kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Kate ([personal profile] kate_nepveu) wrote2011-04-23 22:44

Conference: Pippi to Ripley: Heroines of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Thanks to Chad’s mom, who pointed it out to me, I spent today at Ithaca College at the first holding of a conference called “Pippi to Ripley: Heroines of Fantasy and Science Fiction.” The conference program is here, which is presumably a temporary location, so I’ve copied it under the first cut.

This was an academic conference, not a fan convention. The audience seemed to be a mix of college students, academics and associates thereof, and random people like me. There were some workshops for teens, but I’m not clear how well-attended they were. Ithaca College is a bunch of concrete blocks on a hillside, but there was wireless and two of the three lecture halls had outlets. Thus, I have notes (of course).

General Comments

The present-a-paper mode of conference wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, perhaps because the presentations were limited to fifteen minutes, though there were still better and worse examples of this mode. Also, the conference started really early—the first session was at 8:30—and as you will see, there were a couple of papers that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the topic, so I’m not convinced that the program couldn’t have been trimmed down some and started at a more reasonable hour.

Also if this happens again next year and I come, I’m getting directions from Chad’s folks for actual restaurants close by. I’d say I’m too old to eat dining hall food except I didn’t actually like it when I was in school either.

Finally, it was very weird to be listening to and talking about feminism & SFF in this context. I kept wavering between wanting to give some of the presenters my DW address or ask them if they knew about cons, and suspecting that fandom has already been there and done that.

The program, for reference:

8:30-9:30 Session I

Science Fiction Heroines of Film

Katharine Kittredge, “Starting with Ripley: Trends in Science Fiction Heroines”

Melanie Lorek, “Utopian Fantasy Meets Melodrama: The Female Heroine in East German Film”

Leah Summersville Ferrar, “Uhura Kissed a Vulcan: The Marginalization of Women and Minorities in J.J. Abram’s Star Trek

Mad, Bad, and Sad Heroines

Peri Blomquist, “Silence of the Swans: Female Martyrdom and Suffering through Fairy Tale Revision in Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest

Emily Stoner, “Lilith Lives: Reclaiming the Image of Lilith in Popular Literature”

Maria Endrinal, “Examining the Role of Laughter, the Grotesque and Degradation in Nights at the Circus

9:45-10:45 Session II

Teen Sexuality in Television and YA Literature

Kody Keplinger, “Sexuality, Desire, and the Young Adult Urban Fantasy Novel”

Emily George, “The New Image of Eve: Falling into Adulthood in Eva and His Dark Materials.”

Shana Wolstein, “Dissecting the Lolita Complex: A Close Look at Adolescence as Represented by Joss Whedon”

Adapting Fairytales and Graphic Novels to Film

Eileen Wiedbrauk, “From Caped Avenger to Ineffectual Virgin and Back Again: Reclaiming the Agency of Little Red Riding Hood”

Jaime Warburton, “Seeing Coraline: Visualizing a Heroine in Fiction, Graphic Novel, and Film”

Shana Kraynak, “Leathered Objectified and Loss of Super Powers: Gender Representation and Reconstruction in the Film Adaptation of Watchmen

(H. S. Writing Workshop I Friends 210)

11:00-12:00 Session III

Television Heroines and Almost-heroines

Tara K. Parmiter, “Girl Friday Power: The Hacker Sidekicks in 21st Century Teen Television”

Carrie Davidson, “The Doctor’s Companions: A look at Female Power in Dr. Who

Allison Hamilton, “Sluts and Seductresses: Victim-hood and Power in Farscape and Misfits

Variations on the Comics Theme

Michael Heller, “Web Comics”

Mick Howard, “A Practicum in Webcomic Rhetoric: Students Respond to Agatha and Anya”

Sarah Wood, “Japanese Sheroes: How Japanese Role playing Games have Affected the Way Women are Presented in Video Games “

(H. S. Writing Workshop II Friends 210)

1:30-2:30 Keynote: Marleen Barr: “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Feminist Science Fiction Criticism”

2:45-3:45 Session IV

Young Adult Novels (Twilight in Context)

Samantha Flanagan, “Like, Vampires?: The Use of Teen Slang in Young Adult Vampire Literature”

Tamara Girardi, “Morality vs. Reality: Challenges Young Adult Authors Face in Developing Female Characters”

Tara Baron, “A Healthy Dose of Romance?: Depicting Teen Love in Three Paranormal Romances for Young Adult Readers”

Female Characters in Contemporary Video Games

Adam Ellerson, “Can the Male Gaze See Past All That Armor?: Video Game Heroines and Mulvey’s Gaze”

Ryan Ende, “Fighting Alongside an Ambiguous Central Character: The Women of BioWare.”

Giovanni Colantonio, “Samus Aran: The Rise and Fall of a Heroine”

Science Fiction for Grown-ups: Sex, Violence, and Dystopia

Anindita Banerjee, “Of Mothers and Other Things: Gender and Race in Evgeny Zamyatin’s We

Mary Lindroth, “Avatar of Anger: Lisbeth Salander’s Provenance as Feminist Avenger”

Serena Longo, “Fatal Femininity: How to Survive as a Cyberpunk Heroine”

(H. S. Publishing Workshop Friends 207)

4:00-5:00 Session V

Graphic Novels

Sarah Craig, “Death’s New Face: The Personification of Death in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

Christopher M. Kuipers, “A Modern Woman in a Medieval World: Mark Smylie’s Artesia as an Epic Fantasy Heroine”

Katharine Kittredge, “Pippi’s Lethal Little Sisters: Hit Girl, The Runaways’ Molly, and Valkyrie Cain”

Tales from the Buffyverse

Heather Ozgercin, “I See Almost Dead People: The Re-visions of Cordelia Chase”

Joshua Begley, “The Fang and the Aegis: How Buffy the Vampire Slayer Breaks the Virgin Woman Warrior Archetype”

Erin LaVoie, “Love, Sex, and Sadomasochism: Buffy/Spike as a Queer Relationship”

Children’s Literature

Elizabeth Whittingham, “‘H’ is for ‘Hero’: Hermione, Not Harry”

Kara Jorgensen, “Hogwarts Heroines”

Karen Sands-O’Connor, “The Unmasked Superhero: Carnival Girls and Women in Children’s Literature”

The first session I went to (I missed the opening remarks):

Session: Science Fiction Heroines of Film

Katharine Kittredge, “Starting with Ripley: Trends in Science Fiction Heroines”

Overview of images of women in SF films

1930s, 1940s: place = surrounded by tentacles. Women = motivation for men, willing complements on “traditional” gender binary (e.g., weak, beauty, victim).

(Barbarella (1968) still known more for costume; Star Wars, Leia moves from blaster-shooting to slave girl to be rescued)

Alien (1979): Ripley: androgynous costume, conventional attractiveness minimized by filming choices

The Terminator (1984): almost-immediate effect of Ripley

next 15 years saw masculinization of action heroines and appropriation of phallic symbols (guns) by

one form of feminist critique: really just “men in female drag” (I’ve done that rant before)

other feminist critiques: films subtly undercut strength of heroines with images of bodily penetration as a threat; common plot of female hero encountering “snapping point” requiring loss of independence/power; adding traditionally-feminine motivations (Ripley, maternal); identifying as “tomboy” w/father issues; reducing to fetishistic figure [compare Wonder Woman in 1940s v 1990s]

hypersexualization perhaps offset by cyberpunk women: Blade Runner; Molly in Neuromancer; Ghost in the Shell; Kate Libby in Hackers; Tank Girl (more punk than cyber); culminating in Trinity in Matrix (however function still to support hero)

proliferation of Trinity-imitators, “action babes” of early 21st c. (Lara Croft; Resident Evil; Underworld): less muscle-bound but visibly strong, getting far removed from reality (video game sources) = dolls; yet still empowered, generally free from rape motivations, revenge, etc.

action babes on TV: Nikita, Dark Angel, Alias; Xena, Buffy: serial nature – easier to grasp as more than fetish objects

Melanie Lorek, “Utopian Fantasy Meets Melodrama: The Female Heroine in East German Film”

This presenter didn’t put up titles on screen, so I have no idea what works were being cited, and also it was really early and I spaced out a lot, so really, I got nothing. Sorry.

Leah Summerville Ferrar, “Uhura Kissed a Vulcan: The Marginalization of Women and Minorities in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek

thesis: relaunch = not a vehicle for progressive ideas, instead reinforces racist & sexist ideas

often hear that relationship “humanizes” Spock, which is problematic because Spock already has his mother to do that (and questionable whether should be “humanizing” aliens [mentions later that he’s forced to choose, can’t be both])

two kinds of women in movie: disposable mother (Amanda Grayson (Spock’s), Winona Kirk); sexual fantasy (Gaila, Uhura): no agency, no ultimate role outside relationship with men

Uhura & Spock scenes mostly dysfunctional, inability to communicate: scenes w/emotional impact are when they’re touching

What does Uhura “need” relationship with Spock for? To reinforce own position as subordinate woman, racial minority: must be sexual but may not cross racial barriers

Amanda / Spock’s father: results in destruction of Vulcan, not Earth, and in removal of Spock as captain to make way for Kirk

Uhura/Spock also reinforces heterosexuality of Kirk and Spock and disrupts the closeness of their relationship in original series

which would all matter less if Uhura’s relationships weren’t the only reason for her to get screen time: big moment of message intercept wasn’t necessary, unlike contributions of male characters: just supporting Kirk’s words (and she doesn’t even get to tell captain herself, or recognize significance: Kirk only knows and reports because he was watching her undress)

audience member does argue that it could be seen as positive, that they get to be sexual; response: yes, but in context of film, because only two obviously non-white characters — okay, seriously, arguing that Sulu isn’t portrayed as non-white? I haven’t seen it, but what? — made more primal/primitive, such focus on Spock’s emotions and limitation of Uhura’s role

Me: above reaction, i.e., what is basis for asserting that Sulu is coded white? Response: no accent, has individual agency; Kirk is only sexualized white male. Me: but couldn’t that just be emasculated Asian male stereotype? Response: Yes, true that his big individual action (sword fight) is less effective.

(I have not seen the movie, again, and am not interested in doing so, but I feel that this exchange suggests some unexamined stereotypes about Asians as foreign and “model” minority and less masculine, for admittedly-problematic values thereof. Which does not logically reflect on the analysis of the individual components making up Uhura’s role and Uhura/Spock, or even the overall effect of it, since in this argument all of the treatment of these three non-white characters are stereotype-reinforcing, even if the presenter didn’t recognize that WRT Sulu; but nevertheless.)

audience member links Orientalism’s fetishism of exotic with treatment of aliens

Session: Teen Sexuality in Television and YA Literature

Kody Keplinger, “‘Sluts’ and Superheroes: Sexuality, Desire, and the Young Adult Urban Fantasy Novel”

[that may be the wrong title, it was changed from the program and I didn’t see all the slide]

research into YA “chick lit” finds messages: “romance (girls) v. sex (boys)” (relationship as exchange); “sexuality is shameful”; “good guys v. bad boys” (unattractive v. attractive)

considers: Nightshade, Andrea Cremer (literal alpha female); Personal Demons, Lisa Desrochers (there are actually two YA books with this title, but I believe this is the correct one because the presenter referenced a forthcoming sequel); Vampire Academy, six book series by Richelle Mead

diverge from stereotypes: some girls interested in romance but can have sexual desires that aren’t punished for, and good guys ditto: goes through examples from above books

reader responses, via Amazon & Goodreads reviews & interviews with authors: readers still judging the characters as sluts

field study of teenage girls found that many make decisions not on what they want but what they’re afraid people will think; also self-silence

so presenter thinks presence of sex-positive message in urban fantasy YA potentially hopeful

audience question: how pick these; how deal with Twilight as abstinence porn? presenter: what first came to mind when thinking about topic, not perfect but positive portrayal of female desire; kind of counter to Twilight because Bella made to be ashamed of her own desire by object of that desire, who frames sex as loss of “virtue”

audience question: what spur for change? don’t know, and don’t know if it is a change, after all Twilight is fairly recent too, but also present in older books (Judy Blume)

Emily George, “The New Image of Eve: Falling Into Adulthood in Eva and His Dark Materials”

thesis: young women in this book embrace Fall as deliberate, power not shame

their Eden are not prelapsarian states, necessary next steps that involve struggle

Marissa Coulter; Mary Malone; Lyra = all Eve figures in HDM; deceiver (later redeemed), tempter/guide, storyteller/dispenser of knowledge

audience: did consider any adult novels for this? presenter: think Eve really lends self to YA

Shana Wolstein, “Dissecting the Lolita Complex: A Close Look at Adolescence as Represented by Joss Whedon”

First, a verbatim reaction to this presentation:

OMG DON’T READ FULL TEXT OFF YOUR SLIDES

argument: Whedon exploits adolescence by fracturing into child, adult, not letting characters fully live in space between

Dawn: “character made as vehicle of growth for characters around her, not necessarily as a character meant to grow on her own; instead, she exists within only fractured realms of infantilization and confused sexualization”

River Tam: see her “born”, treated as toddler later (sticking out tongue at shots), dangerous naivete, physically and mentally marginalized early in the series; then sudden transformation into sexy warrior, but without control or agency over process of transformation

(audience question re: sexualization of River as warrior: part of that is projected from other characters, in Serenity, and then something I didn’t understand; audience points out that she never expresses desire; presenter: male gaze issue, complicated muddle)

(audience: Kaylee? re: extended adolescence, does have some of that quality but also sexual; presenter: other women in series do balance River somewhat, yet to create idea of healthy sexuality seems need lots of women instead of unite in one)

Echo, Dollhouse: literal split between sex object and child; forces into adolescence but doesn’t really do good job in filling-in blank between two states (in series as existed)

audience: three examples are all literally created people, couldn’t see that as a deconstruction of ideas of teenage sexuality? (I have no idea what the presenter said in response)

Session: Variations on the Comics Theme

Michael Heller, “Web Comics”

This was not about heroines in SFF, but was a discussion of how awesome and different web comics are. The only mention of anything gender-related was an indistinct suggestion that it was easier for women to break out in web comics, citing: Kate Beaton, Hark a vagrant!; Hope Larson, Salamander Dream; Meredith Gran, Octopus Pie.

Mick Howard, “A Practicum in Webcomic Rhetoric: Students Respond to Agatha and Anya”

This had too much personal anecdotery about how the presenter had to struggle to get to use web comics in teaching, and almost nothing about student responses. When the presenter finally got to describing how he taught Girl Genius, he showed a picture of Agatha holding a big-ass wrench next to a guy, which frankly I did not find particularly notable in any regard, and then recounted how he asked his students whether they viewed it differently if they knew the creator also did a series of “gratuitous pornography,” arguing that one must necessarily view things in light of what we know about the creator.

Which, last statement aside (I have a complicated response to such assertions), I presume the creator being referred to is Phil Foglio—he did admit later that Girl Genius is co-written—and the “gratuitous pornography” is XXXenophile, which Wikipedia calls “an anthology of short, whimsical, erotic fantasy and science fiction stories . . . [whose] general emphasis is on the enjoyment of sexuality as a playful activity.” Judgmental and sex-negative, much?

At the end I asked both these presenters if they had any actual recommendations for heroines in SFF web comics. The first did not. This one said Phoenix Requiem, with Girl Genius and Twokinds as interesting to teach because their failure modes are good topics of discussion.

As you can imagine, I was very disappointed in these presentations. And then so many of the questions were all about “Web 2.0!” and “new storytelling modes!” and “close contact with creators!” and just all been there and done that and arrgh this is not what I came to this conference for.

Sarah Wood, “Japanese Sheroes: How Japanese Role Playing Games Have Affected the Way Women Are Presented in Video Games”

Pac-Man: first large influence of Japan on video-games, influenced by kawaii craze

Purple Moon, 1996, first company dedicated to female market of gamers; very stereotypical

Dragon Quest: first truly Japanese RPG; based on a shonen manga

Final Fantasy: known for more women party members in game & bigger appeal to female gamers; FFII introduced trope of woman member as archer or gunner

Dragon Quest IV does have female character who is close-contact fighter, but this was high point of series

Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 2: first female protags in major games for US market

Stereotypical JRPG heroine: long-distance, underpowered fighters; if mages, healers (very difficult to use in battle) or still long-distance; scantily clad (showed increasing nakedness of Shion from Xenosaga)

yet ~40% gamers = women, and more girls under 17 game than boys under 17

negative influence of manga on games: JRPG image isn’t often outside stereotypes, but does bring them in as characters

recommends: Fire Emblem

me: any fanfic, especially female-written, that attempts to transform/reclaim? response: not familiar with

audience: reboot of FF7, one of characters gets boobs reduced slightly

audience: studied women’s roles in shooters or fighters? necessarily have multiple skills, Chun-Li in Street Fighter, though still scantily clad (response: no)

audience: what about cosplay? response: don’t know many girls who cosplay girls from video games because literally cannot wear outfits

Keynote address by Marleen S. Barr

Feminist scholar of SFF (Wikipedia)

This was discursive and personal, rather than an attempt to make a particular scholarly argument. I only have snippets below.

SFF: was originally looked down on by feminist critics who criticized for not being “reality” and who were not familiar with genre language. But why is reality so great anyway? and not actually that real (various examples)

(“textism” = parallel to sexism, unfair marginalization)

whereas fiction can be real, reads from semi-autobiographical first novel which has characters named after friends (aspirational, rather than insertion)

first scholar to write about Octavia Butler, friend of hers, did so because speaker was asking her to write about an SF book; friend didn’t know what to write about, speaker tossed books up in the air and one of Butler’s landed on friend’s foot

very enthusiastic about black SF, very proud of collection she did bringing black studies scholars & SF scholars together, Afro-Future Females

Butler allowed to reprint story “Book of Martha” in that collection and only asked for copy of book as compensation, but unfortunately collection not published until after Butler’s death

as substitute fulfillment of promise, speaker read story at conference about Butler because Butler’s generosity meant so much to her (also mentioned feeling alien/conscious of own status of white woman at historically black college talking about Butler)

“all my years as a feminist scholar allowed me to transcend racial barriers” and read story effectively

. . . which is completely the kind of statement that sends my eyebrows to the hairline and keeps them there, since we all know from long painful experience that just being a feminist isn’t enough, but I don’t know, I wasn’t there and the tone of the talk was generally humorous/self-deprecating, and maybe I’m not being generous enough.

Anyway, here’s the TOC of Afro-Future Females at the Feminist SF Wiki and the first fifty-odd pages as a PDF (which I haven’t read yet because I am on my netbook), for your own evaluation.

Session: Science Fiction for Grown-ups: Sex, Violence, and Dystopia

Anindita Banerjee, “Of Mothers and Other Things: Gender and Race in Evgeny Zamyatin’s We

(Look! A POC presenter!)

Wikipedia about the book, which is a 1921 Russian novel. Manuscript was smuggled out of Russia and initially published in English translation; acknowledged influence on Orwell’s 1984.

Unfortunately this was a very academic talk and the presenter ran badly short of time, so here’s what I got out of it:

If you like dystopias on the line of 1984, you should probably read this.

It’s deliberately fragmentary and consists of diary pages of narrator-protagonist, scattered & reassembled.

It does interesting things about gendered conceptions of time in some way that I’m not really clear on, but is exemplified by the opening, in which the male narrator compares his feelings about designing a spaceship to that of a pregnant woman feeling a fetus move for the first time.

Mary Lindroth, “Avatar of Anger: Lisbeth Salander’s Provenance as Feminist Avenger”

This presenter read her paper very fast and without much variation, which was hard to focus on, so I missed some things here.

(Lisbeth Salander is from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest)

why talking about crime fiction here? because heroine belongs firmly to SFF: superhuman strength, photographic memory, and eerie tech ability; survives being shot in head and buried alive (at same time)

(Personally I think that when these characteristics appear in an otherwise realistic novel, that’s bad writing, not stealth genre. But I haven’t read the last two books in the series yet.)

cyberpunk influence apparent in appearance, also characterized as being able to process information more like a computer

her half-brother seems more like an alien: size, brute strength, rare condition that means doesn’t feel pain

original title of the third: “The Air Castle that Blew Up”

recent criticism challenging idea that Salander & novels are actually feminist: corporate crimes get exposed and rectified, crimes against women get buried; is woman warrior feminist or male fantasy wish-fulfillment?

argues: much of work of novels is to counter narratives written about Salander by men and replace them with her own: literally writes a narrative in the third novel; tattoos her rapist in first novel with “I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT, AND A RAPIST.” as partial revenge

(still have appeal of lawless elite issues with this)

but more problematically: women are almost expected to be victims, Salander muses on in first book, but then moves out of prey at the end of first when goes after serial killer with baseball bat to rescue the guy

issues with the ending of that book, where she chooses to suppress evidence of many serial killings; argues that wasn’t suppressing their existence but twisted narratives made by serial killer, does demand that they be identified and families be compensated

audience asks about second book where gets breast enhancement and goes blond; sees as a kind of roleplaying, maybe see what it’s like before rejecting (and does get dropped in third book), but yes, is often cited as support for male sexual fantasy reading

Serena Longo, “Fatal Femininity: How to Survive as a Cyberpunk Heroine”

Neuromancer: Molly & Linda: Molly, independent agent, critical to plot, distinctive; Linda, unremarkable and dead by page thirty, thereafter identity used as tool to manipulate

Snow Crash: Y.T., only 15, starting on path Molly taking (parallel characteristics, descriptions etc.)

conclusions: stereotypical femininity = liability, not route to power

survival traits same for women & men: toughness, intelligence, nerve, physical fitness (but technology levels playing field re: physical strength and exertion of force); no place for emotional attachment

is this breaking down of gender binary, “or a world where woman must abandon womanhood in order to survive?”

(hmmm, what about cyberpunk’s treatment of masculinity? don’t remember these books very well, is something in Snow Crash re: Hiro Protagonist, quote about not being as bad-ass; also find shorthand of “womanhood” intrinsically dubious)

me: have you heard of The Fortunate Fall, which is highly relevant to interests? presenter: no

also me: cyberpunk is dead: what effect has this had on current writing? presenter: writing thesis, still in progress, talking about similar elements in Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon

audience to all: feminist importance of community and solidarity, drops out of books talking about?

Cyberpunk presenter: yes, Molly may never even talk with a woman in Neuromancer; Y.T. is being raised by her mother who she cares about, but they have trouble relating to each other, and that’s only relationship with another woman.

Salander presenter: thinks that if dig further, Salander does show some solidarity to women, also has a community of hackers (any women there?), in last novel does work with women even if doesn’t like them.

We presenter: in book women don’t have the privilege of being loners, so there is a particular gesture in claiming that space. (Which, I note, is more generally applicable.)

Session: Children’s Literature

Elizabeth Whittingham, “‘H’ is for ‘Heroism’: Hermione’s, Not Harry’s”

This was a very “fandom has been there and done that” presentation for me. Also citing the first book as Sorceror’s Stone automatically loses you points with me (I don’t say that I might not do it thoughtlessly, but in revision I hope I would catch it).

There was something about alternative heroes who work for change to benefit others, but I was already spacing out because I was coming down with a headache.

Kara Jorgensen, “Hogwarts Heroines”

. . . I have a lot of problems with things said during this presentation, but then I decided that because the presenter was only a sophomore, it’s possible that some of the problems were infelicitous phrasing because of inexperience, so I am going to skip reporting on it.

Karen Sands-O’Connor, “The Unmasked Superhero: Carnival Girls and Women in Children’s Literature”

Carnival always important to literature of the Caribbean, often way for authors to depict challenges to traditional authority

cites Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber, and another adult book I missed

children’s books, Carnival can give children power often reserved for adult, including magical

Errol Lloyd’s, Nini at Carnival, 1978: set nowhere at all, no adults present

Nini wants a costume for Carnival, and quasi-fairy-godmother figure gives her one. Transforms British view of Carnival as undifferentiated noise, through Nini’s transformation: order (in art, text) comes out of her happiness. Also transformation lasts beyond Carnival, unlike what often happens in European traditions.

Ramabai Espinet, born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to Canada:

Ninja’s Carnival, illustrated by Farida Zaman, 1993: child faces first Carnival in Toronto: apparent-chaos of Carnival makes child feel at home; way that he participates in a magical Carnival demonstrates in-between status; ultimate lesson is that don’t abandon first home (missed some of this)

The Princess of Spadina: A Tale of Toronto, illustrated by Veronica Sullivan, 1992: about three children named Claudia, all darker-skinned, who see a princess who’s Toronto-carnival not sourceland (Spadina is a street in Toronto), assertion that ancestry and residence both matter (missed a lot of this too, looking at copies of the books)

in response to question: Lloyd writing for West Indian children in Britain to give them positive portrayals; Espinet for children of diaspora

(There was more to the conference, concluding remarks and optional pizza and a movie, but I had a headache and I hadn’t seen my family all day so I went back to Chad’s parents.)

On the whole this was an interesting experience and I look forward to discussion here about it, though it’s not going to displace fannish cons in my heart.

(I forgot to fill out the feedback form, so I may send this link to the organizer for her information, though the different conversation protocols between fora may be an issue. I dunno.)