The University of Iowa

Global science fiction is subject of next WorldCanvass

March 13th, 2012

“Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science fiction is the improbable made possible.” -Rod Serling


Science fiction scholars and a renowned filmmaker will join host Joan Kjaer on April 13 at 5:00 p.m. in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber for what promises to be a robust discussion of the genre of science fiction, both in literature and in film. We’ll look at the genesis of science fiction and at its profusion around the globe, discussing recurrent themes and the impact of science fiction on both popular culture and everyday assumptions about the future. We’ll also meet the artist who brought us SLEEP DEALER, award-winning filmmaker Alex Rivera.

Professor Brooks Landon and Associate Professor David Wittenberg, both of the UI English Department, will join Rob Latham of the University of California, Riverside, for an overview of the complex and imaginative field of science fiction literature and cinema.

University of British Columbia Professor Sharalyn Orbaugh, Depauw University Professor Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr., and Latham will discuss technology and the body, as well as science fiction and the state.

Orbaugh and Ronay will explore science fiction on the global scene with Rachel Haywood Ferreira of Iowa State University, Nathaniel Isaacson of North Carolina State, and Sami Khan, a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant from India working this year at the UI.

A special highlight of the evening will be our interview with filmmaker Alex Rivera. His first feature film, SLEEP DEALER, premiered at Sundance in 2008 and won two awards, including the award for screenwriting. His films address concerns of the Latino community through a language of humor, satire, and metaphor, and they’ve been screened internationally at venues such as The Berlin International Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, The Guggenheim Museum, PBS and Telluride. His work has focused on what he sees as two parallel realities: the globalization of information through the Internet, and the globalization of families and communities through mass migration.

This WorldCanvass program is part of an international conference called “Visions of the Future: Global Science Fiction Cinema,” taking place on the UI campus from April 12-14, with major sponsorship provided by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Chief Diversity Office at the UI. Co-directors are Jennifer Feeley, assistant professor of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Sarah Ann Wells, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese.

Please join us as a member of the live audience at 5:00 p.m., April 13, at the UI’s Old Capitol Senate Chamber. For other viewing and listening options, please consult this page: