History & Culture >> Social >> Blogs

1010. Beyond Victoriana

By Diana M. Pho

Beyond Victoriana is the oldest-running blog about multicultural steampunk and retro-futurism, that is, steampunk outside of a Western-dominant, Eurocentric framework. Founded in October 2009 by Ay-leen the Peacemaker (Diana M. Pho), Beyond Victoriana focuses on non-Western cultures, underrepresented minorities (Asian / Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, First Nation / indigenous / NDN, Hispanic / Latin, black / African) and other marginalized groups in Western histories, and the cultural intersection between the West and the non-West.

Beyond Victoriana was first hosted on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal as Ay-leen the Peacemaker's personal project. It was inspired the seeming lack of non-Eurocentric representation in the genre and the Racefail science fiction/fantasy discussions which began in January 2009. In March 2010, Beyond Victoriana moved to its current home, hosted by Wordpress.

Beyond Victoriana does identify itself as a progressive publication and openly addresses the problematic issues that occur within steampunk, such as its source material's portrayal of race, class, gender, ability, and sexual orientation, and the blog also hosts critiques about these issues within today's steampunk community.

Beyond Victoriana has been associated with other websites that promote social justice and media/ pop culture analysis, such as Silver Goggles and Racialicious. According to the website's mission statement, the blog's goal is to "start conversations with steampunk enthusiasts, to expand cultural mindsets, to question the stereotypical representations of 'steampunk.'"

Though Beyond Victoriana is maintained by Ay-leen, the blog has an open guest writer policy, and it works toward creating a platform for marginalized voices. A majority of their guest contributors are women and people of color, and they come from the United States, Malaysia, Italy, Nigeria, Bulgaria, and Brazil.

Since its founding, Beyond Victoriana has received wide recognition in the steampunk and greater science fiction community. It has won the 2010 Last Drink Bird Head Award for "Gentle Advocacy" and the 2012 Steampunk Chronicles Reader's Choice Award for "Best Blog" and Special Awards for "Best Politically-Minded Steampunk," "Best Multicultural Steampunk," and "Best Feminist Steampunk." Ay-leen has also been nominated for the Steamcon-hosted Airship Awards for Community Contributor in 2011. Many notable people in the community have spoken in support of this blog, including authors Scott Westerfeld, Ann Vandermeer, and Jeff Vandermeer, maker Jake von Slatt, and scholars Mike Perschon and Dru Pagliassotti.

Beyond Victoriana banner designed by Kim Pho.

External Links
Interview - Airship Ambassador
Ann Somerville's Journal
Rydra Wong

See Also
1005. Diana Pho
1009. Silver Goggles

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