The CyberPunk Culture Conference

The complexities of our contemporary techno-cultural age are embodied not in the science fiction (sf) of that ‘Golden Age’ period in the 1940s and 1950s but, instead, a cyberpunk period that emerged as a corpus of fictive thought experiments in the 1980s, evolved into diverse cyberpunk waves in the 1990s and 2000s, and is now best understood as what Thomas Foster calls a “sea change into a more generalized cultural formation” (xiv), a cultural formation that dominates our 21st-century techno-digital landscapes. To put it directly: we are living in inescapable cyberpunk futures bleeding into the interstices of our present, and these cyberpunk realities intersect with our mainstream culture at every possible angle.

At our current moment in time, the digital has become an ever-present reality far beyond what we could have imagined only a few months ago. Sherryl Vint’s claim that “We live in a cultural moment […] in which the material and the simulated are intertwined like a Möbius strip: they each have distinct identities, but we never inhabit a moment that is purely one or the other” (229) has never been more true. Cyberpunk has proven prescient in its description of the digital invading our lifeworld, of technology becoming visceral and our realities shaped by virtual interactions.

And lastly, the reality of social distancing, lockdowns, and travel bans has fully interrupted the way that work functions for most scholars. Conventions, conferences and smaller social gatherings have fallen victim to the need to self-isolate. This is especially hard for a community of scholars that is singular at their given institutions (with few exceptions) and pushes forward in science fiction studies despite being the odd one out in departments and at universities. It is even harder for those young scholars starting out and beginning the academic quest and seeking knowledge and companionship – the need to network is lost to a virus grinding the world to a halt.

Call for Papers
Program
Keynote
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CyberPunk Culture Conference 2020

July 9-10, 2020 – Online-only digital conference taking place on „http://cyberpunkculture.com“

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