I am excited to be a part of the Octavia E. Butler Literary Society’s (OEBS) virtual conference “The Confluence: Octavia E. Butler at the Intersection of Cultural Critique and Climate Collapse” (March 6-7, 2021). My first OEBS conference was way back in 2018. The conference meets every two years, but because of the pandemic, the 2020 meeting was postponed. Alas, we were not able to meet in person. This is my first all-virtual conference. I am presenting, but as the Vice President of the Society, I am helping behind the scenes and attending.
Dr. Tarshia Stanley and I opened the conference with a few remarks about the Society and about the conference’s themes and goals:
A confluence is the place where two rivers meet. It is a place of not only great energy but great power and creativity. Located at one of the great confluences, the Twin Cities occupy this place called Bdote – “where two waters come together” – that is sacred to the Dakota people. The Octavia E. Butler Literary Society invites you to join us at this sacred place of power and creativity for the third biennial conference where we will feature work honoring Butler. Our host is St. Catherine University in St. Paul MN.
Octavia E. Butler’s work continues to be a catalyst for scholars, artists, and activists to engage contemporary issues that are shaped by our nation’s legacies of colonialism and capitalism. Offering visions of apocalypse shepherded by diverse characterizations of leadership, much of Butler’s work urges aspirational engagement with the myriad dimensions of our current cultural polarization and the devastating consequences of climate collapse. Her critical representations of the environment, sexuality, race, gender, politics, and many other topics have established her as a revolutionary thinker, and her influence cannot be contained by the traditional categories and boundaries in which knowledge is typically organized. Her work is too vital to be put into any kind of box and, like the rivers, is energized when scholars, artists, organizers, activists, educators and lovers of speculative fiction come together in creative confluence.
The conference is co-presented with St. Catherine University’s Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women and is part of their celebration of International Women’s Day. Here is the full program of the conference: https://oebsociety.wordpress.com/2021-conference-registration-the-confluence-octavia-e-butler-at-the-intersection-of-cultural-critique-and-climate-collapse-march-7-8-2021/