dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
[personal profile] dmp
I suppose Jha has outed me in the comments here.

For the past few weeks I’ve been planning a series of posts to focus on non-European steampunk. I’ve enjoyed G.D. Falksen’s historical posts (& a link to his site), especially where he touches upon non-Western cultures. I’d love to see some more cultural expansion in the fantasy world of steampunk, especially in light of Racefail and its repercussions on how individuals and communities are working towards addressing the issues of marginality, tokenism, ignorance, and outright racism in the SF/F community.

So, here are the guidelines for myself (and for you), about this series:

- The focus will be on non-Western European cultures (Asian, Hispanic, African, Middle Eastern, First Nation peoples, etc). North American (i.e. US & Canada) examples may count, but I don’t want the posts to be too North American-centric. Eurasian cultures (the Caucuses, Russia and the former USSR) count. Cross-cultural or transcultural examples definitely count, and I’d be interested in exploring how steampunk addresses this.

- There will be a new “Beyond Victoriana” update once a week, every Sunday. I know that’s slow in interwebz-time, but that way, I’ll be sure to keep on top of updates. Once my posting becomes more consistent, then I’ll consider updating it more often. Posts will be long or short, depending on my sanity.

- The time period will be within Victorian & Edwardian eras (1837 – 1910), but I’ll consider outside this period, if I think it’s quite BV worthy.

- Posts will relate to the fields of history, literature, fashion & the arts, or science and technology, but must have some sort of retro-future/fantastical slant or relevance (otherwise, we'd just be doing history lessons!)

- Feel free to comment on this post if you find something BV worthy items that you want to see featured! ^-^

The first “Beyond Victoriana” post will start October 25th.


Addendum to a Preface (initially posted in Beyond Victoriana #1 on October 25th, 2009; added here on December 26th, 2009.)

First, I think it’ll be beneficial to explain my intentions with this weekly series, especially since it has garnered so much interest since its announcement.

The posts will focus on different aspects of non-Eurocentric steampunk.

1) Examples of past history, literature, fashion & the arts, or science and technology that can be considered inspiration for non-Eurocentric steampunk
2) How non-Eurocentric steampunk is represented in the genre today

At turns, posts will be pedantic; other times, it’ll be nothing more than an interesting blurb I unearthed from somewhere. Using this approach, I hope to engage in the discussion of non-European steampunk on multiple levels: from recognizing individual examples to a more intellectual approach to discuss ideas that are steampunk-worthy.

Or sometimes, a linkspam will have to do. ^-~

The intention of this series is to start conversations with steampunk enthusiasts, to expand cultural mindsets, to question the stereotypical representations of “steampunk,” and to let me learn about random things. I like random learning.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-05 05:57 pm (UTC)
fromherbones: (nerrrd)
From: [personal profile] fromherbones
Ordinarily I am too Awkward McShyface to comment, but I wanted to say that I really love your posts on race and steampunk (especially since I am either terrible at Googling, or there really is just a disappointing lack of essays/posts/blogs/etc. on the topic), and so I am incredibly excited for the "Beyond Victoriana" posts. Also, the first one comes the day before my birthday, which means my birthday will now be approximately 10x more awesome.

In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to not only think about race and steampunk, but making such thought-provoking posts.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-17 11:46 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
As a professional historian I have a number of serious concerns about G.D. Falksen's posts, but I think that is outside the scope of your project.

I am not sure what you are looking for with your project. For example, if you are interested in minority cultures, then by definition those cultures need to defined in the context of a majority culture. Any ethnicity or culture can be a minority (and is) in all different places in the world.

If you are looking for Steampunk in a non-European setting, that is somewhat different from Steampunk in a minority setting or with minority characters.

So are you doing one, the other or both? And if you are doing both, I would like to see you identify which you are speaking to when you post. For example, Chinese Steampunk characters in a North American West setting are going to have wildly different experiences (and I would say modes of dress) than Chinese Steampunk characters in China.

Looking forward to the series!

Kerry, Steam Century Chair, 2009

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-18 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Dear Miss Ay-leen,

Good day! Stumbled upon your endevor and commend you for heading down this road less traveled. I am quite interested in the direct of your project, albeit more along the lines of a hispanic direction (a personal predilection). Providing an introspective look into other parts of the world and other cultures only opens up more doors for the future development of the genre, and provides for outstanding stories and narratives, as well.
Please do feel free to contact me if there is anything I can do to assist, madam!

Dr. Rafael Fabre
Editor of the Heliograph

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-24 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
What you're doing is so important. I can't wait for your first BV post tomorrow. I'd also love if you can recommend any steam punk books that feature non-tokenistic, multicultural characters...if there are any.

Or maybe I just have to write it :D

Boundaries and Sense of Self and Other

Date: 2009-10-29 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
So I was thinking about boundaries while I was answer another post about why people love airship pirates and I had a question or a scenario to propose to you that you might find interesting in your project:

We often find that boundary areas are places in which it is common to see cross-cultural transfer: sexual relations, trade, language, personal items, technology, all those things people just -do- wherever they happen to be.

Sometimes you can have the opposite: Two groups (or one of two groups) that does not want anything to do with the other and so reinforces their own cultural norms in order to "inoculate" them from the other culture.

I'll give a long and extreme example:

The Norse Greenland colony failed in the 1500s while the Iceland colony survived. For years no one could come up with a good reason for this divergence. The mini-Ice Age affected crops and weather in both colonies, and ships sailed to both. So what happened?

The current best theory is that is comes down to the native Greenlanders. The Norse Greenlanders, as their crops fail, their settlements shrink, will do anything to save themselves....but they will not be "those people." The Norse Greenlanders needed to see themselves as European (and at this point) Christians.

Now what was going on in Iceland, that only had the Norse settlers? They were surviving by hunting seals, whaling and otherwise using the very same survival techniques that the native Greenlanders had developed centuries before. Why did the Icelanders do it? There was no "Other" on the island to compare themselves to. For them, it was completely fine for European Christians to live on seals.

Of course this choice was disastrous for the Norse Greenlanders: they died because they would eat their dogs in their starvation, but not seals.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-29 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
..and I forgot to sign that!

Chair, Steam Century

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