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AI Meets Tolkien: Non-Human Minds in Speculative Fiction

CFP: Finncon 2019 Academic Track, Jyväskylä July 5–7, 2019

The organization committee of Finncon and the Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Finfar) are happy to announce that Finncon 2019 will once again feature an academic programming track! As in previous years, the track is intended as multilingual and interdisciplinary, and it will be free of charge and open to everyone interested in the research of speculative fiction. The aim of the track is to employ various academic frameworks and approaches in order to examine the themes and issues discussed in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genres of speculative fiction.

As per usual, the academic track aims to follow the overall themes of Finncon, which means that this year’s programming will center on artificial intelligence on the one hand, and J.R.R. Tolkien on the other hand. AI has slowly but surely crept from the novels, TV screens and geeky daydreams to our everyday lives. In other words, the theme now covers everything from familiar smartphones and search engines to dystopic Skynets and machine uprisings. It is not only AI sci-fi that probes the threats and possibilities of non-human intelligence, however. J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic works also depict creatures that are as conscious of themselves as humans, but differ from us in various other ways. Indeed, where thinking machines are a central topic in science fiction, fantasy and horror have investigated multifarious other kinds of non-human minds, such as the minds of fairies, orcs, and monsters.

The Academic Track of Finncon 2019 thereby welcomes 20-minute oral presentations whose topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Artificial life
  • The relationships between the humankind and intelligent technology
  • Non-human creatures and their conscious or non-conscious activities
  • The relations between human and non-human characters and societies
  • Depiction or narration of minds and intelligences in speculative fiction
  • Cognition and speculation

Although literature has traditionally been considered the cradle of speculative fiction, the presentations can also discuss works from other media, including comics, digital games, films and TV shows. You are welcome to give your presentation in Finnish, English or Swedish.

If you would like to participate in the academic programming and introduce your research to the wide, enthusiastic audiences of Finncon, please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio to academic@2019.finncon.org by May 10, 2019. Pdf- and .docx files are both accepted. Presenters chosen for the academic track will be contacted personally in late spring or early summer.

The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is also planning other informal activities for Finncon, which all presenters are welcome to join. Furthermore, before the main event, Finfar will organize a traditional paper workshop at the University of Jyväskylä. Everyone interested in speculative fiction research, especially students working on their MA theses or doctoral dissertations, are invited to send in short works-in-process papers to be discussed in the workshop. Further details will be announced at a later date.

For more information on Finncon events and Finfar’s activities, please consult the websites: Finncon 2019 & Finfar

Call for Papers: Fafnir 2/2019

Special edition of Fafnir on Speculative Climate Fiction

Guest editor: Dr. Juha Raipola, Tampere University

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research invites authors to submit papers for a special edition on speculative climate fiction.

Over the last decade, interest in global anthropogenic climate change as a topic of fiction has grown consistently. In conjunction with increasing societal concern about the impact of global environmental change, a growing number of imaginative visions of climate futures have begun to appear in fiction. Now commonly discussed under the broad rubric of climate fiction, or cli-fi, these fictional accounts of global climate change have typically been speculative in their basic orientation. This means that the emergent narratives of climate fiction can often be fruitfully analysed as part of, or in connection with, a longer tradition of science fictional, weird, fantastic, utopian, dystopian, and apocalyptic visions of ecological changes on the planetary scale. ... Continue reading Call for Papers: Fafnir 2/2019

AI Meets Tolkien: Non-Human Minds in Speculative Fiction

Jyväskylä July 5–7, 2019

The organization committee of Finncon and the Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Finfar) are happy to announce that Finncon 2019 will once again feature an academic programming track! As in previous years, the track is intended as multilingual and interdisciplinary, and it will be free of charge and open to everyone interested in the research of speculative fiction. The aim of the track is to employ various academic frameworks and approaches in order to examine the themes and issues discussed in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genres of speculative fiction.

As per usual, the academic track aims to follow the overall themes of Finncon, which means that this year’s programming will center on artificial intelligence on the one hand, and J.R.R. Tolkien on the other hand. AI has slowly but surely crept from the novels, TV screens and geeky daydreams to our everyday lives. In other words, the theme now covers everything from familiar smartphones and search engines to dystopic Skynets and machine uprisings. It is not only AI sci-fi that probes the threats and possibilities of non-human intelligence, however. J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic works also depict creatures that are as conscious of themselves as humans, but differ from us in various other ways. Indeed, where thinking machines are a central topic in science fiction, fantasy and horror have investigated multifarious other kinds of non-human minds, such as the minds of fairies, orcs, and monsters.

The Academic Track of Finncon 2019 thereby welcomes 20-minute oral presentations whose topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Artificial life
  • The relationships between the humankind and intelligent technology
  • Non-human creatures and their conscious or non-conscious activities
  • The relations between human and non-human characters and societies
  • Depiction or narration of minds and intelligences in speculative fiction
  • Cognition and speculation

Although literature has traditionally been considered the cradle of speculative fiction, the presentations can also discuss works from other media, including comics, digital games, films and TV shows. You are welcome to give your presentation in Finnish, English or Swedish.

If you would like to participate in the academic programming and introduce your research to the wide, enthusiastic audiences of Finncon, please send a 300-word abstract and a short bio to academic@2019.finncon.org by April 30, 2019. Pdf- and .docx files are both accepted. Presenters chosen for the academic track will be contacted personally in late spring or early summer.

The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is also planning other informal activities for Finncon, which all presenters are welcome to join. Furthermore, before the main event, Finfar will organize a traditional paper workshop at the University of Jyväskylä. Everyone interested in speculative fiction research, especially students working on their MA theses or doctoral dissertations, are invited to send in short works-in-process papers to be discussed in the workshop. Further details will be announced at a later date.

For more information, see Finncon's website and Finfar’s website.

The Finfar seminar ‒ Fantastic Paper Workshop is a closed feedback session for written research papers. You are welcome to participate, whatever your level of study or scholarly experience is. In the previous fourteen years, we have had participants in e.g. Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, and Post Doc level. Whatever is closest to your current level, we have a lively discussion in store for you! The Finfar seminar also suits perfectly as your first research seminar outside your Alma mater.

The papers are read by all participants beforehand, and the workshop is dedicated to discussion. Each individual paper will receive 30 minutes of time and will have two professional scholars on science fiction and fantasy acting as vanguard commentators. After our vanguard commentators, the discussion on each paper will be opened.

Due to the participatory nature of the workshop and limitations on time and space, the workshop is open only for the participants and designated commentators.

Please submit your final paper for the seminar to Jyrki Korpua (jyrki.korpua(at)oulu.fi) no later than June 3rd, 2018. The final paper should be approximately 10,000–15,000 characters in length and submitted on .rtf, .doc or .odt format. You can submit a paper either in English or in Finnish.

Papers delivered in the Fantastic Paper Workshop will have a later opportunity to be submitted as an article manuscript to Fafnir - Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research. More information on the subject will be given during the seminar. For more information on Fafnir, visit journal.finfar.org.

Please also note that at 14th and 15th July there will be Finncon 2018 held at the University of Turku. Finfar society is also hosting the Academic track at the event. Further information about Finncon at https://2018.finncon.org/?lang=en.

 

If you have any further questions about the workshop, please contact Jyrki Korpua (jyrki.korpua(at)oulu.fi). For further information on Finfar-society, visit http://www.finfar.org.

Have you sent an online application to join Finfar through our website? We recently noticed that our online form is out of order. We have received information that people have applied for membership, but not, for example, their names or e-mail addresses. If you have sent us an application, but have not received an answer, please contact the Society's secretary at sihteeri(a)finfar.org .

The board will discuss your application in its next meeting and, after a favorable decision, you will receive information about how to pay the membership fee for 2018 later this spring.

The instructions for 2018's membership will also be send to those who paid their membership fees in 2017. If you are a former member who did not pay the fee in 2017 but want to rejoin in 2018, please contact the secretary through the email above.

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research invites you to submit a paper for the upcoming issue 1/2018!

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is a peer-reviewed academic journal which is published in electronic format four times a year. Fafnir is published by Finfar – The Finnish Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy Researchers (Suomen science fiction- ja fantasia tutkimuksen seura ry, http://www.finfar.org).

Now Fafnir invites authors to submit papers for its issue 1/2018. Fafnir publishes various texts ranging from peer-reviewed research articles to short overviews and book reviews in the field of science fiction and fantasy research.

If you would like to submit your text for Fafnir 1/2018, we kindly ask you to take the following into account:

– The submissions must be original work, and written in English (or in Finnish or in Scandinavian languages).

– Manuscripts of research articles should be between 20,000 and 40,000 characters in length.

– The journal uses the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual (see for example https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/).

– For further notes on style and submission guidelines, see http://journal.finfar.org/for-authors/

– The manuscripts of research articles will be peer-reviewed.

– Please note that as Fafnir is designed to be of interest to readers with varying backgrounds, essays and other texts should be as accessibly written as possible.

– Also, if English is not your first language, please have your article reviewed or edited by an English language editor.

In addition to research articles, Fafnir welcomes text submissions such as essays, interviews, overviews and book reviews on any subject suited for the journal.

The deadline for the submissions is 30 November 2017.

Please send your electronic submission (as an RTF-file) to the following address: submissions(at)finfar.org. For further information, please contact the editors via submissions address. See also more detailed information on our checklist and submission guidelines: http://journal.finfar.org/for-authors/submission-guidelines.

The upcoming issue is scheduled for March 2018.

Call for Papers for a

Fantastic Paper Workshop in Helsinki, August 8th, 2017.

The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Finfar) organises an annual paper workshop at the threshold of Worldcon 75, at the University of Helsinki on August 8th 2017.

Worldcon is globally the largest event on science fiction and fantasy. In 2017, Worldcon is held for the first time in Finland, on August 9th–13th. For more information on Worldcon 75, please visit  http://www.worldcon.fi/ . The Academic Track for Worldcon 75 is also organised by The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research. More information on the Academic Track can be found on: http://www.worldcon.fi/programme/academic-track/ 

The paper workshop, held prior to the beginning of the main event, is a closed feedback session for written research papers. The papers are read by all participants beforehand, and the workshop is dedicated to comments and discussion. The workshop is targeted at undergraduates, graduate students and established scholars alike. We welcome proposals from all fields and approaches, as long as the subject matter relates to science fiction or fantasy. Established Finnish scholars on science fiction and fantasy will comment on the papers. Due to the participatory nature of the workshop and limitations on time and space, the workshop is open only for the participants and designated commentators.

Please send your 300-word abstract describing the content of your proposed paper, and a few words about yourself and your studies by May 31st, 2017, to jyrki.korpua(at)oulu.fi with the title  “FINFAR WORKSHOP 2017 ABSTRACT [YOUR NAME]”. The selection will be made by June 15th. The final paper should be 10,000–15,000 characters in length. You can submit a paper either in Finnish or in English. The deadline for the final paper is July 10th, 2016. Further information and instructions will be sent upon approval.

If you have any questions about the workshop, please contact Jyrki Korpua (jyrki.korpua(at)oulu.fi). For further information on Finfar, visit http://www.finfar.org .

Call for Papers forWorldcon_Polarbear

Academic Track at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention:

“100 Years of Estrangement”

9–13 August, 2017

Messukeskus, the Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre, Helsinki, Finland

Estrangement, or defamiliarization (ostranenie), has long been a crucial concept in our understanding of speculative fiction. Since its first appearance in Viktor Shklovsky’s essay “Art as Technique” (or “Art as Device”) in 1917, estrangement has made its way into the theories of prose fiction, of theatre, and of film, and it forms the core of some of the foundational works in the theory of science fiction, such as Darko Suvin’s definition of SF as cognitive estrangement.

To celebrate the centenary of Shklovsky’s essay, the Worldcon 75 Academic Track calls for proposals for scholarly presentations from any academic discipline to examine, interrogate, and expand research related to the concept of estrangement, to related terms such as cognitive estrangement, the uncanny, the unnatural, Brecht’s Verfremdungseffekt or Derrida’s différance, and to their role in the analysis of speculative fiction in any medium. We hope for a broad, interdisciplinary discussion on the many ways in which estrangement or defamiliarization relates to the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror, and on how those genres form a particularly fertile ground for extending our understanding of how the familiar is made new, or the strange comprehensible.

To examine these phenomena, we invite proposals addressing e.g. the following questions:

● What is the status of Shklovsky’s original ostranenie in contemporary theories of speculative fiction (widely understood)?

● How does defamiliarization or estrangement function in different fantastic (sub)genres?

● What are the differences and similarities between the techniques or strategies of defamiliarization in different media (e.g. prose fiction, graphic narratives, theatre, films, games)? How does defamiliarization relate to inter- or transmedial storytelling?

● What is the dynamic between defamiliarization, mental transportation and identification? How do estranging and fantastical effects impact the reader’s perception of the storyworld or sympathy towards the characters?

● How do works of speculative fiction balance estranging or defamiliarizing techniques and the naturalizing effects inherent to its worldbuilding and characterization? How does defamiliarization relate to the realistic illusions created by speculative fiction?

● How does estrangement help us to describe metafiction and formal self-reflection in speculative fiction?

● Are there different scholarly traditions around estrangement in different academic fields (e.g. literary studies, aesthetics, film theory) and in different language areas (e.g. Anglo-American, Russian, German, French)?

● Arising from Russian formalism and the avant-garde, estrangement has strongly political roots that have to do with the freedom of art within society. How does this political aspect of estrangement fare today?

● How is defamiliarization used in fantastic genres to question or critique societal issues and/or social identity categories (e.g. gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, social class)?

● What can the study of defamiliarizing techniques offer to the posthumanist line of interdisciplinary research and its interest in the relations between humans and nonhumans?

● What commercial functions does estrangement have, and how do those interact with its aesthetic and ideological functions in speculative fiction?

In addition to these theoretical questions, we call for analyses of the effects of estrangement in specific works of speculative fiction in any medium. Beyond the specific conference theme of defamiliarization, proposals on all other topics to do with speculative fiction are also welcome.

Submission guidelines:

Papers will be allowed a maximum presentation time of 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for discussion. All presentations will be given in English.

● For an individual paper, please submit

  • a max. 500-word abstract, outlining your argument and the grounding of your scholarly approach
  • a max. 100-word description of your academic affiliation(s) and publications (i.e. a ‘bio note’).

● For a pre-arranged session of three or four presentations (3x20 minutes or 4x15 minutes), please submit a proposal including

  • a summary paragraph of the central purpose of the session
  • the name of the session chair
  • the individual abstracts of all speakers
  • bio notes of all speakers.

Please note that we will accept only one presentation per scholar, but you can submit both an individual abstract and a full session proposal, if you wish.

All proposals should be sent as e-mail attachments (Word or PDF) to merja.polvinen@worldcon.fi by October 31st, 2016.

We hope to announce the selections to the programme by 30th November, 2016. All selected speakers will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation. There is no separate conference fee, but all speakers in the Academic Track must join Worldcon 75 as attending members. For more information on purchasing memberships, please see the convention website at http://www.worldcon.fi/memberships/.

About the event:

Worldcon, or the World Science Fiction Convention is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). The first Worldcon was held in 1939 and, after a hiatus during WWII, has been held continuously since 1946. The convention brings together thousands of science fiction and fantasy aficionados from all around the world, and the programming includes five multi-track days of panel discussions, presentations, workshops and art exhibitions, as well as the annual Hugo Awards ceremony. For more information on Worldcon75 and on the venue in Helsinki, please see http://www.worldcon.fi/.

The Academic Track is organised by Worldcon 75 in cooperation with FINFAR, The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research. For more information on submissions, or any other aspect of the Academic Track, please contact merja.polvinen@worldcon.fi.

Looking forward to welcoming you to Helsinki!

Dr Merja Polvinen

Chair of the Academic Track committee

Department of Modern Languages, University of Helsinki https://tuhat.halvi.helsinki.fi/portal/en/person/mpolvine

in cooperation with

FINFAR, The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research, http://finfar.org/en/

PDF: Worldcon75AcademicTrackCFP

Call for Papers:

FAFNIR 4/2016: SPECULATIVE FICTION IN COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research invites authors to submit papers for the upcoming edition 4/2016. Theme for the edition is “Speculative Fiction in Comics and Graphic Novels”. We invite papers that focus on speculative fiction in, for example, genres of comics, graphic novels and graphic narratives, cartoons, animations, anime or manga.

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is a peer-reviewed academic journal which is published in electronic format four times a year. Fafnir is published by FINFAR Society (The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research) from 2013 onwards. Fafnir publishes various texts ranging from peer-reviewed research articles to short overviews and book reviews in the field of science fiction and fantasy research.

The submissions for the edition 4/2016 must be original work, and written in English, Finnish or in Scandinavian languages. Manuscripts of research articles should be between 20,000 and 40,000 characters in length. The journal uses the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual. The manuscripts of research articles will be peer-reviewed.

Please note that as Fafnir is designed to be of interest to readers with varying backgrounds, essays and other texts should be as accessibly written as possible. Also, if you are writing in English, and English is not your first language, please have your article reviewed or edited by an English language editor.

In addition to research articles, Fafnir constantly welcomes text proposals such as essays, interviews, overviews and book reviews on any subject suited for the journal.

The deadline for research articles is August 15, 2016 and for other submissions November 15, 2016.

Please send your electronic submission (saved as RTF-file) to the following address: submissions(at)finfar.org. For further information, please contact the editors: jyrki.korpua(at)oulu.fi, hanna.roine(at)uta.fi and aino-kaisa.koistinen(at)jyu.fi.

More detailed information about Fafnir and the submission guidelines is available at our webpage journal.finfar.org.

This edition is scheduled for December 2016.

Best regards,

Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, Jyrki Korpua and Hanna-Riikka Roine

Editors, Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research invites you to submit a paper for the upcoming issue 3/2016!

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is a peer-reviewed academic journal which is published in electronic format four times a year. Fafnir is published by The Finnish Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Suomen science fiction- ja fantasiatutkimuksen seura ry, http://www.finfar.org).

Now Fafnir invites authors to submit papers for its issue 3/2016. Fafnir publishes various texts ranging from peer-reviewed research articles to short overviews and book reviews in the field of science fiction and fantasy research.

If you would like to submit your text for Fafnir 3/2016, we kindly ask you to take the following into account:

The submissions must be original work, and written in English (or in Finnish or in Scandinavian languages). Manuscripts of research articles should be between 20,000 and 40,000 characters in length. The journal uses the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual. The manuscripts of research articles will be peer-reviewed. Please note that as Fafnir is designed to be of interest to readers with varying backgrounds, essays and other texts should be as accessibly written as possible. Also, if English is not your first language, please have your article reviewed or edited by an English language editor.

In addition to research articles, Fafnir welcomes text submissions such as essays, interviews, overviews and book reviews on any subject suited for the journal.

The deadline for the submissions is May 31.

Please send your electronic submission (as an RTF-file) to the following address: submissions(at)finfar.org. For further information, please contact the editors: k_ainokaisa(at)yahoo.com, jyrki.korpua(at)oulu.fi and hanna.roine(at)uta.fi. See also more detailed information on our checklist and submission guidelines: http://journal.finfar.org/for-authors/submission-guidelines.

The upcoming issue is scheduled for September 2016.