Call for Proposals: Sturgeon Symposium 2022 "Celebrating Speculative Communities"

The program committee invites abstracts and proposals in English (250 words or less) on any topic related to the Gunn Center's new mission of showcasing international speculative literatures, including creative work from Indian Nations, such as the Kaw, Osage, and others on whose homelands KU stands. We especially welcome thematic panels and papers that touch upon how community informs the speculative arts and vice versa.

At CSSF, we celebrate the interconnected global communities of students, scholars, creators, and fans whose engagement with speculative modes enriches our understanding of the world we share and challenges our notions of what is possible. We hope to illuminate the array of SF-related work being done across disciplines, genres, media, and identities. For example, in her groundbreaking essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury,” Audre Lorde identifies poetry as “not only dream and vision,” but as something that “lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before” (Lorde, 38). In this way, poetry takes on a clearly speculative, generative aspect. Where/how else might we find other points of connection that broaden our conceptions of the field?

Possible paper, panel, and roundtable topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • SF tied to particular regions or identities (e.g., Afrofuturism, the Southern Gothic, Ukrainian);
  • SF audiences and fandoms;
  • influences of colonialism and marginalization;
  • Issues of translation;
  • SF across media, including film, TV, visual arts, music, games, etc.

We welcome proposals for panels, research presentations, creative presentations, roundtables, public workshops, and posters. Panels should consist of 3-4 fifteen-minute papers and may include a commentator. Roundtables and workshops can be more loosely structured, although the proposal should include a designated chair and a list of participants. In keeping with our theme, the organizers would like the conference to feature programming that can engage in greater collaboration and dialogue across various communities. Proposals from undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged.

The deadline for proposals is June 30th.

In addition to programming developed from your submissions, the Symposium will include the following:

  • Noël Sturgeon’s presentation of the annual Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the year’s best science fiction short story
  • a creative writing reading from the winner of this year’s Sturgeon prize
  • Roundtable discussion: “The State of SF”
  • Panel: Indigenous Futurisms
  • Literary Salon: creative writing readings
  • Pedagogy panel: “How is SF being taught on campus?”
  • Research spotlight: “What are you currently working on in the realm of SF?”
  • Roundtable discussion: Fan Fiction and Fanwork as Speculative Art
  • Panel: Emerging Technologies

Please email proposals to the Gunn Center: by June 30, 2022. Notifications will be sent out in late July.

Questions? Contact