Person with long brown hair in a pink dress smelling flowers in a rooftop vegetable garden overlooking a luscious green city scape with windmills and skyrail

Call for Papers | Imaginactivism: A Speculative Fiction Workshop on Environmental Justice, Flourishing and Cohabitation

Expressions of interest by: September 20, 2017

Person with long brown hair in a pink dress smelling flowers in a rooftop vegetable garden overlooking a luscious green city scape with windmills and skyrail

Concept art by Jessica Perlstein representing San Francisco as described in Starhawk's The Fifth Sacred Thing.


Deadline for submissions: October 2, 2017

Workshop: October 18, 2017 (Time and Location TBD)

Organization: UCSC Science and Justice Research Center

Contact email: jharan@uoregon.edu and cmasseng@ucsc.edu

 

In this workshop we will take inspiration from Starhawk and Donna Haraway.

In their writings since the later 1970s we can trace both the influence of a web of feminist SFs, including speculative fiction, science fiction and speculative fabulation, and their own crafting of SF. They are both authors of feminist SF; most explicitly with Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993) and its sequel City of Refuge (2015) and Haraway’s “The Camille Stories” (2016) but also implicitly in their work on movement-building and figuration. They use SF not to conjure purified alternatives or forms of escape, but to remain embedded in and accountable to the world. The workshop will focus on this mode of SF and their insistence on accounting for compromised and difficult relationality, shared responsibility and non-innocence.

Their work emerges from and reiterates the collective call to action issued by intersecting social movements.  They focus on hope and possibility without downplaying the scale of the various crises we face, including climate change, mass extinctions, and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. They locate their work explicitly in both the local and the global, and draw on deep experiential knowledge of their chosen dwelling-places as well as research on, and dialogues with, dwellers from elsewhere. In drawing inspiration from these structural links across their use of SF, the workshop aims to provide a platform for thinking about our collective responsibility to reshape our modes of being if we are to hold open the possibility of flourishing to future generations of humans and more-than-humans.

For this workshop, we invite feminist, queer, antiracist, and decolonial STS scholars and activists working on environmental and racial justice to experiment with the possibilities of speculative and visionary storytelling. All participants will submit a short piece of work (by October 2nd) which will be circulated to other workshop participants for reading ahead of the workshop. If you’ve never done creative writing before, do not worry!  We are looking for messy and promising provocations, not polished manuscripts. Please reserve your place by emailing jharan@uoregon.edu and cmasseng@ucsc.edu by 09/20/17.

You are asked to submit 900 words of speculative fiction[ii] (by 10/02/17) about a place that is particularly meaningful to you.  You might conjure up its future, produce a speculative and disruptive history or trace the contours of an alternate present. Who and what have (had) attachments to that place, and how are those attachments bound up in larger networks of interrelationship? Do those attachments open up ways of imagining flourishing cohabitation (however you conceive of that), or do those attachments need to be disconnected and / or reconnected to create spaces of possibility?

[i] Imaginactivism is a compound word coined (Haran 2015) to denote the entangled relationship of imagination and activism. One of key questions rasised by the Imaginactivism research project is: how are interpretive / activist communities or networks formed, inspired and / or restored or reinvigorated by fictional cultural production? This workshop is one attempt to explore this question collectively.

[ii] If you work with graphic fiction or other speculative genres and are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact jharan@uoregon.edu to express your interest and to suggest alternative materials to submit.

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