Handout: King, panel “Sci Fi Ecologies” – talk website: http://ecosfking.blogspot.com/?view=flipcard
Fifth Annual Queer Studies Symposium: Delany at 70: honoring the life & work of Samuel R. Delany
, University of Maryland, April 20
SF Ecologies: speculative, feminist, science as knowledges
Katie King, Women's Studies, University of Maryland, College Park/Email: email@example.comHome Page: http://katiekin.weebly.com/ | SF Feminisms class website: http://sffem.blogspot.com/
• “People often cannot see what they take for granted until they encounter someone who does not take it for granted.” (Bowker andStar 1999: 305)
EMBEDDED REALITIES > CONTACT > DELANY @ 70 > WHY SF?
SF – scientifiction, science fiction, speculative fiction, speculative feminisms, science communication and fabulation, wormholes &the plasticities of embedded realities – ecological across systems and multiplicities, amid emergent self-organizing agencies
"SF benefited hugely from those early years of the paperback revolution. Joanna Russ, Thomas M. Disch, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, R.A. Lafferty – the number of markedly exciting SF writers whose careers were strongly shaped by that revolution makesyour jaw drop. In 1951, there were only 15 volumes published which, by any stretch of the imagination, could be called SF novels,while last year SF made up approximately 16% of all new fiction published in the US. When, by the mid '70s, crunch crunch wasundeniable, there still seemed to be some factors built into the geography of our particular SF precinct (or ghetto, if you like) that keptthe damages at bay a little longer than in some other fields – primary among them, the vitality and commitment of SF's highly vocaland long time organized readership, whose most energetic manifestation is the complex and fascinating phenomenon, fandom. But bynow, the material hardships have made their inroads even into SF." (Delany 1994 )• phrases quoted from Bateson: "genesis of tangles," "the weave of contextual structure," and "transcontextual syndrome” • MoreBateson: “It seems that both those whose life is enriched by transcontextual gifts and those who are impoverished by transcontextualconfusions are alike in one respect: for them there is always or often a ‘double take.’ A falling leaf [or] the greeting of a friend…is not‘just that and nothing more.’” (Star & Ruhleder 1996: 127 quote Bateson 1972: 276; Bateson: 272; Star 2010: 610)
SCIENCES OF COMPLEXITY ALTER FEMINIST POLITICS
See Evelyn Fox Keller's prize winning book
The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture
as it recasts the binaries of sex/gender as they figure in feminist thinking and action. She won the Bernal Prize at this year's 4S [Society for the Social Studies of Science], and spoke to the conference via Skype.
How to be an agent among the complex worldly processes humans are not the controllers of, but bits within; studies of emergence andself-organization. EMBEDDED REALITIES across transmedia storytelling.
"Academic practices of all kinds are now also enlistedas kinds of transmedia storytelling. I call these Queer Transdisciplinarities, but not in a move to enlist them in identity politics,although sometimes they very explicitly and quite properly are, inside my own feminist fields of interest and attention. Rather,my point in naming them thus is to watch them ‘queer the pitch’: they require us to attend to, to learn to be affected by, the political economies of knowledge worlds, to how interlinked now are the economies of entertainment, knowledge laborings,globally restructured academies, governmentalities, and the infrastructures of communication." (King 2011, “Queering thePitch.”)
THE FUTURE IS NOW: sustainable, commercial, ecological, double bind innovation, restructuring, queering the pitch
"technological advocates who construct diegetic prototypes have a vested interest in conveying to audiences that these fictionaltechnologies can and should exist in the real world. In essence, they are creating ‘pre-product placements’ for technologies that do notyet exist. Film-makers and science consultants craft diegetic prototypes and enhance their realism by creating a full elaboration of thetechnological diegesis which includes any part of the fictional world concerning the technology. Through their actions they construct afilmic realism that implies self-consistency in both the real world and the story world.The creation of diegetic prototypes involves theinclusion of scenes that provide opportunities to demonstrate this realism as well as positing a real world need for the technology andthe avoidance of scenes that would undermine the technology or cast it as risky." (Kirby 2010: 46)
Fall 2011 I taught a class on Science Fiction Feminisms -- with an eye to sharing with students in thisformat what I have been working on lately as a feminist transdisciplinary posthumanities (King 2011). WhySF? As Helen Merrick has pointed out (2009) feminist theory has altered SF dramatically, and what's moreSF has altered feminist theory too. Engaging SF Ecologies in particular is a great way to share with studentsintroductions to: • the sciences of complexity as they alter feminist politics. See Evelyn Fox Keller's prizewinning book
The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture
as it recasts the binaries of sex/gender asthey figure in feminist thinking and action; and • how to be an agent among the complex worldly processeshumans are not the controllers of, but bits within; studies of emergence and self-organization. See JaneBennett's
as it rethinks the political in these terms. Delany's role in making SF Ecologiesvisible, artful, talkable, and anti-normative is a guideline through these histories.