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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies

For a Special Issue on
Science Fiction and the Cultural Politics of Education

Abstract deadline
15 January 2023

Manuscript deadline
15 June 2023

Cover image - Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

Graham B. Slater, Independent scholar
[email protected]

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Science Fiction and the Cultural Politics of Education

This special issue seeks contributions that explore the relationship between science fiction and the cultural politics of education. Just as cultural politics assumes the realm of culture to be highly contested, negotiated, and articulated to broader struggles, science fiction has proven to be a provocative cultural terrain where meaning is made, dreams are forged, and the imagination takes flight. The cultural politics of education are crucial to struggles for the future, which is itself a central concern of cultural studies. Yet as Henry Giroux has argued, linking cultural politics to resistance requires a pedagogical project; thus, a central focus of this special issue is exploring the pedagogical dimensions of the cultural politics of science fiction. The special issue asks: What can science fiction contribute to theories of cultural politics in education, and how can the cultural politics of science fiction influence pedagogy?

Science fiction, according to Sherryl Vint, is a transformative “cultural mode” of imagination that explores how science and technology alter individual and social lives, emphasizing their role in transforming worlds and realities. SF offers “a vision of the world made otherwise and the possibilities that might flow from such change,” and can demystify present conditions and spark visions of alternative futures. In this regard, science fiction harbors myriad pedagogical potentials that merit further exploration and experimentation within the current conjuncture characterized by authoritarian politics, cascading ecological crises, economic instability, unchecked corporate power, rejection of scientific consensus, violence, and technological acceleration. In this context, science fiction appears as a promising cultural mode of political thought. As Kim Stanley Robinson has often claimed, science fiction is “the realism of our time” and a rich source of utopian visions.

Science fiction has not developed separately from capitalist modernization, brutal imperialism, extractive colonialism, and various forms of social domination. Thus, this special issue welcomes critiques of science fiction that are relevant to the cultural politics in education. Nevertheless, science fiction also exhibits the capacity to operate as a diverse cultural text that employs modes of imagination – speculation (“What if…?”), extrapolation (“If this goes on…”), utopian (“A better world is possible… “) – that can enable visions of historical difference and inform thinking about the prospect of alternative futures beyond capitalist realism and the impasse of its endless present. As SF scholar Gerry Canavan puts it, “The future has gone bad; we need a new one.”

In many ways, contemporary education globally has taken on characteristics often associated with science fiction. Following Fredric Jameson’s description of science fiction as the “attempt to imagine unimaginable futures,” this special issue aims to explore the educational and pedagogical dimensions of this pursuit. How can science fiction guide critical education in fostering the capacity to imagine, pursue, achieve, and live in unimaginable futures? What questions, contradictions, and struggles does such an endeavor imply for theory, pedagogy, and cultural politics of education? How can cultural studies of science fiction advance how we think about the purpose(s) and potential of education in this historical moment? Thinking with science fiction affords education scholarship an imaginative energy made artificially scarce by the field’s hegemonic practicality.

Topics of potential interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Afrofuturism, ethnic studies, racial formations
  • Anthropocene, climate change, ecological crisis, (extra-)planetarity
  • Capitalism, political economy, policy, and governance
  • Colonialism(s), coloniality, decolonization, and Indigeneity
  • Cultural theory and criticism
  • (Dis)ability, cognition and consciousness, embodiment
  • Fandom and speculative subcultures
  • Feminism, gender, sexuality, queer and trans studies
  • Marxism, critical theory, and ideology critique
  • Media culture, popular culture, and culture industries
  • Science & technology, digital/algorithmic culture, posthumanism
  • Utopia, social movements, future studies
  • Youth and childhood studies

Submission Instructions

The special issue invites substantive (interdisciplinary) contributions (1,500-3,000 word essays or 4,500-7,000 word research studies) exploring the theoretical, cultural, political, and pedagogical relevance of science fiction to contemporary and future forms of education, broadly construed.

Submissions should use APA style citations and references.

Please submit abstracts (300-500 words) with brief author bio or inquiries with the subject heading “REPCS Special Issue Proposal” by January 15, 2023 to: [email protected]. Invitations to submit manuscripts through the journal submission portal will be extended by January 30, 2023.

Anticipated timeline (Early 2024 publication):

Abstracts due: January 15, 2023

Invitations to submit manuscript: January 30, 2023

Manuscript drafts due: June 15, 2023

Reviews returned: July 15, 2023

Revised manuscripts due: November 15, 2023

Final revisions due: December 10, 2023

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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