upper div ug/grad spr 13

WMST498Q/698Q, ENGL 479A, SF Feminisms TTh 3-4:30 ARM 0121 Katie King, Professor of Women's Studies, Affiliate Faculty

in Comparative Literature, American, Performance, and LGBT Studies; Fellow of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) Why Science Fiction? Why do feminists write it? Why do they read it? We call it SF and that stands also for Speculative Fiction, for Speculative Feminisms, for Speculative Fabulation. Worlding is at stake. You might say this is the beginning of something we could call "Complexity Studies." World crafting is a special skill that we will explore in this class, learning how feminist SF shares it across intertextualities in forms of transmedia storytelling. And worlding and human flourishing are at the heart of the issues of complexity we will be exploring. We will be exploring too the concept of design fiction: “How do you entangle design, science, fact and fiction in order to create this practice called „design fiction‟ that, hopefully, provides different, undisciplined ways of envisioning new kinds of environments, artifacts and practices.... Design Fiction is making things that tell stories. It‟s like science-fiction in that the stories bring into focus certain matters-of-concern, such as how life is lived, questioning how technology is used and its implications, speculating bout the course of events; all of the unique abilities of science-fiction to incite imagination-filling conversations about alternative futures. ...It‟s meant to encourage truly undisciplined approaches to making and circulating culture by ignoring disciplines that have invested so much in erecting boundaries between pragmatics and imagination.” (Bleecker 2009) Individuals and groups will be able to practice immersion in specific and favorite SF possibilities. You will get to choose about half of your reading and share your discoveries with the rest of us. We will have some core class texts though, ones we will hold in common. Three talk about the worlds of fans, writers, histories, and practices that matter in SF and media communities and to feminisms: sf ecologies. They are • Helen Merrick. 2009. The Secret Feminist Cabal.; • Julie Phillips. 2007. James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon.; • Steven Johnson. 2006. Everything Bad is Good for You. The other three give us some feminist SF to know in common: a multi-author story collection, a single-author story collection, and one of the great "classic" texts of feminist SF: sf textualities. They are • Nalo Hopkinson. 2004. So Long Been Dreaming; Octavia Butler. 1996. Bloodchild and other stories. And Joanna Russ. 1975. The Female Man. We will create our own SF cons twice during the semester. Those who have been to cons will help us out here, although these class cons will be a hybrid version of course. During part of each con paper and poster assignments will be presented poster conference style. That means that some people will be presenting their work in various parts of the room, all at the same time, while other class members wander around the room, interacting with them as they discuss their projects. Katie will also wander around, giving folks immediate feedback on their work. After we spend time doing this, we will move into collective discussion and engagement all together. For more on SF fan cons, see the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_convention ) and online materials on WisCon, the yearly international feminist SF con (http://wiscon.info/index.php ).

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