Futures Near and Far: Utopia, Dystopia, and Futurity
Dr. Phillip Wegner, University of Florida Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar
2016 marks the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s philosophical treatise Utopia. More’s book posed fundamental questions about governance, ethics, economics, and globalization at a volatile moment in European history, between the onset of European exploration and colonization of the New World and the beginnings of a radical intellectual revolution known as the Enlightenment. Utopia established a genre of philosophical inquiry and a realm of literary studies that thrives in contemporary intellectual discourse. In the spirit of More’s inquiries into the social and the political, scholars and artists have since taken up the task of rehearsing possible Utopian futures and, inversely, considering frightening dystopias.
In the spirit of More, the University of Florida English Graduate Organization invites abstracts for its 16th annual conference Futures Near and Far: Utopia, Dystopia, and Futurity, to be held October 20th – 22nd, 2016. EGO wishes to address the lasting impact and influence of More’s Utopia across various fields and discourses. Papers and creative work need not deal with More’s work itself; we encourage any and all explorations of utopia, dystopia, and futurity.
Our conference takes up that last concept, “futurity”, as the ever-arriving moment in which visions of utopia and dystopia come to determine the far off as they affect the near and now. We likewise then seek work that analyzes new technologies and cultural turns that bring the future to the present as they question how our present will deviate into potential futures. We hope to pay particular attention to the ways in which these phenomenons both have presently realized utopian and dystopian pasts as well as investigate future utopian and dystopian possibilities.
This interdisciplinary conference welcomes individual and panel submissions from varying fields, including, but not limited to: literary studies, film and media studies, rhetoric and composition, creative writing, narratology, cultural studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, critical theory, comics and visual rhetoric, and philosophy.
Possible presentation topics include, but are certainly not limited to:
– More and Utopia
– Utopian studies
– Contemporary utopias
– Utopia revisions/rewritings
– Science fiction/future history
– Historical fiction/historiography
– Marxist literary criticism
– Feminist literary criticism
– Psychoanalytic criticism
– Dystopian YA
– Queer futurity
– Animal dystopias/futurity
– Apocalyptic fiction
– Speculative fiction
– Narrative and poetry
– Race and ethnicity
– Gender and sexuality
– Film and digital media
– Science and technology
– Disability studies
– Area studies
Please submit an abstract of up to 250 words for a 20-minute presentation to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 7th. Along with your submission, please include your contact information, university affiliation (if applicable), and 3-5 keywords that describe your presentation topic. For panel proposals, please submit panelist abstracts along with a panel rationale and description. Lastly, please indicate any audio/visual requirements you may have. Authors of accepted papers will be notified the week of September 12th.
For questions concerning the conference, please contact the English Graduate Organization at email@example.com.