Conference on Gender in Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY—Portrayals of female characters in fantasy and science fiction literature will be the focus of both a scholarly conference and a series of activities geared toward young readers and writers. “Pippi to Ripley: The Female Figure in Fantasy and Science Fiction” will be held on Friday and Saturday, May 3–4, on the Ithaca College campus. Noted Young Adult (YA) fantasy author Tamora Pierce will give the keynote address.

For the complete schedule of events, go to

Professional Development Workshops
Friday morning will feature professional development workshops for current undergraduate and graduate students in English and cultural studies programs who are considering academic careers. In the afternoon, a professional development conference will provide English teachers, literacy coaches and librarians who work with adolescents with strategies for cultivating student engagement and meeting New York Common Core Standards by building on students’ knowledge and interests in science fiction, fantasy and technologies.

Running parallel to the main conference will be programming intended for local youth. Except for the Tori Cup Challenge, the following activities are all free of charge.

The Tori Cup: Fantasy and Science Fiction Challenge
Friday, May 3, 6–10 p.m., Textor Lecture Halls

The program kick off with teams competing to demonstrate their knowledge of all things imaginative and wonderful in film, television, comics and literature. The quiz competition will feature prizes and an ice cream social sponsored by Purity Ice Cream.
There will be separate divisions for middle school and high school students, as well as an open division for college students and local fans.

This event is a benefit in memory of Victoria (Tori) Howell, an Ithaca High School graduate and IC English major who was killed in an automobile accident last December. Proceeds will go to two of her favorite causes: The Harry Potter Alliance for Civic Engagement and This Light Won’t Go Out, for families of children struggling with cancer.

Registration is $10 per team of four. For more information and to register, visit

Pippi to Ripley: the Female Figure in Fantasy and Science Fiction
Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.

The conference is named for Pippi Longstocking and Ellen Ripley, the pigtailed schoolgirl from the children’s books and the heroine of the “Alien” film series, respectively. The academic portion of the program will be of interest to librarians, educators and fans of fantasy and science fiction in all genres: YA dystopias, Star Trek, Dr. Who, and children’s films. It will include presentations on such themes as:

• Hunger Games
• Crossing the Line From Girlhood to Womanhood
• Giving Birth, Giving Life
• Things That Go Bump in the Night
• Fairytales Old and New
• Women in Science Fiction Television

Tamora Pierce, whose Young Adult fantasy series include “Song of the Lioness,” “The Immortals” and “Circle of Magic,” will deliver the keynote address and hold a book signing.

While young people are welcome to attend any of the scholarly sessions on Saturday, the following are designed specifically for youth.

“Pippi to Ripley” Academic Presentations and Workshops for Teens
Saturday, May 4, Textor Lecture Halls

9–9:30 a.m.
“How to Be a Feminist Science Fiction Scholar” by Marlene Barr, considered the “founding mother” of feminist science fiction criticism.

9:30–10:30 a.m.
“Buffy is My Roommate: Television as Cultural Criticism,” a panel discussion by Honors Seminar students.
“Be a Teen Critic (Get Free Books): How to Set Up Your Own Book Review Blog,” a workshop by two successful book review bloggers whose sites heavily emphasize Young Adult titles.

10:45–11:45 a.m.
“The Works of Tamora Pierce,” a presentation by three graduate students on the YA fantasy series author.
“Letting your Geek Flag Fly: Finding Fellow Fans in College,” a panel of college students who are self-identified geeks and fans of Harry Potter, Dr. Who, Anime/Manga, etc., discussing how they found (or created) a fan community in college.

11:45 a.m.–1 p.m.
Pizza and informal conversation with the Ithaca College fan clubs.

1–2 p.m.
Keynote address by Tamora Pierce, followed by a one-hour book signing.

2–3 p.m.
“Buffy is My Roommate: Television as Cultural Criticism” (repeat of morning panel discussion)
“Letting your Geek Flag Fly: Finding Fellow Fans in College” (repeat of morning panel discussion)

3–4:15 p.m.
“Comic Creation Workshop,” a presentation and series of comic-creation exercises by Ithaca College students who have worked with a professional comic book illustrator.
“SciFi Sound Recording Workshop,” a hands-on presentation by Ithaca College television/radio students on how to record and edit sound effects for picture.

4:30–5:30 p.m.
“The Dark Side of Fairytales,” a presentation by slam poet Lelia James on the messages conveyed by popular fairytales, with an emphasis on race, class and gender.
“Be a Teen Critic (Get Free Books): How to Set Up Your Own Book Review Blog” (repeat of morning presentation)

5:30–7 p.m.
Closing reception at Community School of Music and Art, 330 E. State St. in Ithaca. See imaginative artworks created by local students and enjoy free food.

To register for these events, go to

For more information on the “Pippi to Ripley” conference, contact Katharine Kittredge, professor of English, at or (607) 274-1575.

Young Adult fantasy author Tamora Pierce will deliver the keynote address