Evolution is the foundational concept of biology. Unfortunately, in the popular imagination and in public discourse (including within science fiction and fantasy media), misconceptions abound regarding what evolution is, how it works, and its implications for human origins, diversity, and identity. In this panel, three biological anthropologists will identify and discuss common misconceptions about human… Continue reading Misconceptions about Human Origins and Evolution
The name Tiffany sounds modern, but is actually old. Sometimes historical accuracy can look like an anachronism to modern readers. How should writers address this? When should you change things to seem more plausible, and when should you stand your ground?
Black Panther, in comics and film, provides a view of an African country that has never been conquered or colonized. This panel will discuss what it means for a civilization to develop entirely on its own without the interference of “white gaze.” What other authors have imagined the culture of the unconquered?
What are the cultural and social boons and banes that might come from a growing technological ability to change your physical appearance? What are the implications for identity? For fashion? How might governments, science fictional or otherwise, react to developments in body alterations and/or consciousness if less tied to a single physical form? Will we… Continue reading Nobody Looks Like Themselves Anymore
What does a lifetime annuity mean to the undead? Are werewolves responsible for their actions during the full moon if they contracted lycanthropy by accident? Do mermaids have standing to bring citizen suits under the Clean Water Act? Do vampire thralls run afoul of anti-slavery laws? Not actual legal advice. Results may vary. Please contact… Continue reading Legal and Actuarial Supernatural Hypotheticals
From horse-drawn felts to drop spindles, bone needles to stone loom weights, our experts consider how historical fabric art processes developed across various regions and what impact fabric technology had in the lives and products of historical peoples. Join art historians and fabric arts specialists as they talk about their favorite historical examples and coolest… Continue reading History of the Fabric Arts
What was the Ishango bone for? What games did the Romans play with d20s? We may never know, but archaeologists spend a lot of time working it out. For the rest of us, it can be hard to tell the difference between a fact, a likely fact, and a mere educated guess. Learn how to… Continue reading Archaeological Fact in Historical Fiction
How can you, as a writer, effectively build a spacefaring civilization into your work? What parts of space empires can be directly extrapolated from world history, and what elements will you need that are unique to interstellar commerce, diplomacy, warfare, and lifestyles?
In the colonies of the future, who will be responsible for planning what the city looks like and how it develops? Is this a job for engineers, for the civil service, or someone else? What factors should be considered?
The 1918 flu pandemic had huge impacts on culture over the subsequent decades, including significant changes to architecture and personal fashion. What kinds of long-term changes to our public aesthetic will we see in reaction to COVID-19? Will restaurants and other public spaces need to change their room layouts and building designs? Will branded, designer… Continue reading Post-Pandemic Aesthetics