Thanks so much to everyone who attended, and participated in, the Darwin panel that I organized for UCR's Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science (SFCS) Program this quarter. This event celebrated SFCS's recent name change, as we transition from the old acronym "Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies" (SFTS) to one that better describes the wide variety of research interests pursued across many different departments at the University of California, Riverside.
Speaking not only to our program's interests in Science Fiction, but also to our flourishing community of students and faculty who research alternative futurisms, especially as they relate to marginalized voices -- and the history of science, as understood by a wide variety of disciplines, this panel presentation (moderated by yours truly) brought together scholars from three completely different institutions: the University of California, Riverside; California State University, Los Angeles; and the University of Southern California.
Patrick Sharp (Cal State, Los Angeles), Professor and Chair of Liberal Studies and co-editor of Darwin in Atlantic Cultures: Evolutionary Visions of Race, Gender, and Sexuality, presented his work on "Amazons and Darwinian Feminism in Early Science Fiction," which included sf authors Mary E. Bradley Lane, Inez Haynes Gillmore, and Leslie F. Stone. Dagmar van Engen (USC), a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, presented their research, "Animal Beauty, Aquatic Hermaphroditism, and Invertebrate Analogies in The Descent of Man." And Devin Griffiths (USC), Assistant Professor of English and author of The Age of Analogy: Science and Literature between the Darwins, presented "Plants with Pencils: Darwin and Collective Authorship,” an analysis of Darwin's On the Various Contrivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects.
I look forward to further conversations with these generous scholars in the future!