The University of California, Riverside is proud to host a 2015-16 Mellon Foundation-sponsored John E. Sawyer Seminar on the topic of “Alternative Futurisms.”

UCR’s Sawyer Seminar will bring together scholars, writers, and artists to work on the intersections between ethnic identity and futuristic speculation. The main purpose of “Alternative Futurisms” is to create a dialogue about diverse ethnic futures and to explore the power of speculative fiction as a tool for social change. Afrofuturism, Latino futurism, Indigenous futurism, and Asian-American futurism share a similar status of marginalization compared to hegemonic science fiction (sf), which has historically been dominated by white writers and thus has tended to elide questions of ethnic diversity through visions of a color-blind, post-racial future; this hegemonic sf at times rests on colonialist and imperialist ideologies that have been central to the genre’s history. The various traditions of ethnic futurism have emerged from and been shaped by their cultural specificity and historical relationship to technology, yet to date there has been comparatively little communication among them and almost no effort to articulate their areas of shared focus or opportunities for collaboration. This is precisely the scholarly and cultural gap that “Alternative Futurisms” seeks to fill, by enabling these various sites of speculative intervention to exchange ideas and perspectives, to investigate commonalities and differences in experiences of technologized modernity, and to deepen the knowledge within each tradition about both these other sites of engagement and the core of mainstream, Western sf that provides a common starting point for their shared goals of cultural resistance and ideological transformation.

We invite applications for a one-year postdoctoral fellow whose research will be supported by this seminar. The fellowship comes with an annual stipend of $42,000 and health insurance coverage. The Fellowship is open to all scholars, national and international, who meet application terms. International scholars are appointed under a J-1 visa only (Research Scholar status). No exceptions can be made, and the University of California, Riverside reserves the right to cancel awards if the recipient is unable to meet this condition. Applicants should consult the international programs office at their current university to confirm eligibility before applying for this fellowship.

Click through for more information, and please rebagel widely, tweet it, or otherwise tell all your academic friends!

englishnations replied to your post:Also, not confirmed until we get approval for the…

WHAT?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!! *hugs you and spins around* So exciting!!

I have conditional approval, in that I was chatting with our department chair in person and said, “hey, I’d love to teach a Tolkien class,” and she said, “tell me about what you’d want to teach in it,” and I did, and she said, “write up an actual course description and tentative syllabus and send it to me, we might be able to do that in spring,” so I sent it to her last night, and this morning got back (just before I made the tumblr post) an email asking which days I’d rather teach, T-Th or MWF, which I think is unofficial approval, so I feel relatively safe announcing it here. :-)

Open Access and the plight of post-graduates

My cohort is finally, and slowly, arriving at the Defences and emerging out as PhDs (I’m getting there, I swear!), and as is the case for the majority of new PhDs these days, many of them are unable to land any academic jobs or even Post-Docs. And that suddenly raises new issues, especially for those who are still hoping to get back to academia in a couple of years, after they amassed a few more publications: once you’re no longer a student, you have no access to publications.

My institution allows alumni to get a paid account that grants access to a small list of publications. Membership at APSA and the CPSA will buy me access to some leading publications as well. But once I leave the university, I will be completely barred from the majority of academic work out there (unless I’m willing to do all my work physically at the library, which as an alumnus I can gain access to).

That’s a scary prospect for someone like me, who had easy access to one of the best libraries in the world for the past seven years, and was not without access to academic journals for a decade and a half. I got used to being able to just Google Scholar any piece of data that caught my fancy and read up on it easily. But once I graduate, it will be all gone.

That’s my Halloween thought right there.

This is yet another reason to support the Open Access movement in academia. Having to depend on an institutional library for access to the world’s research means that those of us who are expelled from it by the vagaries of the market are doubly punished, and it means keeping up with the hope of hopping back on when things improve is that much harder.

There’s very little justification as it is for a situation where publishers get to freely use the work of academics who were paid and motivated by somebody else to write articles, and then turn around and sell that exact work back to universities at exorbitant prices, undermining the very point of academic work: generating knowledge and making it accessible fo the world.

As more and more new PhDs end up in jobs outside of academia, this situation is getting even worse: many people who are qualified and willing to participate in the scientific debate are getting shut out of it for no good reason.

Open Access is about returning to the roots of what academic work is for. It’s not just about opening the Ivory Tower to the layman, but also about ensuring that those occupying this tower can continue to benefit from the ideas and knowledge generated by those who left it for greener pastures.

Gonna take off my pants and drink champagne.

Cause that’s what you do when you finally finish a 7 year PhD program.

And getting sushi wearing my ravenstag flowercrown tomorrow on Halloween.

It's becoming more and more clear that in the U.S., trying to learn history is becoming a political act

The history that you learn in school depends on which political party is in power in your district. Even college presidents are trying to control which version of History young people are allowed to learn.

People can say what they like about Medievalpoc “pushing an agenda”. My point? There is no neutral ground. To tell a story is to have a reason for doing so; to write about history is to shape the way toward the future.

History is much, much more than dusty lists of dates and the names of deceased white men. History is dynamic, interpretive, constantly changing and a living, breathing past we can all see ourselves in. History helps us form our identities now. History is where we can learn what harm has been done, and what we can do to correct it.

It’s my hope that we can all find opportunities here to feel empowered, inspired, and enlightened by History.

5 Plots on Gender You Have to See (Weekly Plotly Roundup)

We’ve posted a new roundup of the latest and greatest Plotly plots! Check out our full post with the interactive plots embedded to find more awesome content.

The data for this area plot comes from a study in which researchers sent thousands of identical emails to professors across the country and signed them with names signalling different genders and ethnicities. Basically, in every department outside the Fine Arts, emails signed with a “white male” name received more attention than almost any of the others — even when the professors were themselves women or members of a minority group. Read more…