish and being Zionist, resorting in exclusions of Jews from marches and rallies. At a time like now, new ways of forging and living in a Jewish future, one that embraces the radical diversity both among Jews and in solidarity across and through differences with non-Jews, must be conceived.

Judeofuturism seeks essays for an edited collection that offer both a retrospective on Jewish speculative fiction (sf) to date, and a shofar blow to reckon the possible futures of the Jewish people, in solidarity among ourselves and with others. Like an Afrofuturist practice of “visionary fiction” that imagines blackness as important, if not central, to the making of better futures for the world, Judeofuturism reckons with the painful pasts of world Jewry, the confusing and complex presents of contemporary Jewish belongings, and whatever might become of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness in the seconds, days, years, millennia, and epochs to come.

While anthologists have celebrated sf writing by and about Jews, typically in English, this collection addresses the lacuna on Jewish sf in scholarship on science fiction, fantasy, and horror, as well as on Jewish literary and cultural production. Writers like Michael Chabon, Jack Dann, Avram Davidson, Rose Lemberg, Bernard Malamud, Barry Malzberg, Daniel Jose Older, Malka Older, Cynthia Ozick, Sonya Taaffe, Bogi Takács, William Tenn, Lavie Tidhar, and Jane Yolen—writers long-established and up-and-coming, working across the spectrum of sf, within the mainstream of genre writing, in the slipstream, or in the fold of literary fiction—have been lauded by critics and fans for their speculative work, yet rarely are discussed together, if at all, in the context of a Jewish sf tradition.

Judeofuturism seeks to remedy that. This collection invites scholars to place the study of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in conversation with literatures of the Jewish diaspora and asks what place Jewish sf holds in the Jewish past, present, and future. Attempting to articulate “Judeofuturism” as an artistic category alongside other racially and ethnically shaped understandings of sf like Afrofuturism, Latinxfuturism, and indigenous futurism, this book looks not only to the history of Jewish sf across media and across linguistic, national, and temporal boundaries, but it asks how we might conceive of a Judeofuturist movement that unites and wrestles with the complexities of Jewish being and belonging—then, now, and in the future.

Proposals can cover texts from any medium (prose, poetry, comics, film, television, music, gallery art, performance, etc.), in any language, from any nation or diasporic location. While the collection is open to bringing texts from any time period into the discourse of Judeofuturisms, it emphasizes the breadth and diversity of Jewish sf produced in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Possible topics and problems include:

  • the Jewish radical tradition and political readings of Jewish sf
  • Feminist, queer, anti-racist Judeofuturisms
  • Yiddish, Ladino, Hebrew, and non-English Jewish sf and Judeofuturisms
  • Judeofuturisms and Jewish sf across media
  • Argument-driven (as opposed to overview-style) studies of individual authors or texts
  • Counterreadings of non-Jewish sf that argue for their place in an emergent Judeofuturism
  • anti-Semitism and/in Jewish sf
  • Intersectional definitions/readings of Judeofuturism in conversation with Afrofuturism, Latinxfuturism, indigenous futurism, and other ethnofuturisms
  • genres of Jewish sf and Judeofuturism
  • Diasporic identity and Jewish sf
  • Judeofuturisms of the past
  • Jewish folklore and mythology (e.g. the golem) remixed for contemporary Jewish political practice (argued as a key project of Judeofuturism)
  • Jewish magic(al) realism as Judeofuturism
  • Temporality, futurism, Jewish sf
  • The Holocaust and trauma in Jewish sf
  • Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah, and Jewish sf
  • Jewish theological perspective on Judeofuturism
  • Manifestos for a Judeofuturist movement
  • No papers on the “inherent Jewishness” of genres

In addition, new poetry and fiction, paired with commentary, that works to establish Judeofuturism as a living artistic movement today, as a field of “visionary fiction,” is also welcome, especially experimental works that blend narrative with discussion of the possibilities of Jewish sf, much as Rasheedah Phillips has done for Afrofuturism through her theory of and fiction in “black quantum futurism.”

Submission Info: Abstracts of 250-300 words and short bios are due by ________ to the editor via email ( The editor also asks that you submit a 100-word description of what “Judeofuturism” is or means to you. Decisions will be made and notifications sent by __________. First drafts of chapters (6,000-8,000 words) will be due by _______. Once all of the first drafts have been reviewed, a book proposal will be submitted to a major university press and one with a specialty in speculative fiction scholarship.

Editor bio: Sean Guynes-Vishniac is a PhD student in the Department of English at Michigan State University. He is co-editor of Star Wars and the History of Transmedia Storytelling (Amsterdam UP, 2017) and Unstable Masks: Whiteness and American Superhero Comics (Ohio State UP, forthcoming), editor of Punking Science Fiction (special issue of Deletion, forthcoming), and book reviews editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction.