Constance Penley

Constance PenleySFAM 2024’s featured speaker is Constance Penley, the groundbreaking feminist scholar of speculative fiction media whose work and leadership in the field has inspired generations of scholars around the globe. As founding editor of the journal Camera Obscura: Feminism, Media, and Cultural Studies she created spaces for important feminist work in an overwhelmingly male dominated academic arena. Her edited volume Close Encounters: Film, Feminism, and Science Fiction (1990) is a landmark of speculative fiction scholarship. Her monograph NASA/Trek (1997) reimagined the mutually constitutive relationship between science and fiction, and included the influential examination of “slash” fan fiction based on the characters Kirk and Spock from Star Trek.

Penley is currently professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where she was the founding director of the Carsey-Wolf Center for the study of media.