Transgressing Boundaries in Science Fiction
24-27 April 2019
Maison Française d'Oxford
SATURDAY 27 APRIL
11.15am Science Fiction at the intersection of popular and scientific culture
Scientists will discuss about time travel in order to explain how recent advances in science have impacted our creativity, and how Science Fiction has explored new possibilities in science and technology.
This round table will be moderated by Iwan MORUS (Aberystwyth University)
Roland Lehoucq (Astrophysicist, Writer and President of Utopiales)
Roland Lehoucq is an astrophysicist in the Astrophysics Department of the CEA (Atomic Energy Commission) at Saclay. He teaches both at the École Polytechnique and the Institut d’Études Politiques. As a passionate advocate for the dissemination of scientific knowledge, he regularly contributes to the monthly magazine Pour la Science, and has had a scientific column in the science-fiction journal Bifrost for 19 years. He has written numerous articles in a great many scientific journals aimed at the general public, and gives about fifty conferences per year. He has also published numerous books and collaborated on several exhibitions. Since 2012, he has been president of Utopiales, the Nantes International Science Fiction Festival. In 2010, he received the Diderot-Curien Prize from AMCSTI (Association of Museums and Centres for the Development of Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture). He was made a Knight of the Order of Academic Palms in January 2014, and a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 2018.
He has published many books on astrophysics, science and science-fiction.
• Faire des sciences avec Star Wars, revised and enlarged third edition, Éditions le Bélial’, 2017
• SF : la science mène l’enquête, Éditions Le Pommier, 2007.
Chris Fewster (Mathematician, University of York)
Chris Fewster is a Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of York.
He studied in Cambridge and was a researcher at the University of Bern before moving to York, where he has been a
faculty member since 1998. His research brings precise mathematics to bear at the intersection of quantum theory and gravity and he has worked
on the description of quantum theory in the presence of time-machine geometries, as well as the ability of quantum
fields to produce locally negative energy densities, in particular focusing on "Quantum Energy Inequalities", in-built mechanisms within the theory that limit the magnitude and duration of negative energy density. His current interests also include singularity theorems in general relativity, the description of measurement in quantum field theory,
and also formulations of quantum field theory that make it possible to describe the same physics in all spacetimes.
He has written over 70 scientific papers and other contributions, including the recent expository reviews
"The art of the state", Int. J. Mod. Phys. D 27 (2018) 1843007
"Quantum Energy Inequalities" in Wormholes, Warp Drives and Energy Conditions, edited by FSN Lobo. (Springer, Cham, 2017)
"Algebraic quantum field theory in curved spacetimes" (with R Verch) in Advances in Algebraic Quantum Field Theory,
edited by R Brunetti, C Dappiaggi, K Fredenhagen, J Yngvason, (Springer Verlag 2015)
2.00pm The boundaries and territories of SF
We will explore the literary styles of SF, as well as notions of gender, sexuality, race and nationality that have emerged in science fiction with British and French novelists who represent a new generation of female SF writers,
Emma Geen is a Bristol-based author and lecturer in Creative Writing.Her first novel The Many Selves of Katherine North was published by Bloomsbury. Several of her short stories feature in Stories of the Stranger, published by Bene Factum Publishing. She holds an AHRC funded PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and is an associate lecturer there.
Cheryl Morgan is a Science-Fiction critic and publisher. She is the owner of Wizard’s Tower Press and the Wizard’s Tower Books ebook store. Previously she edited the Hugo Award winning magazine, Emerald City (Best Fanzine, 2004). She also won a Hugo for Best Fan Writer in 2009.
Cheryl is a director of San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions Inc., and a founder of the sadly short-lived Association for the Recognition of Excellence in SF & F Translation.
She is a Co-Chair of Out Stories Bristol and lectures regularly on both trans history and Science Fiction and Fantasy literature.
Stephanie Saulter is Jamaican by birth, heritage and upbringing, a Londoner by choice.
Her first novel, Gemsigns, was published in 2013 and was followed by Binary and Regeneration. Her Science-Fiction uses the lens of an altered humanity to take a new look at old issues of race, class, religious extremism and social conflict. She is primarily a novelist but has also published the short stories Audiovisionary and Discordances. She’s currently seeking a publisher for her fourth novel, Sacred, which is a magical realist take on the power of storytelling.
Jeanne-A Debats is a French, Latin and Greek teacher based in Paris, where she grew up, although she comes from Aquitaine, where she maintains deep cultural roots ("Cendres" in Dieu reconnaîtra les siens, Rivière Blanche; "Paso Doble" in La Vieille Anglaise et autres récits, Folio SF). She was propelled onto the SF scene in 2008 by her short novel La Vieille Anglaise et le Continent, which received four of the major science fiction awards that year. Since then, she has published several books in adult and children’s literature, including anthologies and in-depth articles on Science-Fiction. From 2013 to 2015, she was co-president of SELF (Syndicat des Ecrivains de Langue Française) In 2016, she succeeded writer Ugo Bellagamba as Art Director of the Utopiales.
This meeting will be moderated by Henriette Korthas Altes (MFO/ Modern Literature)
3.30pm Dystopia, Utopia and the political imagination
This round table will explore political systems in fiction where societies shape a possible future and the English and modern roots of utopia, such as imagining the nation as an "island". Thomas More’s ground-breaking island fantasy, first published in 1516, asks us all what brave new world we are to wish for. What would a society better than ours look like? Who ought to be allowed in? And on what terms? These are More’s questions in Utopia, and they have never mattered more than today, as the UK prepares to pursue a political future outside the EU and walls go up in the US. It may seem timely to return to the traditional reading of More’s text as a blueprint for political change: Utopia tells, after all, how a peninsula cut itself off from the continent to make a better future as an island…It will explore all kinds systems ranging from island dystopias, which are often uchronias, to island nations or SF planets separating from the (galactic) empire and which, sometimes, turn out to be social alternatives, in many Science-Fiction stories.
Ugo Bellagamba, Art Director of the Utopiales, is a renowned science-fiction author and a professor in history of law and politics at Université Côte d'Azur. His works and lectures are dedicated to utopia, historical study of Justice, and anthropology. As a writer, he published several novels, in particular, Tancrede, an alternate history about the first Crusade, and La Cité du Soleil, a collection of novellas inspired by Tommaso Campanella. He's working on a graphic novel with the artist Christophe Dougnac, Les Songeurs de Monde.
Wes Williams is a Professor of French Literature at Oxford University, and Knowledge Exchange Champion at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. His main research interests are in the field of Renaissance/early modern literature: they encompass the study of genre and of subjectivity, and the intersection of medicine, law, and literature in the period. His first book was Pilgrimage and Narrative in the French Renaissance: ‘The Undiscovered Country (OUP, 1998) and his most recent is Monsters and their Meanings in Early Modern Culture; ‘Mighty Magic’ (OUP, 2011). Currently working on the long history of 'Voluntary Servitude', he also teaches European film and literary theory, and writes and directs for the theatre; his most recent theatre work is the on-going Storming Utopia project, performed in Oxford, Venice, and beyond... [see http://storming-utopia.seh.ox.ac.uk/index.php/about/ ]
Michael Drolet (Worscester college), historian of political thought, who has been working on Social utopianism from the nineteenth century to Brexit and the contemprary era
This discussion will be moderated by Agnès Alexandre-Collier (MFO/ political science)