Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities Conference Round-Up
A big thank you to everyone who came along to our conference, it was a pleasure to have you all at the University of Glasgow and to see the breadth of thought that’s currently bringing together the two fields of science fiction studies and the medical humanities. We began the day with Dr Luna Dolezal’s keynote on Gary Schteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. Dolezal showed how Schteyngart satirises contemporary society’s urge to quantify the human body’s outputs as data, and how medical status takes on a new importance in a surveillance society.
Our second keynote speaker, Professor Daniel Pick, told us about the project he is currently working on, Hidden Persuaders (@HPersuaders) which takes a look at the idea of brainwashing in the Cold War period and how this concept gained power in the popular imagination to the extent that it still affects the ways in which the ‘psy’ professions are viewed today.
Our final keynote speaker was Professor Patrick Parrinder whose recent book Utopian Literature and Science: From the Scientific Revolution to Brave New World and Beyond considers the intersections between utopian writing and science, including many chapters dealing with medical science or technology such as eugenics. In his keynote Parrinder discussed euthanasia in the utopian tradition, exploring how writers throughout history have understood the concept of the ‘good death’.
Between these keynotes we had a number of parallel sessions covering topics as wide-ranging as afrofuturism, posthumanism, and an entire panel on Kazuo Ishiguro’s depiction of science-fictional organ transplantation in Never Let Me Go. A full list of all our speakers can still be found here, and we hope that a complete conference report will be published in the coming months. To all those who came, thank you very much once again. Hopefully this will not be the last chance for us to collaborate and share our ideas.