International Conference on ‘The Possible and Impossible Worlds of Science Fiction’ (11 – 12 September 2020, via Zoom)

Keynote speaker: Professor Isiah Lavender III (University of Georgia, USA)

Featured Speaker: Ms. Mimi Mondal (Noted science fiction & fantasy author and critic)

[Image description: A dark hand is raising a glass jar into the night sky such that the swirling cosmos is contained within the jar and is being set free. Overlaid on this image is text regarding the name and dates of the conference, the keynote speakers, and the link to this webpage]


Science fiction has long offered spaces to conceive of and challenge our existing worlds ad circumstances. Engaging with futuristic and imaginative elements, contemporary Science Fiction has a long and complex history. Seen to have originated through literary reactions to historical events such as the European Enlightenment, the scientific revolution, modernism, and eventually postmodernism, the genre of science fiction and fantasy often took on elements of existing trends—such as the epistolary novel, the gothic novel, and more—and made them their own. These are evident in examples that range as broadly as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), Muhammadu Bello Kagara’s Gandoki (1934), Satyajit Ray’s The Diary Of A Space Traveller & Other Stories (1965), Octavia Butler’s Kindred (1979), etc. Moreover, science fiction itself travelled widely, as can be seen from Liang Qichao and Lu Xun translating works by Jules Verne into Chinese in the early 20th Century to advocate for the writing of local science fiction.

Popularly known today as sci-fi or SF, science fiction remains in conversation with increasingly sophisticated scientific and communications technologies that have come to define the modern world since then, lauding or critiquing them at different times. It continues to reinvent itself to adapt to modern and postmodern contexts across cultures in a world continually treading the fine line between present and future, progress and stasis, illusion and reality, dream and nightmare. Notably, it offers spaces in which to extrapolate from and talk back to historical or contemporary events. For example, Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves (2017) examines the processes of scientific racism to discuss the effects on indigenous populations. In contrast, Samit Basu’s Chosen Spirits (2020) is a chilling dystopian reading of contemporary Indian anxieties.

The cataclysmic events of the 20th and 21st centuries have seen the genre shift from its more traditional focus of time travel or alternate worlds to postwar globalised realities such as extraterrestrial invasions, biological mutations, ecological catastrophes, the aftermath of nuclear war, interplanetary warfare, altered states of consciousness, surveillance cultures, and artificial intelligence. As a futuristic genre, it provides a percipient commentary on social, political, ecological, and technological realities of our times. Science fiction offers a sharp critique, repeatedly puncturing the illusion of scientific progress as a triumph of rationality. The sublime spectacles science fiction offers cannot mask or detract from its transformative potential: particularly in the time of a global pandemic, we need the possibilities uniquely afforded by this genre, and it would be a fallacy to trivialise it or dismiss it as scientific mumbo-jumbo or a collection of escapist fantasies.

We invite papers on the following themes:

  • Established or Alternate Histories of Science Fiction 
  • The Gothic Novel and Science Fiction
  • The Evolution of Time Travel in Science Fiction
  • Cognitive and Affective Elements of Science Fiction
  • Problematising the ‘Science’ in Science Fiction
  • Representation of Animals in Science Fiction
  • Examining Race/ Caste/ Class/ Gender and Sexuality in Science Fiction
  • Indian Science fiction
  • Children’s Sci-fi
  • Early Science Fiction
  • The Golden Age of Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction Genres – Cyberpunk/Space Opera/ Space Western
  • Spatiality  in Science Fiction
  • Social Justice and Science Fiction
  • The Graphic Novel and Science Fiction
  • Sci-Fi Cinema/ Television Series

We encourage applications from young scholars and academics from marginalised groups.

Accessibility: The St. Andrew’s Equal Opportunity Cell has tips and guidelines for presenters to create accessible online presentations at the bottom of this blog post. 

Submission Guidelines

Submission of Abstract

  • Length: 200 words
  • Language: English
  • File type: Microsoft Word
  • Font: Times New Roman, size 12 pts, spacing 1.5.
  • Biodata: 50 words

The abstract must contain four-five keywords, and must be emailed as word documents, and emailed as attachments to andrews.english.conference2020@gmail.com. 

The abstract must be submitted by 25 August 2020 and intimation of acceptance will be provided by the conference organisers by 30 August 2020.


Only selected papers will be published in our departmental journal “Ruminations” (with ISSN number) on successfully passing the anonymised peer-review process.

Submission of Full Paper

All paper submissions must observe the following guidelines:

  • Language: Papers must be written in English ONLY
  • File type: Microsoft Word
    • Length: 3000 – 4000 words
    • Title of Paper
    • Author(s) and affiliation(s)
    • Abstract (with four – five keywords)


Full papers must be submitted in Times New Roman, size 12 pts, double-spaced.

Title: Type in upper case letters, bold and left aligned.

Author(s) names: Type in upper case letters

Author(s) affiliation(s): Type in lower case letters

If papers have more than one author, the first author will be considered as the contact person for all correspondence related to the article.

Referencing Style: MLA, 7th edition

Full papers must be submitted before the conference date.

Registration and Payment

The registration fee is Rs. 500/- and must be paid once informed that the paper has been accepted for presentation.

Non-presenting audience members are welcome to attend for free and can be provided with a certificate of attendance. Please fill out this google form to register your intention to attend the conference.

A participation confirmation will be sent by email after the conference organisers receive the related payment and any necessary documentation.

If full payment is not received by 8 September 2020, the conference organisers will assume that the presenter is no longer interested in participating in the conference. 

Details of payment:

ACCOUNT NUMBER2090142000006134

Kindly send an email to andrews.english.conference2020@gmail.com intimating the organisers about the payment. In your email, kindly mention your name, the date of transaction, the UTI number, and attach a scanned copy/screenshot of the transaction. Also provide your phone number, and affiliation details in the email.

Please note that a fully paid conference fee is for one presenter per one paper. If the co-presenter/author of the same paper wishes to attend the conference, they must register separately and pay the conference fee in full.

Also note that the registration fee is non-refundable.

Important Dates

Conference Dates: 11-12 September 2020

Submission of Abstract: by 25 August 2020

Intimation of Acceptance: by 30 August 2020

Payment of Registration Fee: by 8 September 2020

Submission of Full Paper: by 10 September 2020


For any queries, kindly email us at the conference email address andrews.english.conference2020@gmail.com

Assistance in creating an accessible online presentation

In order to ensure that the maximum number of people are able to access and engage with presented work, we ask that presenters consider (some of) the following suggestions to ensure that our presentations are as inclusive as possible. Explanations are provided to help readers understand how these actions can increase access.

Given that Microsoft PowerPoint is the most common software used in our experience, we have used it as the basis of many our explanations, though some of these methods can be carried over to other forms of software as well.

  • Describe slide content

Read out written content on slides or ensure it is included in the verbal presentation itself. When using images or gifs as part of a presentation to illustrate a point, briefly describe the image/ gif in question in a line or two. Focus on the broad descriptions and use these to draw attention to the point you are using the image to make rather than any unnecessary details. This allows people with visual impairments to access the same information as everyone else. Additionally, this assists in supporting people who may have problems with their screens on their devices.

Members of the audience may struggle to simultaneously process both visual content as well as the presenter’s speech, so this takes that into account as well and focuses audience attention on the pertinent points being made.

  • Once gifs have been displayed, remove them or stop movement

When using a gif, allow it to play through once or twice to make your point and then stop its movement by clicking on the moving image. Gifs can be distracting and discomforting to those who have issues with overstimulation. Once a gif has played through or as the presenter continues with their presentation, the gif could be either stopped or removed.

Use of gifs should ideally avoid gifs that have flashing lights or flickering as these can cause migraines or seizures. If such a gif is essential, a warning should be provided before so audience members can choose to look away, the gif should be played and described, and then stopped with the presenter noting that the gif is now stopped so as to allow audience members to opt back in.

  • Fonts and Size

Audience members with visual disabilities, as well as those working from smaller screens, would benefit from the use of clear fonts in large sizes. Most commonly recommended fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Lucida Sans, Tahoma, and Verdana (or what are termed the sans serif fonts) as these display better on computer devices, do not have distracting flares or flourishes, and have distinct spaces between each letter making them easier to distinguish for anyone with dyslexia.

  • Slide design

Ensure that the text colour on the slide has a high contrast with the background colour as this makes text easier to read. If possible, limit the uses of reds and greens to account for audience members who may be colourblind.

  • Access for d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing audience members

We encourage presenters to think of audience members who have auditory disabilities and consider how best they can provide access. We offer different options here and encourage presenters to use the version that might work best for them.

An option is to include the text of the presentation on slides being used for the presentation itself, which would not require audience members to split focus between the presentation and any included handout. This would act as a subtitle that is integrated into the presentation, allowing both audience and presenters to read along during the presentation without splitting focus or needing to use multiple screens. Our thanks go to Dr. Jaipreet Virdi for demonstrating this during her BSHS keynote presentation which can be accessed for free here: https://jaivirdi.com/2020/07/09/watch-bshs-keynote/

An alternative is for presenters to use an open google document and provide the link to this during their presentation. The document could be locked to view only or allowing for downloads, as per the presenter’s wishes. This open document could be provided during the conference for a limited time to allow audience members to read the paper alongside the presenter. This would also allow audience members who require more time to process or would like to return to certain points to have easier access to the information, assisting genuine and engaged scholarship.

  • Content warnings

A warning for any graphic images or gifs (particularly in scenes which are known to be violent or abusive) would be helpful for those members of the audience who would prefer to look away at the time while still attending the larger paper. While titles and abstracts may provide broad information about content, a brief warning by a presenter before the image, gif, or video is displayed would assist in this case.

  • Questions and Answers

We encourage moderators to ensure that access is maintained during the question and answer sessions. If a question is asked in written format, it should also be read out, whereas if the question is being asked verbally, it could be transcribed in the chatbox by a designated conference volunteer/ organiser. Similarly answers could be summarised and added into the chatbox to try and ensure access to the interaction for all participants.

We thank anyone reading this for taking the time to engage and hope that you may find ways to use this information in future presentations.

If you have questions or follow up concerns, we encourage you to write to us at eqopc@standrewscollege.ac.in.

Programme of Events for the International Conference on The Possible and Impossible Worlds of Science Fiction (11-12 September 2020) via Zoom

(Department of English, St. Andrew’s College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Bandra West, Mumbai)

11 September 2020


9.00 am – 9.15 am: Welcome and Introduction

9.15 am – 10 am:  Prof (Dr.) Isiah Lavender III (Keynote Speaker), “Black and Blue: Racism and Policing in Science Fictional America” (ISL interpreter available)

11 September 2020

Session I – 10.00 am – 11.15 am

  • Ankit Prasad: “The Structure of ‘Scientification’’: Thought Experiments in SF by Indian Scientists”
  • Vishnu Vijaykumar: “God as Machine: The Evolution of a Distinctive Indian Science Fiction Cinema”
  • Uddipana Borah: “Hauntological Future(s) in Science Fiction: Finding the Gothic in the Works of China Mieville”

Session II – 11.15 noon – 12.30 pm

  • Mavis Rodrigues: “‘A Heavily Edited Timeline”: Feminism, Time Travel and Memory in Annalee Newitz’s The Future of Another Timeline”
  • Suma M.S.: “Men Entry Prohibited: A World of Women in Select Feminist Science Fiction”
  • Dr. Aparna Mukherjee Chatterjee: “WALL-E: Breaking the Mechanical Wall of Planet Earth”

12 September 2020

9.00 am  – 9.45 am: Ms. Mimi Mondal  (Featured Speaker) (ISL interpreter available)

Session I – 09.45 am – 10.30 am

  • Atul: “Mapping the Posthuman Body and the Violence of Interwined Human Psyche and Machine in J.G. Ballard’s Crash”
  • Jaya Sarkar: “Representing the Posthuman Embodiment: The Case of Netflix’s Animated Science Fiction Anthology”

Session II – 10.30 am – 11.45 pm

  • Amanda D’souza: “A Flight from Reality is a Journey towards Identity: Escaping Selfhood through Escape and Metamorphosis in the Animorphs Series”
  • Ishika Saxena: “The Antihero in Science Fiction: A Close Reading of Flowers for Algernon and Holy Fire
  • Diya Rajput: “‘At least he knew what he was’: Negotiation of Identity, Intimacy and Interaction in Padmanabhan’s Harvest

Session III – 11.45 noon – 1.00 pm

  • Carol Coutinho: “Black Mirror: A Reflection of the Futuristic Past”
  • Dikshya Samantarai: “Question of Authenticity in the Multiverse of The Man in the High Castle
  • Indrani Das Gupta: “Travelling Subjectivity and the Narratives of the Nation-State: Locating Samit Basu’s The Gameworld Trilogy in the Global South”

Vote of Thanks

Accessibility Arrangements:

Our thanks go to our ISL interpreter, Tincy Makson Benjamin, for the keynote and featured speaker.

Summary document of presentations available for anyone who is d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing (HoH) available HERE that will be furnished by student volunteers from the St. Andrew’s College Equal Opportunity Cell. This document will only be available on the day of the presentation and will be deleted following the end of the livestream/ zoom.

National Conference on ‘EcoPasts and Un/Sustainable Futures: The Literatures of Climate Change’ (13-14 September 2019)

[Image description: The image is a poster of the conference which has the conference title, its dates, and the college’s details on it. These are superimposed on a picture of an arid and cracked earth, with little to no vegetation against a gray sky with few clouds. To the right of the image is a gnarled tree with no leaves.]

While the last two decades have seen a sharp increase in climate fiction, or “cli-fi,”these concerns draw on longstanding cultural traditions and ideological frameworks engaging with fields such as geology, geography, environmentalism, postcolonialism, disability theory, socio-political contexts, and economics. These span fiction and non-fiction, such as Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, a collection of essays that he introduces by recounting his family’s history as “ecological refugees” fleeing the overflowing shores of the Patna River in 1850.

With the melting of the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, heat waves, natural disasters, deforestation and dehumanisation of forest inhabitants, pollution, losses of entire species of plant and animal life, and growing calls for sustainable solutions, the looming spectre of climate crisis is already embedded in our modern consciousness. For example, in Prayaag Akbar’s 2017 novel Leila (adapted as a Netflix series in 2019), air pollution and a water crisis exacerbate existing caste and religious tensions, leading to segregated housing and resource hoarding by the privileged, while N. K. Jemisin’s award-winning Broken Earth science fiction trilogy (2015-2017) examines love, community, and trauma as apocalyptic earthquakes, pollution, scarce resources, and mass migration herald the end of the world.

Given the emphasis Child and Young Adult media places on the power of co-operation and caring, as well as their own experiences of growing up in a world where the extinction of animal species and resource scarcity are commonplace, there has been a rapid proliferation in approachable media on these subjects. Many of these works offer critiques of climate change’s effects on plant and animal life, and are intended to inspire eco-conscious behaviour. For example, Maria-Pilar Landver’s Giddy Godspeed and the Felicity Flower (2017) has a young protagonist struggle to save a flower wilting in an unrelenting heat-wave, while Jan Thornhill’s picture book The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk(2016) talks about the species extinction of the auk birds due to climate change. Children’s films also feature apocalyptic fears of climate change within the context of mass migration, such as the animated dinosaurs seeking refuge in The Land Before Time (1988) and the prehistoric mammals of the Ice Age media franchise (2002 – 2016). This media also offers teaching moments wherein eco-conscious behaviour and the needs of sustainability can be discussed, with examples ranging from 1990s animated television series Captain Planet and the Planeteers to Meghan Herbert and Michael E. Mann’s 2018 children’s picture book The Tantrum That Saved the World.

The urgency of environmental activism is a key factor in eco-conscious fiction, with writers, actors, and poets often drawing from or representing their activism in their work. For example, Lakota Sioux poet Layli Long Soldier’s 2017 collection Whereas features poems that protest the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, drawing on interviews she conducted with Standing Rock activist Waniya Lock, and the larger social movement of #NoDAPL by the Standing Rock Sioux of the Dakota and Lakota Nations. Closer to home, Adivasi Mumbaikar Sheetal Borahade depicts the ongoing deforestation and destruction of Adivasi padas in the Aarey Colony through her Warli artworks. Local water activists, such as Greedlander Aka Niviana and Marshall Islander Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner collaborate to write poetry deeply inflected by their activism as the cultures and landscapes around them are irretrievably changed by the thawing of ice caps and rising sea levels.

Considerations of apocalyptic futures and autocratic presents also emphasise the necessity for global human rights, and position the issue of climate change itself as a human rights issue, touching on the refugee crisis as in Julie Bertagna’s 2002 speculative fiction novel Exodus (re-issued in 2017) which considers what it means to be an asylum-seeker in a technocratic future where access to land is increasingly policed. Moreover, Janet Fisko (2012) notes that ideologies of eugenics and ableism are strongly embedded in the art, literature, and protest constructions of climate change survival,and this must be interrogated and challenged if we are truly to speak to “the future of humanity”.

However, not all depictions of global futures are bleak. With a focus on sustainable solutions to environmental disasters and resisting despair, the 21st century short story genre of Solarpunk envisions a future of green, sustainable energy used by societies that value inclusiveness, cooperation, and personal freedom while grapple with real world issues. With collections like Ecotopia (1997), Sunvault (2017) and Glass and Gardens (2018), solarpunk constructs an imaginative terrain to consider inclusive solutions to the climate crisis. Mixing science with literature, physicist Vandana Singh’s Ambiguity Machines (2018) offers short stories like “Indra’s Web” that considers a solar-powered utopia, while mainstream films such as 2016’s The Flying Jatt builds comedy around community efforts to combat supervillains powered by corporate greed and growing industrial pollution.

Given the vast scope of the question at hand, we invite engagement with literature and media that consider the realities and effects of climate change. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

Monsters of the Future: EcoHorror and EcoGothic

Histories of Ecofeminism

Communities at the End of the World

The Poetry of Climate Change

Queer Ecologies and In/Animate Actors

Solarpunk,Radical Reforms, and Eco-speculative Fiction

Utopias, Dystopias, and Access to Ecological Resources

Climate Change and the Anthropocene

Apocalyptic Fiction and Fantasy

Climate Fiction and Activism

EcoApocalypse Ableism and Biopolitical Aesthetics

Future Speculations: Climate Change as Disability Rights Issue

Seeing is Believing: Media Representations of Climate Change

Scarcities and Technofiction

Terraforming and Geoengineering: Altered Geographies and Reassessed Realities

Speculative Futures of Trauma and Sustainability

Climate Change and Posthumanism

Petrofictions and Post-Fossil Economies

Caste, Religion, Segregation and Resource Policing

Childhood Fictions of Responsibility and Sustainability

Corporate Corruption and Radical Revolution

We are particularly keen on encouraging early stage research which includes student participation at undergraduate and/ or graduate level. We strongly encourage students to consider submitting individual papers, posters, and/ or presenting as part of a student roundtable.

Conference Keynote:

[Image description: The image is of a man wearing a dark blue shirt with lighter patterns on it with blue jeans. He is standing near a green wrought iron fence behind which is a garden in bloom. There are large blurry yellow sunflowers in the background of the image.]

Rajat Chaudhuri is a bilingual fiction writer and activist from India. He has published five works of fiction (novels and short story collections) including The Best Asian Speculative Fiction (2018), edited and introduced by him. His latest eco-disaster novel The Butterfly Effect (2018) is on the list of `Fifty Must Read Eco-Disasters’ of Book Riot as well as on a list of Earth Day network. His sixth book, a work of translation, is forthcoming. 

[Image description: The fly leaf cover of The Butterfly Effect. It is blue toned and has a bridge in the background over a city with swathes of fog covering it moving outward in a looping infinity symbol. Information about its narrative contents can be accessed here]

Chaudhuri has won the British Council administered Charles Wallace Creative Creative Writing Fellowship (University of Chichester, 2014), UK, a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship (2015), Scotland, a Korean Arts Council-InKo Residency (2013) in South Korea, and a Sangam House residency in India. Chaudhuri has done readings from his books, presented and spoken about his writing, eco-fiction and their interface with broader environmental and sustainability themes at national and international venues like Sahitya Akademi (Delhi), Dongguk University (Seoul), Chichester University (UK), George Washington University (US), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HK), Osmania University (India), Museum of Science Fiction (US) and elsewhere. His critical writing, fiction and literary essays have appeared in Indian LiteratureAsian Review of BooksAmerican Book Review (Univ of Houston), Scroll, Outlook magazine, The Telegraph and elsewhere.  

Trained in Economics from Calcutta University and after a stint with a Japanese government Mission, Chaudhuri turned to environment activism and creative writing. He has worked with international non-profits like CUTS and has been involved with the United Nations Commission on Sustainable  Development (UNCSD) as the Southern Coordinator of the NGO Caucus on Energy and Climate Change at the UN headquarters, New York. Chaudhuri is a past contributor to the UN World Human Development Report (UNDP) and has published non-fiction and activist work on water, sustainable consumption, responsible advertisng and other issues. In his role as an activist, Chaudhuri has participated and presented in a variety of sustainability themed events in Europe, USA, Asia and Africa and has done sustainability research for the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation at Stockholm. Currently he is a member of the Working Group on Culture and Sustainability of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption. 

He can be reached through his website www.rajatchaudhuri.net and via Twitter: @rajatchaudhuri

Submission Guidelines

Submission of Abstract

  • Length   : 200 words
  • Language: English
  • File type: Microsoft Word
  • Font: Times New Roman, size 12pts, spacing 1.5.
  • Biodata     : 50 words

The abstract must contain four-five keywords, and must be emailed as word documents, and emailed as attachments to andrewsenglishconference@gmail.com


Only selected  papers will be published in our departmental journal “Ruminations” (with

ISSN number 2249-9059).

Submission of Full Paper

All paper submissions must observe the following guidelines:

  • Language: Papers must be written in English ONLY
  • File type: Microsoft Word
    • Length: 3000 – 4000 words
    • Title of Paper
    • Author(s) and affiliation(s)
    • Abstract (with four – five keywords)


Full papers must be submitted in Times New Roman, size 12pts, double-spaced.

Title                            : Type in UPPER CASE letters, bold and left aligned.

Author(s) names          : Type in UPPER CASE letters

Author(s) affiliation(s)   :  Type in lower case letters

If papers have more than one author, the first author will be considered as the contact person for all correspondence related to the article.

Referencing Style: MLA, 7th edition

Full papers must be submitted before the conference date.


Participants are encouraged to make their own arrangements for accommodation.

Registration and Payment

The registration fee is Rs. 1000/-, and includes admission to all the sessions, tea/coffee for morning/afternoon breaks, lunches and conference materials.

If full payment is not received by 01 September 2019, the conference organisers will assume that the presenter is no longer interested in participating in the conference.  A participation confirmation will be sent by email after the conference organisers have received the related payment and any necessary documentation.  Receipts will be issued at the time of registration on the first day of the conference.

Presenters may be requested to present the payment receipt as proof of their registration at the registration counter. 

Details of payment:

Payment can be made in the form of a cheque in the name of ‘St. Andrew’s Society for Education and Research Association Degree’ and handed over to Mr. Abel at the college office. Kindly write the author(s) names and conference title on the envelope.

Alternatively, payment can be made in the form of a demand draft in the name of ‘St. Andrew’s Society for Education and Research Association Degree’. Kindly send an email to  andrewsenglishconference@gmail.com intimating the organisers about the payment along with a scanned copy of the DD. Kindly mention your name, phone number, and affiliation in the email.

Please note that a fully paid conference fee is for one presenter per one paper. If the co-presenter/author of the same paper wishes to attend the conference, he/she must register separately and pay the conference fee in full.

Also note that the registration fee is non-refundable.

Important Dates

Conference Dates:                  13-14 September 2019

Submission of Abstracts:       by 15 August 2019

Payment of Registration Fee: by 1 September 2019


For any queries, kindly send an email to andrewsenglishconference@gmail.com, and we will get back to you.

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