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I've been looking over the WisCon schedule and picking out the panels that seem particularly relevant to the Chronicles' theme. Sadly, as always, many of the things I would like to attend are at the same time! I would love contributions that reflect on, chronicle, or otherwise relate to any of the panels under the cut (some of them might prove provocative, which means they will be important to document and to think about later)... Though that certainly doesn't mean I'm not interested in contributions that relate to other parts of the con.

I am going to be in Madison from Wednesday evening through to the early hours of Tuesday morning, and I would love to talk about possible contributions. I have a smartphone and never let go of my laptop, so email is the best way to contact me (wischronicles@gmail); you can also use the message board at the con. And this is what I look like.

Friday 4pm

Senate A
Black Souls in White Clones: Swimming in Shawl's "Deep End"
This story (from Nisi's Filter House collection) challenges every boundary between the "true" self and the lived-in body. If we create a life in the edges of a prison culture, can we ever be free? If the only way to breathe air is in the jailer's clone, are we still ourselves? How can our lover's unfamiliar bodies still enchant us? When the clone begins to decay, can we accept its limitations?
M: Eileen Gunn. Andrea D. Hairston, Nancy Jane Moore, Jef a. Smith

Autism and Aspergers in Science Fiction
Whether implicit or explicitly stated in the text, characters on the autism spectrum populate the literature in seemingly increasing numbers. Is it a trend? Are the characterizations accurate? Do they need to be labeled? Are these characters fully fleshed out, or are they merely used as plot devices? Are they stereotypes or is the diversity within the autism spectrum being fully represented? How do these books fit in with the ideas of disability and neurodiversity? What more needs to be done?
M: Jacqueline Houtman. Haddayr Copley-Woods, Deborah Keil, Sandra J. Lindow

Friday 9pm

I’ll be at the vid party, presenting the “Vids with Something to Say” intro showcase.

Senate B
Where are Your Gods?
Where are your Gods? On or off the page? Do you choose to publicize your beliefs or do you keep them private? Do you choose to risk alienating more traditional readers by an alternative spiritual path or do you stand up as an example? Do you feel ostracized for holding more traditional or conservative beliefs? Does your spirituality inform your writing? Can you be a monotheist but build a world of many gods? How important is it that your audience knows where you are coming from? Join us for a discussion of the role of personal religious beliefs in your writing.
M: P. C. Hodgell. Ada Milenkovic Brown, Suzy Charnas, Moondancer Drake, Pamela K. Taylor


Senate B
Paranormal/Sci-fi Erotica: More Room for Feminist and Anti-Racist Discourse?
Erotic fiction, like feminist SF/F, exists on the margins of the publishing and literary world. There's stigma attached to it. There are folks who don't see it as "real" writing and don't take it seriously. While this can be frustrating, it may also actually allow for a greater amount of freedom for writers and authors. Does erotic fiction allow more room for feminist, LGBTQ, and anti-racist discourse? Is there more leeway to explore and stretch boundaries within a genre that hasn't been so clearly defined? Let's talk about feminist, anti-racist, anti-ablist, anti-ageist SF and paranormal erotica and the possibilities for creating and re-imagining new definitions of sexuality within it.
M: David Emerson. Jim Leinweber, Allison Moon, Nonie B. Rider

Saturday 8.30am

Steam Around the World: Steampunk Beyond Victoriana
Beyond Victoriana, what steampunk possibilities exist? Come join us as we take you on a trip around the world to see how steampunk manifests in the minds of those who don't think within an Eurocentric context, whether they blend Western influences, or use recognizably steampunk elements within a distinct flavor outside of Europe. We will also approach the ethical challenges that come up when engaging in multicultural steampunk and discuss matters of race, privilege, and cultural appropriation.
Ay-leen the Peacemaker, Jaymee Goh

Senate A
What's There to Look Forward To?: Dystopia and Anti-Scientific Attitudes in YA SF
A number of critics like Farah Mendlesohn and Noga Applebaum have noted that the large majority of young adult science fiction novels tend to be both dystopian and anti-science. Mendlesohn has argued that such books aren't real SF because they fail to participate in the outward-looking perspective of true SF and may actually turn young people off to reading. Applebaum has suggested that such books may also damage the ability of the young to survive in our increasingly high-tech world. Do we agree? Let's debate and discuss!
M: Mark D. Rich. Dr. Janice Bogstad, Courtney, Jacquelyn Gill, Rebecca Holden


Class Issues in Science Fiction and Fantasy
It's not been easy for the SF community to come to terms with class. In a society where the working poor and the unemployed are growing in number, and the middle class is being destroyed, it's vital that we discuss class. Let's build on our discussions of class at WisCon 34, which included a powerful Class Basics panel, to discuss class and class warfare in SF as well as the real world.
M: Eleanor A. Arnason. Jess Adams, Beth Plutchak, Fred Schepartz, Chris Wrdnrd

Senate B
Yearning from the Threshold: Magic Realism & Diaspora Literature
Those who write about diaspora create from the threshold, from the border. Magical realism—with its crossing of many borders, including the border between magic and reality—allows the writer to celebrate the myths and folklore of home, even as the story echoes the experience of being ex-centric, out of the mainstream, and on the threshold. Join us for a conversation about the ways that the displaced writer (whether immigrant, ex-pat, diaspora, or refugee) uses magical realist fiction to explore the idea of marginality.
M: Mary Anne Mohanraj. Hiromi Goto, Nisi Shawl, Sheree Renée Thomas, Ibi Aanu Zoboi

Capitol A
How Intersectionality Enlarges Feminist Community
Although feminism has historically focused on gender, there are a lot of different axes of oppression in the world and the daily lives of most people interact with those oppressions at least as much as gender. A forward-looking, relevant feminism needs to take that into account and work for people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, people of size, and people who speak different languages, to name just a few. What are the challenges and opportunities available if we expand our focus to include other oppressions? How do we do so without losing our soul or asking our allies to lose theirs? How do we do so without engaging in "the Oppression Olympics"?
M: E. Cabell Hankinson Gathman. Ian K. Hagemann, Betsy Lundsten, Isabel Schechter, Shveta Thakrar


Conference 4
Vigorous Debate, or Verbal Harassment?
One of the strengths of the SF community is that it's almost always open for discussion and debate. Unfortunately, when discussions get intense, the line between "vigorous debate" and "verbal harassment" can go from blurry to invisible. How can we tell when a discussion has crossed that line? What do we do if we're the one who's crossed it? How can we step in to call back a friend who's crossed it? Let's discuss how to recognize verbal harassment and brainstorm strategies for addressing it within a community where everyone is a friend of a friend.
M: Jess Adams. Andy Best, Michelle Kendall, Kate Nepveu, Maevele Straw

Senate A
Postcolonial Steampunk: A Global Perspective
The steampunk aesthetic is anchored in the 19th Century British Empire and, more specifically, Queen Victoria's London. Still, there are efforts to separate steampunk from its Victorian roots and reclaim the time period in the name of the formerly colonized. How do we write our own specificities into the genre? What pushback do we receive for daring to break away? How do we negotiate appropriation and privilege when confronted by it in steampunk circles? What's REALLY steampunk?
M: Jaymee Goh. Ay-leen the Peacemaker, Amal El-Mohtar, Liz L. Gorinsky, Nisi Shawl
(Perhaps someone will write up all the steampunk panels as a group?)

Conference 5:
Good Coalition, Bad Coalition: Feminist Coalition-Building
Feminists need to continue building broad coalitions in order to create a world that welcomes women. However, the history of feminism has plenty of examples of coalitions that now seem ill-advised, such as the anti-pornography coalition with the religious right in the 1980s. How can we as a movement create and support better coalitions?
M: Debbie Notkin. Laurenn McCubbin, Pamela K. Taylor, Maria Velazquez

Conference 3 (academic)
Babies and Bows or Bows and Arrows? / Disability and the Problem of Horror

Room 629
Assimilation and the Immigrant Grandchild
What is assimilation in the U.S. for those with immigrant narratives and experiences as part of their family stories? How do we define it? Is it inherently oppressive? Inherently xenophobic? Completely necessary? Are the most challenging aspects of a new group’s culture always excised, or do these new cultural ideas stimulate growth and change in our mainstream society? And in what ways does assimilation happen? Join us to recast yourself not as an American, but as the descendant of immigrants. How did your family assimilate? What privileges and powers did you gain? What did your family, and you, lose in the process?
M: Mary Anne Mohanraj. Neesha Meminger, Nnedi Okorafor, Oyceter, Ibi Aanu Zoboi


Capitol A
Beyond Etiquette: How Not to Disable People with Impairments
What exactly is disability activism and the social justice model of disability? We'll address stereotypes and define and discuss terms and language associated with the disability activist movement such as accessibility, accommodation, "people first," "crip pride," universal design and interdependency, and discuss how to build a foundation for world-changing activism.
M: Ann Crimmins. Haddayr Copley-Woods, Jesse the K, Ann Keefer, Sandy Olson

Capitol B
Fanfic 401
This is the serious stuff—it is most certainly NOT a 101 panel! Let's discuss bisexual invisibility, the erasure and/or marginalization of female characters, authorial intent, trigger warnings, underage audiences, and source problems. When does fanfic get it right? When does it get it wrong? This will be a cross-fandom discussion.
M: Florian. Johanna Eeva, Beth Friedman, Kate Nepveu, Nonie B. Rider

Conference 5
The Self-Reflective Revolutionary
Many revolutionaries discount personal issues. For example, many Marxists claim that family of origin issues will disappear once we "fire the bosses." Many revolutions, however, collapse due to the egos of revolutionaries unwilling to recognize that they might become (or already be) part of the problem. At best, overthrowing a society might require different skills than governing one—and at worst, we might become new bosses, only slightly different (or even worse) than the old ones. Does focus on analysis of society prevent us from looking at ourselves as individuals? Does personal growth work obliviate us to politics and the effects of our society on individuals? Is it scarier to look into a mirror or the mechanics of oppressive state power? Is self-reflection a luxury?
M: Ian K. Hagemann. Paul Bietila, Timmi Duchamp, Josh Lukin, Elena Tabachnick

Room 623
Why Are Some Belief Systems Valued Over Others?
In 2009, WisCon hosted a panel in which the discussion celebrated paganism, Wicca, and atheism while criticizing and disparaging Christianity, Judaism, and other traditional religions. Let's have an honest discussion about why our community rallies to defend some belief systems and disparages others.
M: Kimberly Gonzalez. Darrah Chavey, Elise Matthesen, Isabel Schechter, Shveta Thakrar

Room 634
The Future's Here, It's Just Not Evenly Distributed
Many SF books presuppose dramatic technologically-led transformation for the human race. But even in a high-tech society, not everyone can or will adopt technology at the same rate. Will developing countries leapfrog the industrialized world and go right to the newer technologies, as several countries did with cell phones? What will happen to the late adopters when the singularity comes?
M: Kevin Lovelace. Lisa C. Freitag, Katherine Mankiller, Nancy Jane Moore, Neil Rest


Vids with Something to Say
Fan videos or vids are music videos made with re-edited footage from TV shows and films. They use the combination of images and music to get a vidder's point across. That point can be a celebration of shows and characters the vidder loves, an expression of fannish opinion, or, sometimes, an excoriating critique of sexism, racism, and heteronormativity in media. This presentation is part of a multi-part celebration of vidding by WisCon members; we'll watch, analyze, and discuss some of the vids screened at the Friday night vidparty. Let's come together and discuss these vids with important things to say about science fiction, fandom, gender, race, and sexuality.
M: Alexis Lothian. Skud, Gretchen Treu

Capitol A
Class in SF: Who Gets It Right?
In fiction, lower and working class individuals and groups are often depicted in broadly drawn stereotypes. Where are the stories that depict the working class and the poor accurately and with dignity? Where are the stories that challenge class and classism, or present workable solutions to the problems of class difference? Let's spend our time not thinking about how often class goes wrong in fiction, but focusing on where it's gone right. Afterward, we'll post the list online to spread the wealth.
M: Chris Wrdnrd. Eleanor A. Arnason, Rachael Lininger, Geoff Ryman, Jef a. Smith

Conference 4
Why We Do What We Do: WisCon's Statement of Principles
WisCon's planning committee (concom) recently created a Statement of Principles to guide our work: In the statement, we make a commitment to a broad definition of feminism. What does it mean to be a feminist science fiction and fantasy convention? Come add your voice to the conversation. We want your feedback and suggestions.
M: Sheree Renée Thomas. Jeanne Gomoll, Cat Hanna, Debbie Notkin, Victor Raymond

Room 634
Looking Beyond the Gender Binary in Anime and Manga
Sometimes, the media of manga and anime fail hard at handling gender. But sometimes they are amazing. In some series, people pass back and forth between genders (Sailor Moon), or have gender confusion (After School Nightmare). People also seem to cross-dress a lot more frequently than they do in Western SF/F media. Let's talk about examples in anime and manga that look beyond the gender binary in a meaningful way.
M: Andrea Horbinski. Johanna Eeva, Emily Horner, Oyceter, Andy Smith


Senate A
The Trials, Joys and Tribulations of Tiptree Jury Duty
Lots of things happen during a year of reading for the Tiptree Award: discussing works with fellow judges, identifying nominees, and making the final decision. Judges live all over the world and rarely meet, so they have to figure out how best to talk to one another. Over the last 20 years, judges' communications moved from snailmail to email and then to wiki, where they must figure out what gender-bending means for them, that year. They disagree. They agree. They read a lot and sometimes discover that the experience of reading for the Tiptree has affected the way they read afterwards. They make friends and sometimes they don't. Let's take a peek behind the curtain.
M: Alexis Lothian. Gwenda Bond, Karen Joy Fowler, Geoff Ryman, Sheree Renée Thomas

Sunday 10am

Room 634
Fumi Yoshinaga's Ooku: The Inner Chambers
Since winning the 2009 Tiptree Award for the first two volumes of Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Fumi Yoshinaga's series has continued on through volume 5 and forges further into the alternate history in which a terrible plague affecting only men utterly changes medieval Japanese culture. Beautifully drawn, the story is a feast for science fiction readers whose sense of wonder is sparked equally by the gender themes, alternate history speculation, and the we're-not-in-Kansas-anymore vision of historical Japan. Yoshinaga's view of gender and power isn't a simple matter of women taking charge from men. What characteristics does Yoshinaga clearly think are gender-specific, no matter which gender is in power? What changes in this alternate history with the transfer of power?
M: Andrea Horbinski. Mely (coffeeandink), Cynthia Gonsalves, Margaret McBride, Gregory G. H. Rihn

About the "Writing the Other" Workshops
Nisi Shawl is the co-author (with Cynthia Ward) of Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Differences for Successful Fiction, a book derived from the authors' workshop of the same name. In the workshop, participants explore techniques to help them write credible characters outside their own cultural experience. Panelists will talk about their experiences attending and moderating these workshops, and discuss how they applied what they learned in the fiction they created afterward.
M: David D. Levine. Ada Milenkovic Brown, Nisi Shawl, Cynthia Ward

The Body Language of Online Interaction
Contrary to received wisdom, it's possible to convey emotional information in text. In addition to the widely scorned emoticons, there's an evolving body language expressed through sentence length, word choice, timing, as well as purely typographic means. Every online community has its own nuances, and it can bewilder those hoping to join. This paraverbal information is used to maintain the boundaries between the cool kids and newcomers. Learn how to identify the body language in use to become a more confident net citizen.
M: Jaymee Goh. Lisa C. Freitag, Debbie Notkin, Heidi Waterhouse

Capitol A
"The Personal is Political" Revisited
The title of Carol Hanishch's 1969 essay "The personal is political" became one of the best-known slogans of the feminist movement. Women were challenged to see their life circumstances not as individual situations of choice, but within a broader context of gendered oppression and societal structural inequalities. The panelists will look at the intersections between the personal and political in their activist work, and will examine the meaning and relevance of the slogan today.
M: Susan Marie Groppi. Susan Simensky Bietila, Alan Bostick, Pamela K. Taylor, Karen *Warrior of Worry*

Capitol B
What is Queerness?
What do we mean when we say we're lesbian, gay, bi, queer, or any of the other terms we might use? How do we define these terms? What do they mean to us? What history do we have with them? What about those of us who don't choose label ourselves? A lot of people at WisCon identify with one or more of these terms, but different generations and different groups construct their identities differently. Let's start talking about it.
M: Allison Moon. Moondancer Drake, Carrie Tilton-Jones, Xakara, Alberto Yáñez


Senate A
The Evolution of WisCon
WisCon was born in at a particular moment in history in 1976. As feminism evolved, WisCon's scope also broadened. Thirty-five years on, WisCon reflects members' diverse experiences, politics, and concerns. How has WisCon grown and changed over the years? What are some of the interrelations between various constituencies? Our panelists, veteran WisCon members, will tell tales and dispense sage observations.
M: Gregory G. H. Rihn. David Emerson, Jeanne Gomoll, Bill Humphries, Tom Porter

Living with Invisible Disabilities
Not all disabilities are visible. How much do you tell and explain to whom? What unexpected barriers do you encounter? How can others be better allies? How are characters who have disabilities that are not readily apparent treated in SF?
M: Cat Hanna. Alyson L. Abramowitz, Gerri Balter, Julie Hayes, Shira Lipkin, Sandy Olson

How to Respond Appropriately to Concerns About Cultural Appropriation
At WisCon 33, the Carl Brandon Society taught a course which reviewed the basic concepts around race, colonial history, and cultural appropriation, along with a discussion of ways to build a vocabulary to discuss these topics. Let's use that background to discuss what would be appropriate, considered, thoughtful responses by authors to concerns that their work contains cultural appropriation.
M: Victor Raymond. K. Tempest Bradford, Mary Doria Russell, Geoff Ryman, Rachel Virginia Swirsky


Conference 5
Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights: Beyond Uterine Replicators
Reproductive justice links reproductive health issues with social justice. Women of color in the 90's challenged feminist projects, asking "Who has the right to bear children? Who has the right to not bear children?" These questions remain relevant in a genre where the conversation often begins and ends with the idea that legal access to abortion is the most important issue facing reproductive rights activists. How does SF grapple with issues of reproductive justice? How do issues of structural oppression impact the ability to maintain bodily sovereignty? What would a world look like when everyone is in charge of their reproductive capabilities?
M: Maria Velazquez. Susan Simensky Bietila, Florian, Genevieve A Lopez, Katherine Olson/Kayjayoh

Back for a third go-round, by popular demand! Writers of color working in F/SF face unique challenges, it's true. But, at the end of the day, being a "person of color" is only one aspect of what makes up our identities as writers. While it's very flattering to asked to be on panels, most of these panels never crack the ceiling of Race 101. With that in mind, wouldn't it be nice for multiple writers of color to sit on a panel that isn't about race at all? Here's our chance to do just that. So, what are we gonna talk about, instead? Practically anything! Presented in game show format, SIBLING OF REVENGE OF NOT ANOTHER F*CKING RACE PANEL brings together writers of color to get their geek on about any number of pop culture topics—none of them race related.
M: K. Tempest Bradford. Amal El-Mohtar, Michelle Kendall, Victor Raymond, LaShawn M. Wanak


Conference 3 (Academic)
Cryptomnesia / Our Literary Mothers / Domesticity in Herland

Living Your Values: The Politics of Daily Life
Proponents of lifestyle activism ask that we express our political values through private actions, such as buying from companies that treat their workers fairly. As former Weatherman Bill Ayers asked, "How can I live my life such that it doesn't make a mockery of my values?" At the same time, we live in the real world and have limited resources and increasingly limited options. For example, it's impossible to get a phone or an Internet connection without dealing with one of a very few large corporations, either directly or indirectly. This roundtable will look at the criteria, choices, and consequences that we accept or don't accept.
M: Ian K. Hagemann. Courtney, Beth Plutchak, Maevele Straw, Meg Turville-Heitz

Senate A
I'd Object, If I Weren't Invisible
Bisexuals have unique problems in being out, because in any pairing, they look straight or gay. It is only if we say something that our status is known. Is it exhausting to try to come out all the time? Is it worth the effort? What good can we accomplish with our passing privilege? And how can those of us who are bisexual object effectively to being erased?
M: David D. Levine. Betsy Lundsten, Jennifer M. Nissen, Julia Rios, Alberto Yáñez

Senate B
We're All Mad Here: Madness in Fiction
How have writers used the concept of madness? Does it denigrate, or exalt the character? Tag them as dangerous, sick, bad or holy? In touch with genius, or another world? How do cultural norms influence our definition and the expression of madness? Can it be a way of healing or renewal? A political act? Why was it a popular 19th-century plot device? Who is considered mad these days and why?
M: Vicki Rosenzweig. Cassie Alexander, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Sarah Monette, Catherynne M. Valente

Where Is the Indigenous American Fantasy?
Why is American fantasy so Eurocentric? If you believe our fantasists, American cities are populated with imported Romanian vampires, Russian werewolves, Celtic faeries, Nordic gods, Germanic witches, and the (very) occasional African god or Arabic djinn, but scarcely a homegrown magical being to be found. In fact, indigenous magical beings abound in the Americas and their stories of magic, wonder and horror are widely told by spoken and written word. North American mythology is rich with magical beings. Do these stories get adequate air time? Is it easier to imagine an Old World teeming with supernatural beings than to visualize a North America enchanted with indigenous mythical beings? Is it difficult to believe that we live in a naturally magical place? And if we did, what would it look like?
M: Theodora Goss. Valerie Estelle Frankel, L J Geoffrion, Andrea D. Hairston, Katherine Mankiller, Georgie L. Schnobrich

Capitol A
Racefail, Open Source Boob Project… so many ways to fail. How do we keep stepping in it? What is it we're stepping in? How can we avoid stepping in it?
M: E. Cabell Hankinson Gathman. Molly Aplet, Florian, Rachael Lininger, Kate Nepveu

Conference 4
Science Fiction That Saved My Life
Many believe that SF can change the world. Let's start by looking at some works of SF and fantasy that changed us and our view of the world.
M: Shannon Prickett Patron of the Arts. Liza Furr, Gremlin, Elise Matthesen, Lyda Morehouse

None of the Monday panels scream “This must be in the book!!” at me... But perhaps they do to you?

Also, I would also like to hear about LobbyCon, HotelRoomCon, OnlinePeopleWhoCan’tAttendCon... Important conversations don't always happen during panels and WisCon reaches well beyond the Concourse, after all.


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WisCon Chronicles

August 2011

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