June 2nd, 2012

red panda eating bamboo

Wiscon panel report: Untangling Class

Untangling Class
Tracks: Power, Privilege, and Oppression (Feminism and Other Social Change Movements)

Description:
What do we mean when we talk about class? Is it about how much money we have? How much education? How we grew up? Our position with respect to a global capitalist world system? There have been a lot of WisCon panels in the past focused on speculative fiction that "does class well"—but how can we know whether something's being done well if we don't even know what it is? This panel brings together WisCongoers with expertise and experience in talking about class to hammer out (if not actually decide upon) some definitions.

Panelists (and key to my notes):
JA—Moderator: Jess Adams
BC—BC Holmes
AL—Alexis Lothian
CW—Chris Wrdnrd

[Firecat's note: Going to this panel was like walking in on an ongoing discussion, because the panelists have been discussing class together for a while, and some of the audience appeared to have been in on the discussion as well.]

[My notes aren't a complete transcription and may represent my own language rather than the actual words of the panelists. There are parts I definitely didn't catch or came out garbled, still trying to get used to my tablet's onscreen keyboard. I welcome corrections. I did not identify audience commenters by name. If you said something I paraphrased here and want your name to be used, please comment or send me a private message.]
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red panda eating bamboo

Wiscon panel report: Class, Culture, and Values in SF&F

Wiscon panel report: Class, Culture, and Values in SF&F
Tracks: Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction (Power, Privilege, and Oppression)

Description:
Class isn't just how much money you have or what work you do; it also involves cultural beliefs, values, and attitudes that are expressed in how you talk, what you do in your free time, and all sorts of less tangible elements. (See Barbara Jensen's book Reading Classes: On Culture and Classism in America, due out in mid-May.) The SF&F writing and fannish communities are mainly middle-class folks, which makes the class values of SF&F works mostly middle class, too. What works and creators explore classes outside the mainstream, white, European, middle-class value systems? What class markers tend to show up most, or least, often? Do these works show the non-middle classes positively? negatively? realistically?

Panelists:
Moderator: Debbie Notkin
Eleanor A. Arnason
Alyc Helms
Danielle Henderson
Rose Lemberg

[My notes aren't a complete transcription and may represent my own language rather than the actual words of the panelists. I welcome corrections. I did not identify all audience commenters by name. If you said something I paraphrased here and want your name to be used, please comment or send me a private message.]

[The book mentioned in the panel description, Reading Classes: On Culture and Classism in America by Barbara Jensen, is available at http://cornellpress.cornell.edu/ For a 20% discount use promo code CAU6.]
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