Chicon 2000

Academic Track

Rev. 12-Jul-2000
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Continuing Education

Anyone interested in earning Continuing Education Credits from Oakton Community College (at a rate of 1 credit for 10 hours of participation), contact Beverly Friend at

A PDF of the Continuing Education Form has been posted. Those interested in CE credits should print it out, and take the form to your local college to get course approvals.

What's Happening on the AcaTrack

Beverly Friend,

Long ago, in a place not so far away (Milwaukee), Jerry Pournelle dismayed an audience of academics attending the annual meeting of the Science Fiction Research Association.

First, Jerry likened science fiction authors to hunters, going out into the woods to bag their prey, bringing it home slung over their shoulders. Then, he compared science fiction critics and teachers to parasites, living off those writers.

That view continues today, giving fans a distorted view of academia.

To fight back, Neil Rest led a wonderful panel on "Fandom for Academics" at another SFRA meeting, this time in Evanston.

Now, the discussion continues on two Academic Track CHICON Panels.

Neil will be joined by Phyllis and Alex Eisenstein, Leah Zeldes, Dick Smith and Diane Blackwood for the panel, "What Academics Can Learn from the Fans." Then, Diane will shift gear and join Betty Hull and myself for a parallel panel on "What Fans Can Learn from Academics." Betty and I are continuing our thoughts from another SFRA moment when we spoke on "Who's Afraid of the Ph.D's."

Academics are fans, too, it's just that their fandom may spill over to main-stream authors: Hemingway, Joyce, even Jane Austen. Many academics also wear several hats. Some are authors and critics as well as fans, and the academic track will cover such diverse topics as teaching SF, the state of criticism, feminism, utopian fiction, and the minority presence in science fiction literature.

Eric Rabkin, from the University of Michigan, is planning one of the most exciting presentations. He will be joined by some of his student researchers for "SF Red in Tooth and Claw: the Genre Evolution Project Studies the Struggles of the American Science Fiction Short Story." For a closer look at their work in progress, see their website The Genre Evolution Project [www].

Additional programming, so far, also includes presentations from scholars nationwide:

To submit ideas, or join us, contact Beverly Friend at

Betty Hull and Beverly Friend are working on the programming for the Academic Track, and seeking ideas and participants. So far, the following topics have been suggested:

We would also like to know if attendees would be interested in receiving Continuing Education Units for attending.

Please send your comments to

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