The organizers of the annual Mechademia conference, hosted at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, are inviting scholars to present their work at this year’s event. Mechademia’s overall goal is to “explore the global innovations and creative and cultural implications of Japanese anime and manga”, and the specific focus of this year’s event is on science fiction, broadly defined. Some potential topics could include discussions of:
• Transnational science fiction forms
• Gender, feminist science fiction
• Emergent genre of “cli-fi”
• Fan Fiction
• Science fiction and environmental justice movements
• Anthropocene and or anthropocide as posited in science fiction forms
• Petroleum, resource extraction, fossil economy as a theme of science fiction narratives
• Early responses to climate change (precursors, etc.)
• Techno-Orientalism as a problematic subtext in science fiction forms
• Fashion and cosplay inspired by science fiction
• Historical changes in science fiction visions of “the future”
Presentation proposals (250 words) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1, 2017, with mechademia_2017_submission in the subject field. The organizers particularly welcome submissions from advanced undergraduate students, as part of a special “Emerging Scholars Panel”.
The overall program statement for Mechademia 2017 is as follows:
“Science fiction gives us free rein to imagine a different world, giving us insight into what in our own world has become naturalized and allowing us the space to question the potentials of technologically enhanced futures. The questions provoked by science fiction strategies and forms often provide insights that lead us to imagine our own world in a different light. Mechademia 2017 focuses on Science Fictions. Science fiction is central to the study of Asian Popular Cultures because it is the key narrative formation of anime, and the subject of many manga volumes and video game narratives. We encourage papers that analyze science fiction tactics and narratives to explore themes regarding the way the geo-political, geo-economic climatic situation has been reflected, criticized, and made hypothetical through futuristic utopian/dystopian narratives in anime, manga, art, design, illustration, literature, film, and gaming.”
The keynote addresses at this year’s event will be presented by Prof. Takayuki Tatsumi (Keio University), a leading scholar of Western and Japanese science fiction, and one of the co-editors of the groundbreaking essay collection Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), and science fiction critic Mari Kotani, known for essays such as Space, body and aliens in Japanese women’s SF. Both of them also participated in last year’s Mechademia Tokyo/桜SGMS: Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures.