upcoming at MLA

Happy New Year!

Like so many other academics, I’m starting 2014 with MLA. I’m on two panels this year, at the very beginning and the very end of the conference:

New Approaches in Science Fiction Criticism, with Rebekah Sheldon, Gerry Canavan, and Clarissa Ai Ling Lee (sadly Jamie “Skye” Bianco can’t make it) – on Thursday at 7pm in McHenry, Chicago Marriott

Here’s an abstract of my paper:

Living in the Future: Speculative Fiction’s Queer Cultural Politics
Queer times break with the straight and narrow paths of reproductive futurism: lingering or refusing, flashing up in moments of ephemeral utopia or doubling back to reanimate the pleasurable and/or painful past. But where does the speculative narrative act of imagining the future – frequently embodied in the genre of science fiction – fit within this frame? This talk will draw from a larger project on speculative fiction and queer time that explores how science fictions by feminists, queers, and people of color engage in temporal critique by working through rather than against the normative temporalities that queer scholars including Lee Edelman, José Muñoz, and Elizabeth Freeman have identified. The practice and performance of affective world making has been central to queer temporal studies; I link it with the idea of world building, or concretely planning a fictional world, that is important in science fiction theory and criticism in both academic and fan cultures. Science fiction’s world building creates utopian visions, dystopian fears, and futuristic projections that can seem to uncritically reproduce normative life narratives and chronologies of technological progression. Drawing on fiction and theory by Samuel R. Delany as well as on feminist science fiction fan cultures’ grassroots practices of knowledge production, my talk will argue that new temporal frames emerge from the uses to which science fiction’s futures have been put. What practices make it possible to live inside such futures as they refract into the present?


Tumblr Vulnerabilities, with Aren Aizura, Kara Jesella, Nick Mitchell, Roy Perez, and Jeanne Vaccaro – 12pm Sunday in Indiana-Iowa, Chicago Marriott.

Here’s the summary:

How is the microblogging platform Tumblr an affective space for queer and dangerous critique in and outside the academy? What are the politics of blogging on Tumblr as scholars in a professional climate where “online presence” is the consummate CV attribute? How does Tumblr provoke or align itself with the specter of the digital humanities and its proprietary software platforms?

I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of Tumblr itself, but I have a lot to say about informal online networks in relationship to professionalization and queer critique; I’m looking forward to some great conversations on this panel.

Hope to see you there!

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