2013-2014 SFRA Executive Council Candidate Statements Online, Ballots Sent by Email on Sept 17

Immediate Past President Lisa Yaszek sent out the 2013-2014 SFRA candidate statements . You can find them here or pasted below.

After serving as the SFRA’s first publicity director and current vice president, I am now running for president (as you can also see below in the list of candidate statements). I have contributed to our current initiatives–some of which are still being implemented, and I would very much like to see these through under my watch. I hope that you will support me in that goal with your votes.

Good luck all around–we certainly have a very strong selection of candidates in this election!

Attention SFRA Members: in one week (September 17) you will receive a ballot from Lisa Yaszek via e-mail, which will enable you to cast your vote online. If you are a paid member and have not received an e-mail from Lisa Yaszek by September 17, please contact her ASAP at lisa.yaszek@lmc.gatech.edu.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by surname.

Presidential Candidates

Jason W. Ellis

Since joining the SFRA in 2006, I have gladly committed myself to the service opportunities that support our organization. With your support, I would very much like to continue my commitment to the SFRA as our organization’s next President. During the past six years, I have fulfilled the duties of a number of service positions within the SFRA. Most recently, I have served as the Vice President. During my term, I have coordinated with our Publicity Director and Web Director to grow the organization’s online presence through our website and social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I conducted research over the past eighteen months that indicated new journal delivery priorities for our members and unveiled the avenues of new member recruitment. Based on that research, we instituted new online outreach efforts to publicize the organization and our annual conference in order to attract new members. Furthermore, these efforts, while still in their infancy, help us reach potential new members and grow the annual conference while reducing annual organizational expenses and avoiding sponsorship crises. The association achieves these benefits through our on-going organizational transition from paper-based communication and publication to digital forms. Before serving as Vice President, I gained a better understanding of the association’s administration as the SFRA’s first Publicity Director—a post that I held from 2008 to 2010. While in this appointed role, I created press releases, promoted the organization and its conference, and supported the digital transition of the organization. In addition to these responsibilities, I have also contributed to the SFRA in other ways. After I received the 2007 Mary Kay Bray Award for two of my fiction reviews that appeared in the SFRA Review, I served on the Mary Kay Bray Award committee for two years and chaired it during my third year. I also have conference experience from the 2009 Atlanta meeting when I served as its Programming Director.

If you elect me as SFRA President, I will happily assume the duties of the office and continue the efforts of the previous executive committee to make the SFRA a more efficient, streamlined, and future-oriented organization. First, I will work closely with the other executive committee members, conference directors, SFRA Review editors, and award committees to ensure the continued steady operation of the SFRA. Second, I will guide the digital transition of the organization’s operations to its intended completion. Admittedly, this has been a long, on-going process initiated out of financial necessity and modernizing inevitability. However, I believe that my prior collaboration with the web director and the previous two executive committees will keep this final phase of the transition on target. Third, I will initiate a new plan to further the professionalization of all SFRA members—academic or not—in these increasingly uncertain times. I will solicit advice from members on their positive and negative career experiences. Working with the editors of the SFRA Review and conference directors, I believe that we can leverage these personal insights to support student and underemployed members through advice and shared experiences. Finally, I will collaborate with the membership to make the SFRA more inclusive of new SF research trends and more relevant in an increasingly science fictional world.

Pawel Frelik

I am honored to be nominated for the position of SFRA President. I joined the organization in 1997 and since then I have attended a number of SFRA conferences; served on the Pioneer (twice as a member and once as a chair) and Graduate Student Paper Award (twice as a member) committees; and organized the 2011 SFRA Conference in Lublin, Poland. Outside SFRA, my experience in professional societies includes service on the Boards of the Polish Association of American Studies (1999-2007) and the European Association of American Studies (2007 – present).

If elected, I will endeavor to conduct all statutory duties of the president but there are also two areas in which I would like SFRA to expand in particular and which constitute my bona fide program. The first is SFRA’s expansion into areas, both thematic and social, which reflect science fiction’s increasingly diverse interests and science fiction studies’ connectedness with other disciplines. In this area I would like to foster further internationalization outside North America, emphasize member recruitment in non-Anglophone countries, and strengthen links with other academic associations such as the Utopian Studies Society or the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, whose areas of interest may overlap with ours.

My other concern is further development of the online presence of the organization. While some steps have already been taken, for an organization whose interests include digital and communications technologies, we are still very un-technological and un-digital. Many initiatives in this era have already been suggested, but, to my mind, can be pursued more decisively and with more concerted effort. Among them are the online directory (needless to say, incorporating individual members’ wishes concerning degrees of privacy), the online archive of conference materials (a very important part of the communal memory, which is virtually non-existent at this time), further archivization of SFRA Review, or more pronounced presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. To my mind, all these will not only reaffirm SFRA’s sense of a community that is more than just an annual conference but will also attract new and younger members that may not be as aware of SFRA’s existence.

Vice Presidential Candidates

Shawn Malley

Dear SFRA membership,

I am writing to announce my candidacy for the position of Vice President in the upcoming SFRA executive committee elections.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a full professor in the English Department at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where I teach a range of courses including Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Literature, Literary Theory, Creative Writing, and Science Fiction Film and Literature.

While I have been a member of the SFRA for only two years, my research interests and publications have been fully committed to the field of SF studies for several years now. My particular interest is representations of archaeology—or, rather, archaeology as a mode of representation—in SF film and television. This work evolved out of my monograph From Archaeology to Spectacle in Victorian Britain: The Case of Assyria, 1845-54 (Ashgate, 2012), which concludes with a case study of contemporary SF film representations of Mesopotamian archaeology and the military occupation during the recent Gulf War. An expanded version of this study will appear this September in the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, under the title “Archaeology as WMD.” My article “Battling Babylon: Stargate SG-1 and the ‘Archaeology-Military Complex’” is forthcoming in Genre this winter. An article on the “reimagined” Battlestar Galactica, “‘Does All this Have to Happen Again’: Excavating Heritage in BSG,” is under review at Science Fiction Film and Television. I am currently writing a book under the title Excavating the Future: Archaeology and Geopolitics in Post 9/11 Science Fiction Film and Television. I invite you to visit my academic profile for further information: http://www.ubishops.ca/academic-programs/humanities/english/faculty.html.

Aside from my academic interests in SF, my desire to serve on the SFRA executive was perked by my extremely positive experience at this year’s conference in Detroit. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many of you, listening to and engaging with your ideas and projects, and sharing the pride and care you all have for the discipline and its rich critical and creative history. I am also heartened by the experimental sensibility of the organization, the willingness to search for new modes of tapping into the vast universe of SF studies. I came away from the conference inspired—and I continue to be inspired—by the collective energy and good will of all the participants. Especially with the welcome I felt as a first time conference attendee, and the supportive environment the group extends to its student members.

I understand that a major part of the responsibilities of the VP is to serve as membership and public relations officer. If elected, I look forward to the opportunity to developing initiatives with the new executive and the technical support team to attract new members, coax old members back into the fold, and to exploit in the best sense of the term everyone’s talents and passions in order to continue to promote our work to the many people engaged in the intellectual pursuit of SF.

In terms of management I have at this stage in my career been chair of many important hiring and Senate committees, served as departmental chair, am co-ordinator of the Cultural and Media Studies and Creative Writing programs, and am, like many people at my Liberal Education university, actively engaged in recruitment and retention initiatives.
I thank you all for considering my credentials, and look forward to continuing what I trust will be a long and prosperous relationship. If you need any clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,
Shawn Malley
Professor
Department of English
Bishop’s University
smalley@ubishops.ca

Amy J. Ransom

Although my area of specialty (Quebec SF, fantastique & horror) may seem a bit marginal, I have a broad background in utopian theory, feminist SF and continually keep up on contemporary trends in our field. I am Associate Professor of French at Central Michigan University and I have been a member of SFRA, with a couple of gaps, since 2006 and one of the biggest honors of my career was to win the Pioneer Award in 2007. I have been building a record of service to the profession and to SFRA in particular in a number of ways over the last five years, regularly contributing book and media reviews to SFRA Review, as well as book reviews to Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Extrapolation, and Science Fiction Studies. I also organized a panel session at this year’s SFRA and in Fall 2011 co-organized (with Miléna Santoro of Georgetown University) a plenary reading and Q & A session, as well as a related paper session, bringing Élisabeth Vonarburg and Sylvie Bérard, two Québec SF writers, to the Association of Canadian Studies in the US in Ottawa, Canada. I was also involved in at least a half-dozen sessions at WorldCon 2010 in Montréal. I would very much like to serve SFRA as its Vice-President; working in the science-fiction community has really allowed my career to grow and I would like to give something back now. As someone who has been advocating for the developing field of Postcolonial SF since 2005, I hope to strengthen that area’s presence in the organization, as well as broadening its international scope through contacts in Francophone and, potentially, Hispanophone SF.

Treasurer Candidates

Steve Berman

I would be very happy to serve as Treasurer of the SFRA for 2013-2015 term of office. I have been a member of the SFRA since 2006. I have delivered several papers over the past few years, and I have published several media reviews in the SFRA Review. At present, I am a full-time instructor at Oakland Community College (Auburn Hills, Michigan) where I served as Department Chair (1992-2000) and where I regularly teach a course in Science Fiction and Fantasy (both online and face-to-face). My most recent involvement with SFRA was as one of the hosts of the 2012 SFRA conference in Detroit. My role as conference host was to communicate with the conference membership (over 600 e-mails from July 2011 through June 2012), make event arrangements with the hotel event manager, invite and make arrangements for the featured guests, and handle all the conference financial transactions, which included receiving payments from the guests, paying the hotel bills, and providing refunds to guests who had to cancel. I am happy to say that the conference was a resounding success. As Treasurer of the SFRA, I will keep a close watch on the organization’s finances, do my best to increase the membership, and work with the Executive Committee to find ways to cut excessive costs. Thank you for considering my candidacy as Treasurer of the SFRA. If elected, it will be my pleasure to serve.

Susan A. George

Hello SFRA Membership, I hope this missive finds you all well. I’m Susan George and I would like to tell you a little about myself, why I’m running for Treasurer, and my qualifications for the position. My very first academic conference was the Eaton/SFRA conference on the Queen Mary. Since then I have continued to attend various conferences and publish on the issues of gender and the alien other in science fiction film and TV. Recently I have become very involved in the administration of SFRA. I just finished my three year tenure on the Mary Kay Bray Award committee and I’m currently completing a term as secretary. I have decided to run for Treasurer because it fits well with my past work experience. Before returning to college, I was a bookkeeper for a retail store and an accounting technician for Santa Cruz County Probation. I have a great deal of experience with record keeping, accounts payable and receivable, and spreadsheets (excel and otherwise). As the supervisor of the Probation accounting unit, I also have experience dealing with a wide variety of people quickly, efficiently, and professionally. I would be delighted to bring my expertise in accounting and my interpersonal skills to an organization that continues to support my other interests—the study of science fiction media. I would appreciate you support and you vote. Best, Susan A. George

Secretary Candidates

Jenni Halpin

A relative newcomer to the SFRA fold, I came to literature by way of science fiction (and never left). I’m delighted by the collegiality at the heart of the SFRA and would be honored to contribute more substantially to its ongoing support of science fiction research. In the years since finishing graduate school I have had the time to absorb the rhythms of teaching, research, and service at my institution (Savannah State University), and I am now in a place to expand the horizons of my activities beyond occasional conference attendance.

I have been not only an administrative assistant to an academic department but also a recording secretary for various small organizations with boards ranging from five to twenty people. I see the secretarial role as one of facilitation, not only in keeping records but especially in the opportunity for big-picture thinking afforded by revising rough minutes. Beyond the moment in which focused decision making occurs, a bit of reflection can remind us of the forest in which we are deciding to put those trees, and the combination of tricky little details with vast metathinking reminds me of hard science fiction and appeals to me. Punctual, organized, and attentive to details, I would consider myself privileged to involve myself in tracking and shaping the ongoing work of the SFRA.

Derek Theiss

I am pleased and humbled to be nominated for the position of Secretary of SFRA. I have been a member since 2007, and my first conference was 2008. Even then, as a graduate student, I was overwhelmed by the openness and warmth of the members of this organization. I have attended several SFRA conferences since then—volunteering to help when able—and have found this warm welcome each time. I have always lamented not being able to do more, finally realizing that the executive committee would be a great way to give back to an academic society from which I have received so much.

In the position of Secretary I would dedicate myself to the duties of this office in particular by facilitating communication between the committee and the membership. Also, I will continue to recruit new members at all stages of their careers and do what I can to ensure that SFRA continues to thrive in both membership and in the vitality of the sf research that it supports. I have taught at several universities and currently hold a position at UC Davis—my own recent research focuses on alternate history and scientific methodologies. I have both taught sf and served in administrative roles at several of these universities, from Case Western Reserve to the University of Illinois. Having worked with so many younger students, I am especially dedicated to encouraging early career scholars to pursue sf studies, just as members of SFRA have encouraged me.

I would greatly appreciate your vote, and look forward to the chance to serve you as Secretary. Thank you.

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.

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