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Radical Engagements: Speculative Fictions and Social Justice, the Sixth Annual CALS Spring Symposium

Monday, March 20, 2017, 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. 
Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library 
Penn State University

Five leading scholars of speculative fiction join the Penn State community to explore ways in which speculative fictions make possible and reveal the limitations of how to imagine socially-just realities. Cognizant of the multi-generic origins of the speculative—including fantasy, horror, folklore, myth, science fiction, and the weird—the symposium’s two roundtables will highlight the relationships between speculation, futurity, and the ethico-political imagination.

Symposium Schedule

Welcome 
(10 a.m.)

ROUNDTABLE ONE, Alternative Histories: The Diverse Pasts of Speculative Fiction 
(10:15 a.m. - Noon)

Featured Invited Participants:

  • Brian Attebery, Professor of English, Idaho State University; editor, Journal of the Fantastic in Arts; author of Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth (2014; Oxford UP)
  • Neil Clarke, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning Editor of Clarkesworld, Forever Magazine, and The Best Science Fiction of the Year
  • Sarah Juliet Lauro, Assistant Professor of English, The University of Tampa; author of The Transatlantic Zombie: Slavery, Rebellion, and Living Death (2015; Rutgers UP)

PSU Participants:

  • Matt Tierney, Assistant Professor of English
  • Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and English

ROUNDTABLE TWO, Alternative Futures: Ethical Imagination, Social Justice, and Visionary Fictions 
(1:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.)

Featured Invited Participants:

  • Betsy Huang, Associate Professor of English, Clarke University; author of Contesting Genres in Contemporary Asian American Fiction (2010; Palgrave McMillan)
  • Alexis Lothian, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies, University of MD-College Park; author of Old Futures: The Queer Cultural Politics of Speculative Fiction (forthcoming, NYU Press)

PSU Participants:

  • Michael Bérubé, Director of the Institute for Arts and the Humanities; Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature
  • Hester Blum, Associate Professor of English
  • Claire Colebrook, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English

Wrap-up Session (3:30 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.)

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