Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pre-Con Call: ideas, proposals, suggestions?

Alexis Lothian, who will be publishing the sixth volume of the WisCon Chronicles, has issued this pre-con call for proposals and suggestions at a Dreamwidth page she's dedicated to the volume:

I will be editing this year’s volume of The WisCon Chronicles, to be published as usual by Aqueduct Press. You can see previous years’ here: Volume One, Volume Two, Volume Three, Volume Four, and Volume Five will be coming out at WisCon 35.

Every editor chooses a theme for the book. This year’s Chronicles has a working title of “Futures of Feminism and Fandom.” I chose this partly in order to acknowledge the way that upheavals surrounding the WisCon 35 Guest of Honor (1) highlighted some conflicts and contradictions in how WisCon's feminism has been defined (and led to the con's mission being crystallized in the new Statement of Principles) and (2) demonstrated the ways fannish and activist community comes together (with online activity replacing the centrality of books and face to face gatherings for many––one reason why I’m not waiting until after the con itself to suggest people think about chronicling it).

But those events should overshadow neither the con itself (I am sure they won’t!) nor its Chronicles. After all, definitions of feminism and fandom at WisCon are always in flux. In recent years, the limitations of a feminism focused purely on gender has become ever more evident and intersectionality has moved front and center. At the same time, many of the fans that come together at WisCon are joined by a shared love not only of literary science fiction but also increasingly of media and of transformative works. And the meaning of a face-to-face con is being changed by the way fannishness increasingly assumes we live on the internet. How do all these changes affect one another and affect what WisCon means to all of us? There is always a danger, when rushing toward a new and shiny future, of leaving behind what was valuable about the past. If feminism, fandom, and WisCon are changing, what parts of our history is it most vital to hold on to?

I will be inviting lots of people to contribute at WisCon; this post is my encouragement for you to think about whether you might have something to contribute before the con begins. I’m keen to hear your ideas for reflections on the history and future of feminism, science fiction, and fandom: personal, historical, theoretical, fictional. I am also, of course, looking for accounts of panels and other events at WisCon 35. If you know you’re planning to attend a particular panel, whether or not you’re on it, and you’d like to write a report for the volume, drop me a line. I’m also interested in reflections that may not connect directly to a panel at WisCon but that may emerge from WisCon-related discussions and events in fandom; after all, the con remains significant to many people in many places for many reasons, even for those who have never attended. If WisCon’s virtual presence is important to you and you have something to say about it, I’m interested in your contribution too.

I am particularly keen to have people write about the following things:

- the ways class, disability, and other elements like religion and location intersect with gender, sexuality and race.
- forms of fannishness, on and offline. There have been panels about internet drama and social change, about how to be wrong online and about how to engage in debate; let’s have some reflection and analysis of that.
- non-western forms of media and fandom. I’m thinking particularly of anime and manga, about which there has been a good deal of discussion at WisCon, but submissions on other forms would be very welcome.
- transformative fanworks. WisCon’s vid party is in its second year and fan fiction panels are well established; what has that meant for you?

Finally, one of feminism and science fiction’s great writers and thinkers, Joanna Russ, passed away this year. Her work included early and deep engagement with intersectionality and some of the earliest printed discussions of transformative fanworks, and she was also willing to acknowledge when her earlier definitions of feminist politics had been proven wrong. This WisCon Chronicles should honor her memory, and I’d like to gather some reflections and memories about what she meant to fans.

Of course, the Chronicles can’t really be planned before the con; I look forward to all the events and discussions and ideas I can’t possibly anticipate.

If you'd like to propose a contribution, share an idea, or make a suggestion, please leave a comment here, send me a message, or email wischronicles@gmail.com.

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