“Imaginactivism”: Scholar Joan Haran to Spend Two Years at CSWS as the European Union’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow

Dr. Joan Haran

Dr. Joan Haran

December 9, 2015—December 1 marked the starting date of scholar Joan Haran’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship at the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the University of Oregon. Dr. Haran will be tracking attempts to adapt Starhawk’s novel The Fifth Sacred Thing as a transmedia phenomenon. First published in 1993 and now in the process of becoming a cable TV series or feature film, The Fifth Sacred Thing involves a clash between the best and the worst of our possible futures.

The stated goal of The Fifth Sacred Thing production team is “to help nurture and support the movements that are already growing to put our world on a path of peace, justice, and ecological harmony,” says Dr. Haran. She will use her case study to develop and test the concept of “imaginactivism” as a way of thinking through the cross-fertilization of fictional or artistic cultural productions with social and political activism.

Her catchy keyword, “imaginactivism,” stands in well for a project whose full title is “Cultural production, social movements and virtuous spirals; using cultural production to influence social transformation—an ethnographic case study of a transmedia and translocal experiment.” Submitted as a 47-page proposal in 2014 to the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 grant program*, “Imaginactivism” brought Dr. Haran a fellowship meant “to support the best, most promising individual researchers from anywhere in the world.” The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship will fund her two-year stay at UO and one return year at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC) at Cardiff University in Wales, United Kingdom.

Dr. Haran is no stranger to CSWS. She participated in both the 2013 and 2014 CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposia. She has also been an active member of the Fembot Collective, an outgrowth of CSWS’s Fembot Project. At UO, she will work in consultation with Carol Stabile, professor of journalism and communication, head of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and interim director of CSWS.

Most recently—from January to May and August to November 2015—Dr. Haran was a Fellow at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK) in Delmenhorst, Germany, where she was affiliated with the Fiction Meets Science program. While at the HWK she worked on her monograph, Genomic Fictions: Genes, Gender and Genre. This project is a successor to her coauthored monograph Human Cloning in the Media: From Science Fiction to Science Practice (Routledge 2008), which was written while she was a Research Fellow in the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) at Cardiff University. She is also working with Dr. Ildney Cavalcanti of the Federal University of Alagoas, Maceio, Brazil, on compiling and editing a Portuguese and English bilingual anthology of utopian and science fiction dealing with gender and science, with accompanying critical essays. ​Her research interests include feminist theory; gender, technoscience and representation; and critical and everyday utopias.

 *With 80 billion euros available over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest ever grant program, with a goal “to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.”