Transgressing Boundaries in Science Fiction
24-27 April 2019
Maison Française d'Oxford
Science-fiction is a singular intersection of science and the imagination, probing society and politics. Whilst it is still dismissed in some circles as a “sub-genre”, or mere vulgarisation in story form, academic studies devoted to the subject are flourishing. They have traced the origins of scientific fictions to antiquity, separating utopias from dystopias, and showing how they act as distorting mirrors in which the present age can see itself reflected and put into question. As scientific advances are made and technical possibilities emerge, so too does science-fiction evolve, incorporating industrialism, the worship of progress, and the transformations wrought on society by two World Wars. Specific literary traditions have also weighed on the genre, each country having its own cultural reference points or famous authors. More recently, different formats have emerged, and the genre exists not only in literature and the arts, but also in films, graphic novels, television series, and personal web pages.
The Maison Française Science-Fiction Fortnight will include a three-day international symposium, an exhibition, film screenings and debates. The event will facilitate exchanges between the sciences and the humanities, between academics coming from France and Britain, between popular culture and academia. The interdisciplinary symposium carries the title Race, Gender and Technology in Science-Fiction, and is oriented so as to reflect the research interests of the MFO, namely Literature, Politics, History of Science and Techniques, Classical and Byzantine Studies. The exhibition, film screenings and the debates organised around guest speakers programmed for Wednesday 24 and Saturday 27 April will be undertaken in partnership with the Nantes Utopiales.