Seminar Tuesday 18th Oct: Sci-fi, Cli-fi and Geographies of Environmental and Social Change by Ann El Khoury

Dr Ann El Khoury will be presenting a seminar on her recent research, abstract below.
Time: 12-1pm
Place: C5C 209
All welcome, no RSVP required.
This talk examines the potential for science fiction (sci fi) and its sub-genre climate fiction (cli-fi) to inform a productive political imagination as well as enact behavioural and political action on global environmental change, especially climate change. In particular I will be focusing upon the importance of speculative yet scientific scenarios in a variety of works, including Arthur C Clarke, Olaf Stapledon, J. G. Ballard, Octavia Butler and Kim Stanley Robinson. I will also examine the contemporary solarpunk movement and explore how an examination of fictional possible worlds, alternative futures, human agency and power relations can promote greater awareness and scenario planning. What is the role of intersubjectivity, intentionality and subjective phenomena in enacting social change? I argue sci-fi and cli-fi can have a critically important role to play in reaching and teaching people about social-environmental change in powerful ways rational argument and dry lengthy reports often cannot, especially when the geography and science is sound and is carried along in a compelling story vehicle. The talk is also interested in how sci-fi can help us envision positive future scenarios and possibilities as well as cautioning against dystopian ones. Heeding Ursula Le Guin’s recent call for sci-fi and fantasy writers to envision alternatives to capitalism, I consider the entanglement of real and imagined landscapes in Australian and international speculative fiction and the compelling need to imagine alternatives to work our way out of urgent problems in the complex transformations ahead.

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