CFP: The Word for World is Forest Symposium, October 2022.

(Photo Credit: Maksim Isotomin, Unsplash)

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of Ursula K. Le Guin’s anti-war novella The Word for World is Forest.

Written during the Vietnam conflict, The Word for World is Forest depicts a distant world invaded by human beings who are desperate for natural resources. It tells the tale of an alien culture that resists the invasion, but is forever changed by the decision.

The Anarres Project for Alternative Futures calls for abstracts for a multidisciplinary virtual symposium that aims to bring together activists, organizers, and scholars to consider the ways in which Le Guin’s tale can help us to diagnose social injustices in the present moment, and to imagine the ways we can catalyze solidarities to achieve more just futures.

Rather than strictly academic discussions or literary critiques, we are looking for presentations that take Le Guin’s novella as a basis for understanding themes such as oppression, patriarchy and toxic masculinity, racial justice, resistance, colonialism/imperialism, nonviolence and armed struggle, environmental justice, intersectional solidarity in the world today.  We are especially interested in how the tale might help us develop strategies for mutual aid and community organizing against injustice today.

The symposium will be held on-line over Zoom on Friday, October 14, 2022.

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words by midnight (Pacific Time) Friday, September 9, 2022 using the submission form below.

Anarres Project: Year in Review 2019


This was an outstanding year for the Anarres Project. We brought together people in many different places for exciting and important discussions about the ways speculative arts can inspire our critical thinking and radical imaginations for just social change. Here is a round up of our events and presentations for the year:


March We held our first film and discussion event that touched on the ways anarchism and gender identity are dealt with in Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. These discussions opened the way for honoring (along with the Spring Creek Project) filmmaker Arwin Curry. She came to bring us a viewing of her wonderful documentary, “The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin.” It was jam packed at La Sells Stewart Auditorium for this award winning film in a community that loves Ursula.


April: This month saw the return of the Eugene based Trek Theatre to OSU with a performance of the classic Star Trek episode “Space Seed” which introduces the arch villain, Khan.


Anarres Project co-director Joseph Orosco gave a lecture a week before the performance on the ethics of genetic enhancement (Khan is a genetically enhanced super human who at one point tried to dominate all of earth) in order to give a philosophical background for the play.


This Trek Theatre performance took new directions with the character of Khan (originally portrayed by Ricardo Montalban): the actor for this version was a Black woman—race and gender swapping the character in a way that upends most historical accounts of genetic superiority.



At the end of the month, we also partnered with Veterans for Peace, and the Corvallis Latin American Solidarity Committee to have Cian Westmoreland, a former US Air Force drone technician, come to town to talk about human rights violations at the US/Mexico border.


May: We held the second installment of our popular series TrekWars@OSU that explores how the Star Trek and Star Wars universes handle a variety of social, cultural, and political issues. The theme this year was: Heroic Women. Our panel of fans examined what kind of female role models are held up in esteem by these two sci-fi franchises and the ways gender and trans discrimination are still perpetuated.




June: Anarres Project helped out with the Eighth Annual Solidarity Fair, a yearly gathering of labor, environmental, and social justice groups in downtown Corvallis, sponsored by the Mid Valley Industrial Workers of the World. We hosted the free book and literature booth. Following along the theme of the Fair—Stop Making Capitalism—we gave away donated books, many from PM and AK Presses.


September: Toward the end of summer, members of the TrekWars@OSU panel took their show on the road to Rose City Comic Con in Portland. In front of an audience of over fifty cosplayers and fans, the TrekWars crew talked about the annual event at OSU and gave them a sample by talking about the theme of heroic women.


November: We celebrated Indigenous People’s Month, by hosting another film and discussion event. We talked about how Native Americans are portrayed in mainstream science fiction and how Native artists are creating new vistas that blend traditional oral histories and sci-fi narratives. Our discussion spent a long time considering whether there are tensions between what we call “science” and traditional Native ways of knowledge. This was a great segue way to our highlight event of the year…

Staff Profile Headings_0

The Just Futures Symposium: We ended the year by bringing together a variety of scholars and activists to talk about how speculative fiction can inform our work on building just and equitable futures. The all day conference included talks on Star Trek, Star Wars, Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, Dungeons and Dragons. Our two keynotes included Dr. Grace Dillon, one of the founders of the indigenous futurisms genre in speculative arts, and Alex Riccio, a long time collaborator of the Anarres Project and one of the creative geniuses behind the LaborWaves podcast.

We’re looking forward to a brand new year!  Let us know if there are ideas and issues you have that you would like us to explore.






Just Futures Symposium Schedule, Nov. 22, 2019

Just Futures Symposium:  Speculative Arts and Social Change

Friday, November 22, 2019

Oregon State University

All Sessions are in the Memorial Union Horizon Room and are Free and Open to the Public.




9-9:10am  Welcome and Introductions


9:15-10:00am  Panel on Star Trek, Star Wars, and Socially Just Pedagogy

Joseph Orosco, Diana Rohlman, and Mohammed Shakibnia


10:05-11:05am Time Capsules, Utopia, and the Ethics of Care

James McDevitt: “Time Capsules: Visiting Speculative Futures with/in the Art Installations of Beatriz Cortez”

Philipp Kneis: “The Politics of Best Intentions: Questioning the Utopia / Dystopia Distinction”

Maurice Hamington & Ce Rosnow “Imagining A More Caring Future: Care Ethics and Poetry”



Break (10 Minutes)


11:15-12:05pm Power and Resistance from Tale to Testaments: The Politics of Margaret Atwood

Malori A. Musselman: “Resistance and Response to Environmental Disaster: The Handmaid’s Tale and the Power of Storytelling”

Courtney Campbell: “From Tale to Testaments: The Power of Story-Telling in Margaret Atwood’s Gilead”


12:15-1pm Keynote Address: Grace Dillon “Indigenous Futurism”


1-2pm Lunch On Your own


2:05-3 Racial Dystopias, and a Future of Restorative Justice

Scott Vignos: “Jemisin’s Dystopic Vision in the Broken Earth Trilogy”

Deidre Keller: “The Below, The Sunken Place, The Upside Down: Representations of Vulnerability in 21st Century America and the Potential for Imagining Liberated Futures”


3:10-4pm Elves, Fantasy Writing, and Decolonizing Role-Play

Colette Ohotnicky: “When the Elves Walk Among Us”

Jason Schindler: “Anthropocene* Games – table-top role-playing pedagogies for diversifying, decolonizing, indigenating, and organizing (*: term actively challenged)”


Break (15 mintues)


4: 15-5pm Keynote: Alex Riccio “Imagining a Better Utopia”


5pm Musical Performance by Space Neighbors


Just Futures: Speculative Arts and Social Change Symposium

Just Futures: Speculative Arts and Social Change

November 22, 2019

Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

Keynote Talk by Dr. Grace Dillion (Anishanaabe)–one of the leaders of Indigenous Futurism

The Anarres Project for Alternative Futures calls for abstracts for this multidisciplinary symposium that aims to bring together scholars, activists, and community members to consider the ways in which speculative arts can help us to diagnose social injustices in the present moment, and to imagine the ways we can catalyze solidarities to achieve more just futures.

Our understanding of speculative arts broadly encompasses the literature/film/television genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realism, and alternative histories. We seek the ways in which social justice and liberatory social change can be conceptualized through a variety of speculative lenses and themes including, but not limited to:

Major science fiction and fantasy franchises: Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, etc

Superhero and Villain universes: Avengers, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, X-Men, etc.

Literary Icons: Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Samuel Delany, Phillip K. Dick, N.K. Jemisin, W.E.B. Du Bois, J.R.R. Tolkein, etc.

Video and Role Playing Games : Halo, World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Minecraft, Dungeons and Dragons, etc.

Comic Books and Anime.

Presentations may be paper presentations, workshops, or poetry/prose readings. They may address some of the following themes and problematics, but are not limited to them:

• Gender and Sexualities
• Intersectionality
• Colonialism
• Imperialism
• White Supremacy
• Ableism and Disability
• Resistance
• Alternatives to capitalism
• Models of friendship
• Human relationships with technology, artificial intelligence, robotics
• Genetic enhancement and transhumanism
• The role of the Environment/non-human animals/creatures
• Future ecological scenarios
• Alternatives paths of co-evolution
• Cross Species Relationships
• The role of women-femmes
• The role of people of color
• The role of children/young people
• Ambiguity around “good guys” and “bad guys” in social conflicts
• Family/found family/lineage/heritage
• Class hierarchies
• Immigration, citizenship, and belonging
• Cultural appropriation and Orientalism
• Heroism through necessity
• The significance of names/naming
• Religion/belief/ritual
• Icons/symbols
• Hope-Despair
• Utopia, dystopias, heterotopias

Please send an abstract for your presentation of no more than 300 words by September 27, 2019. Each presentation will have approximately 20 minutes.