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Enfolded Temporalities and Creative Anachronisms in Speculative Fiction

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Organizer: Jon Pitt

Co-Organizer: Linda Zhang

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This seminar is interested in what from the past and the present survives into speculative futures. As writers, filmmakers, and comic artists imagine the shape of things to come, what do they decide to make recognizable to readers, and to what end? As works of science/speculative fiction increasingly take up issues concerning ecological crisis, what do decisions about who and what survive into the future have to say about who and what we value in our present moment? Through an examination of what remains recognizable within unrecognizable worldbuilding, this seminar looks to identify how moments of anachronism can be generative as a form of critique. Tropes of temporal displacement such as time travel and cryogenic sleep create scenarios in which displaced characters can see through ideological blind spots that have been naturalized within the narrative present. How might seeking out moments of what we are calling “enfolded temporalities”—moments where the past, present, and/or future collide and coexist within the same space—allow us to similarly reflect on our own blind spots in the present?

We seek papers dealing with SF in a variety of media formats (literary, cinematic, comic) that examine rifts in time and theorize the recognizable in the unprecedented. Possible topics and areas of creative anachronism may include (but are not limited to) the following:

-Species extinction and survival

-Climate and ecosystem change

-Language (both spoken and written)

-Technological change (and in particular, media technology)

-Demarcations and definitions of gender and sexuality

-Constructions of racial identity

-Consolidating/expanding national borders

-Repurposing mythology

-Specualtive systems of economics and governance

We are open to presentations on works from any geographical region and time period. 

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