It’s good to travel in company that does not keep the boundaries between sociology and other knowledge cultures too high, especially when it comes science fiction!
For someone like me who has worked on utopia, dystopia, and eutopia for some time, science fiction is an essential part of the trade, especially in east central Europe and Eurasia. During my last trip to Europe’s last university in exile, European Humanities University, I joined a workshop on creating curricula for a second year seminar in the social sciences. Without batting an eye participants suggested pairing Arendt’s reflections on judgement with Zamyatin’sWe, on whose backcover Ursula Le Guin declared “the best single work of science fiction yet written”. Were this discussion in Vilnius, then, we might not consider it exceptional. But it is in America.
I haven’t taken science fiction as far as I might, but I have been revising a book manuscript on superhero sociology for some time. I also contributed to a recent volume on female superheroes, in which I developed an idea of how Elektra, of Marvel Comics and associated films, could be helpful in cultivating critical capacities. But superheroes are different from science fiction.
The following is an invitation from Annette Lareau to a Class & Culture Mini-Conference at the Eastern Sociological Association meetings this year. She has organized a dinner along with the conference. This would be a great opportunity, especially for students! The dinner information is in the comments below.
January 20, 2018
Dear ESS Class and Culture attendee,
Anyone attending ESS is welcome to attend the sessions for the ESS Class and Culture Mini Conference. There is not any special registration; you can just show up to the sessions. If you would like to attend the dinner, however, you need to register in advance.
All are welcome to join an informal dinner to continue the conversation including those attending the Class and Culture Mini Conference. The conference begins Friday morning and ends early Saturday afternoon. The dinner will be on Friday February 23rd, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
Following a delightful conversation on Twitter, I’m happy to announce a call for guest posts on the topic of sociology (or social theory) and science fiction! Have you taught a work of science fiction in one of your classes and used it to illustrate some interesting concept or debate in sociology? Let us know how it went! Are you fascinated by the parallels between a work of SF and a work of social theory? Tell us!
To submit, send a short summary of what you’d like to write about to me at this email address with the subject “Sociology & Science Fiction.” Assuming it makes sense to me, you’ll then submit the full post, and I’ll queue them up here. For some examples of the sorts of things I’ve written like this in the past, check out theseoldposts – but I’m sure you all can do much better!
The deadline for submissions to the American Sociological Association annual meeting is midnight tonight. So I’m guessing that many of you reading this post have either just submitted a paper, or are just tweaking that last bit of formatting before submitting. Once you’ve finally navigated the submission site (remember, one regular session and one section session, or two section sessions, but never two regular sessions!), why not submit your paper to SocArXiv as well? The submission process is straightforward, and interested readers will be able to access your paper right now instead of waiting seven months to hear your talk in Philly!
For details on the submission process, check out this quick tutorial. For more information, check out SocArXiv’s FAQ.