Tag: sffcommunity

Three PhD positions + One Postdoc in Science Fiction & Contemporary Futurisms (CoFutures & Science Fictionality)

Three PhD positions + One Postdoc in Science Fiction & Contemporary Futurisms (CoFutures & Science Fictionality)

Three PhD positions and 1 Postdoc position is now available with CoFutures (ERC) and Science Fictionality (NFR): Chinese Science Fiction/Sinofuturism (PhD-ERC), Latin American Science Fiction/Latin@futurisms (PhD-ERC), Nordic and European Futurisms (PhD-NFR), and Museum Studies with an Environmental focus (Postdoc-NFR). All positions will be based at the Department of Culture Studies. Short proposals (3-5 pages) and other documents are requested by 30th April 2020, and the positions start in August 2020. Proposals should contain the basic project outline/proposal, methodology and theory, progress plan, and a brief bibliography, among other things. Full details, including link to the proposal template, are available on the advertisment pages below.

PHD POSITIONS

  1. Chinese SF and Sinofuturisms: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/183134/doctoral-research-fellowship-on-contemporary-chinese-futurisms-and-chinese-science-fiction
  2. Latin American SF and Latin@Futurisms: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/183138/doctoral-research-fellowship-on-contemporary-latin-american-futurisms-and-science-fiction
  3. Nordic and European Futurisms: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/184793/doctoral-research-fellowship-science-fictionality

Environmental changes, demographic changes, and technological changes are the main focus for these positions.

POSTDOC POSITION

https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/183914/post-doctoral-research-fellowship-science-fictionality

Museum studies (or similar, preferably with curatorial experience in  the Nordic region) with an environmental humanities focus will be the main criterion for this position.

For Environmental Humanities focus at our department and the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo, see the pages of Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH).

More positions will be advertised later.

PLEASE CONSULT THE INFORMATION GIVEN IN THE ADVERTISEMENT LINKS. THE ADVERTISEMENT TEXT IS THE OFFICIAL JOB CALL AND IT IS THE SOURCE OF ANY OFFICIAL INFORMATION.


FAQ

Since the advertisements were posted, I have received a number of queries already, some of them relevant, others less so. To respond to them in one go, here’s a quick FAQ below:

Q1: Do I need to work on Chinese for the Chinese SF position or can I work on Korea, Japan, X…?
A: You need to work on Chinese SF. Transnational perspectives on Chinese SF and comparative studies with SF from other regions are also welcome if these perspectives are in addition to untranslated Chinese language contemporary materials from China.
***
Q2: Do I need to work on Latin American SF for the Latin American SF position, or can I work on SF from anywhere such as Spanish SF or Portuguese SF or Anglophone SF?
A: You need to work on Latin American SF in Spanish and/or Portuguese. Comparative studies with SF from other parts of the world are welcome if these are in addition to the work on Latin American SF in Spanish and/or Portuguese. See also Q1 above.
***
Q3: Do I need to work on Nordic SF for the Nordic and European SF position, or can I work on SF from anywhere outside Europe or in the English Langauge?
A: You need to work on Nordic SF in any of the Nordic languages. The PhD position is a comparative one, so you must work on at least one Nordic language SF. The other SF may be any other major or minor European language except English. English or Anglophone SF  is not the focus of this position.
***
Q4: Do I need to be fluent in/know Chinese for the Chinese SF position
OR
Do I need to be fluent in/know Spanish or Portuguese for the Latin American SF position
OR
Do I need to be fluent in any of the Nordic Languages for the Nordic and European SF position?
A: Yes, you need to be fluent in the languages you are working on. Non-native users are most welcome and encouraged to apply if they have certified fluency.
***
Q5: Can I work on any European language for the European SF position?
A:  The comparison has to be either between SF from (a) two Nordic languages; OR (b) one Nordic language and one European language excluding English. You need at least one Nordic language. The other European language can be any language, but preference might be given to lesser internationally known traditions, for instance Eastern European SF traditions, or Welsh SF.
***
Q6: Do I need to work on literature?
A: Not at all. You can work on other materials, including film, TV, visual arts, video games and other interactive media. The focus is on contemporary materials. Even within literature for instance, you can focus on untranslated fandom materials, fan literature, online fandom communities etc. But you need to make an argument on how these are related to the core issues in CoFutures, including environmental change, demographic change, and/or technological change.
***
Q7: I don’t know Chinese or Spanish or Nordic or European Languages. Will there be more PhD positions?
A: Not at the moment. Further positions from our research networks might be advertised in the next years. Please follow our facebook page for updates (https://www.facebook.com/cofutures/).
***
Q8: I already have a PhD. Should I apply?
A: The likelihood of getting a PhD fellowship if this is your second PhD are quite slim.
***
Q9: Do I need a masters degree to apply for the PhD positions?
A: Yes. Unlike some other parts of the world, you can join UiO for a PhD only if you already have a master’s degree in hand at the time of your application. Please follow the instructions in the advertisement.
***
Q10: I already have a PhD. Can this be turned into a postdoc/research fellowship/research position instead?
A: No.
***
Q11: I already have a PhD and the postdoc position does not suit my specialization. Will you be advertising more postdoc positions with your project?
A: Yes, we will be advertising more postdoc positions. Like our facebook page for updates (https://www.facebook.com/cofutures/). However, these postdoc positions will not be on Latin American SF or Chinese SF.
***
Q12: I don’t have a PhD in Museum Studies. What do you mean by related disciplines?
A: Disciplines that have a close relation to museums, design, exhibition making, and curation processes. These can include disciplines such as Art History or Architecture.
***
Q13: I already have a PhD and I don’t qualify for your postdocs since I mainly work on other topics/languages/ regions/ anglophone materials. But your project is really relevant/interesting/etc. Is it possible to get a postdoc to work with your team?
A: Yes, there are other ways of getting a fully funded postdoctoral fellowship to work with our team. Depending on circumstances, we might announce these options in 2021.
***
Q14: Are there ways of staying updated with project developments?
A: Thank you for your interest! We will have seminars, workshops, conferences, author events, etc. Please like our facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/cofutures/
***
Q15: Are there other positions in CoFutures that are not PhDs or Postdocs?
A: At the moment, no. If there are any positions at any point, those will be advertised through official channels, and updates will be posted on our facebook page.
***
Q16: Is there such a thing as Norwegian SF?
A: Oh this question! I used to face it all the time when I started working on Bangla language SF! And much as I replied then, I will say yes, there is, has been, and will be! And yes, there will be people working on that too in CoFutures. The goal of CoFutures is to think with marginal future visions, including Nordic ones since these have received less attention in the SF world internationally. To get a teaser from Norwegian SF, perhaps you might be interested in the Algernon archive, the most important fanzine in Norwegian SF history.
***
Q17: Why are you against Anglophone SF?
A: I grew up with and work on Anglophone SF myself, and support quite a lot of research in Anglophone materials in other capacities. We will work with Anglophone materials in CoFutures as well (quite a lot in fact). But the advertised positions focus on other regions and materials. And there is a lot more out there in the world that is not written in the English language, but available in English translation. Rachel S. Cordasco / SF in Translation does the whole SF world a favour with her work cataloging and in many cases reviewing all the SF in translation available. Check it out here.
If you are interested in learning more, this article of mine from 2013 might give you an idea about the origins of the CoFutures project.
***
Q18: Do I need to live Oslo for doing the PhD or can I live elsewhere?
A: Up to six months of fieldwork outside Oslo or Norway is permitted during the fieldwork period.
***
Q19: What do you mean by SF arts, community, or fandom work?
A: This means that ideally the candidate should have participated in SF community activities,  whether as writers/artists themselves, or as fans who have organized fandom events or exhibitions.
***
Q20: Will the deadlines be pushed due to the ongoing global pandemic?
A: As yet we have no indication that the deadlines for applications will need to be pushed due to the global pandemic. We will post on our Fb page if we have updates.

The list will be updated if I get more questions. Last updated Saturday, 28 March, 2020.


The UiO image featured is by GK von Skoddeheimen from Pixabay

The “Origins” of the CoFutures project

The “Origins” of the CoFutures project

CoFutures originates in the different strands of engagement with future fictions and science fiction that have emerged in the last couple of decades. These new future fictions are a response to the predominantly Anglophone, predominantly ethnic white, imaginaries of the future that have been common in future oriented fictions and science fiction. This limitation in the availability of possible futures can be seen in the works that are available internationally, in the more prominently highlighted non-fiction narratives about the future (including scenario, policy, and strategy documents), the theorizations of the future, and theories and criticism of future fictions more broadly. If postcolonial studies eroded the general sense of certainty about the qualities of canonical Euro-American literature, then it failed to go past its implicit valorizations of alternate canons based on the works produced in these formerly colonized locations. Genres such as science fiction, or fantasy, broadly, had to fight out their own battle on a pop cultural battlefield, on separate terms from the postcolonial battlefield. The postcolonial struggle was the academe reasserting its rights to determine what was to be studied and what qualified as high literature; the pop-cultural struggle was about the everyday, the fandoms, the communities: it was about the people who had grown up reading other people’s visions of the future over and again and wanted to see themselves in the futures they read.

 

One such battle was the Racefail ’091 which among other things highlighted the poor representation of POC voices in fandom communities, including producers, consumers, and critics. For me, sitting in India far from these debates, trying to write up a PhD proposal on studying Bangla science fiction or kalpavigyan written in the colonial period, postcolonial theory was one of the key entry points in the discussion, as it is for most Indians studying EngLit. While I had been planning my PhD project since 2006 on the same subject, it was really John Rieder’s already classic study Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction2 that gave me the perspective I was looking for. Rieder’s fantastic work did not include the colonized parts of the world, certainly not India, but it did make me wonder why that was so, given that the Indian history of future histories begins in the colonial period as well, and for much of the same reasons as highlighted by Rieder, only sometimes in the reverse. I learnt about Racefail in 2010, after I moved to Norway for my PhD, but I spent the next few years buried in archives and lit-crit. But fandom environments, including in Norway. were rapidly transforming in those years. By 2013-14, there were full blown crises, with Gamergate3 and Puppygate4 in the gaming industry and the SFF fandom communities respectively. What I call my first CoFutures essay (“Recentering Science Fiction And The Fantastic: What Would a Non-Anglocentric Understanding of Science Fiction and Fantasy Look Like?”, published in Strange Horizons in September 2013)5 came at the end of my PhD, just when these crises were completely taking over fandom discussions.

 

With the crises we have clarity, new assertions, and strength. Cixin Liu’s Hugo for The Three Body Problem in 2015, and N. K. Jemisin’s consecutive victories are the most easily visible signs of this strength. The process of naming that marks the edges of a new aesthetic formation has also already begun. New histories and new excavations of the past show the global origins of future fictions, while new strategies are being carved for the future from the problems of the present. This trend began with Afrofuturism to a large extent, but the work of a whole generation of scholars has highlighted the scope of the phenomena from one corner of the globe to the other, but especially in the context of the global South from South America to South East Asia. Creators have brought forth new strategies and coined new terms to represent different experiences of the future, such as in the Middle East with Fatima Al Qadiri and Sophia Al-Maria’s chrome-pastiche Gulf-futurism,6 or the possibilities for the future offered in Grace Dillon’s Indigenous futurism.7 There are other labels floating about in the recent years. Some of these are geographically inflected while others thematically oriented, such as Lawrence Lek’s Sinofuturism8 and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne’s Ricepunk.9 These changes also highlighted the strong Anglocentric (and to a certain extent Francocentric) biases of the producers and consumers when it came to recognizing future fictions in other languages and other geographical regions, for instance even within Europe, such as Eastern and Northern Europe. Rachel S. Cordasco’s brilliant project Speculative Fiction in Translation has done much to raise general awareness of these fictions from everywhere around the world, in many different languages.10

 

Not all developments have been positive, and I plan to discuss some of these in more detail at a later time.

 

CoFutures is the result of all these discussions. It is as much about the personal journey as an Indian working on things far away from home and about the different experiences that have shaped my own work, as it is about global fandom and academic debates on gender, ethnicity, Anglocentrism, translation, and other related topics. In the next few years, the project hopes to bring in numerous academics and creators, from writers to artists to games designers, to discuss better ways for envisioning the future. CoFutures is not a solo project. It is a community project: community is where it comes from, to which it contributes, to which it seeks to give back. This was the reason I wore my shiny Star Trek TNG combadge even to the ERC interview in Brussels, taking the risk that they wouldn’t fund me because of my refusal to dress “properly” for the interview. But perhaps they saw it for what it is: that CoFutures is about the community, the fandom, many possible futures, and more than anything else, hope. LLAP! 🖖


http://annsomerville.net/a-themed-summary-of-racefail-09-in-large-friendly-letters-for-those-who-think-race-discussions-are-hard/
2 Rieder, John. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Wesleyan UP, 2008.
https://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/04/the-culture-wars-come-to-sci-fi/390012/
http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/articles/recentering-science-fiction-and-the-fantastic-what-would-a-non-anglocentric-understanding-of-science-fiction-and-fantasy-look-like/
https://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/15037/1/al-qadiri-al-maria-on-gulf-futurism
7 Dillon, Grace. Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction.  Arizona UP, 2012
https://vimeo.com/179509486
http://yudhanjaya.com/2019/05/the-ricepunk-manifesto/
10 https://www.sfintranslation.com/
Johannes H Berg Memorial Prize lecture (21 September 2019)

Johannes H Berg Memorial Prize lecture (21 September 2019)

I am thankful to the board of the Johannes H. Berg Foundation Memorial Fund for this award, and to the Norwegian SF fandom communities for having been a home for me for several years now. This award comes at a particularly happy yet difficult time for me, personally, and for the kind of work that is represented by Johannes H. Berg as I understand it. On the one hand, there has perhaps not been a better time for science fiction and fantasy as genres, which have gone mainstream, no longer the domain of the nerdy few but of fans from across ages and times. On the other the divisions between what communities seek have never been more stark, with fans split into many different fandoms of their own, and what is worse, divisions on an international scale on gendered, ethnic, and other kinds of lines personal and political. Just this last month, years after Gamergate, Racefail, and Puppygate, yet another one of these situations has erupted, which is being called the Gaming Industry’s #MeToo moment, with numerous accusations, multiple concrete proofs of abuse, general acrimony, and which has even led to a suicide. 

As perhaps the first Alien to receive this prize, I must acknowledge that I have always seen my work on SF as a double-outsider inside the field. Working on the one hand on Indian SF at a time when there were hardly any people working on Indian SF, and working in Norway, which does not have an active academic SF community and which is outside the Anglo-American world, I have represented this double-outsider position consistently to the international communities of SF wherever I have been, trying to answer the questions “Why Norway?” and “Why Indian SF” one after the other to many. This double outsider-ness allowed me to navigate multiple domains of belonging and non-belonging in all the places in the world my work has taken me.

Luckily, this double-outsider status has never made me an outsider here at home in the Norwegian SF community, whether it is among the Aniara community, or among other friends and family who are part of that community. Indeed, this double-outsider status has been critical to my work here in Oslo and the University of Oslo, where I have always felt welcome and been able to work with peace and joy, even though I insist on walking the hallways of the University and the streets of Oslo wearing a Star Trek Next Gen combadge as a symbol of both fandom and of perpetual hope. It is being the double-outsider everywhere else but belonging to the SF fandom and community here that makes me care about the future of SF here in Norway, which leads me to work obsessively on everything from organizational revivals to fandom digitization projects, and deal with materials in a language that I can read yet speak but haltingly. 

And to a certain extent, perhaps that should be the true spirit of fandom, a perpetual belonging wherever one travels in space or time, a choice of home, rather than a place one is born to and in. And the spirit of this prize, a fandom contribution prize in the memory of a tireless community organizer of fandom here in Norway, Johannes H. Berg, is one of ever expansive belonging. In that expansive belonging, the alien and foreign may also find a place to belong, a fandom they can call home. So once again, thanks to SF fandom and the SF community. For many homes, shared futures, cofutures, skål!

The Johannes H. Berg Minnepris 2018 prize plaque
Theme: Overlay by Kaira Extra Text
Cape Town, South Africa