Futures Near and Far: Utopia, Dystopia, and Futurity

October 20-22, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Phillip Wegner

Keynote Speaker: Carolyn Lesjak

Guest Speaker: Nivedita Majumdar

Call for Papers

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
– Eco-criticism
– Dystopia
– Dystopian YA
– Queer futurity
– Latinx-futurism
– Afro-futurism
– Cyberpunk
– Post-humanism
– Animal dystopias/futurity
– Obsolescence
– 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 ufl.ego@gmail.com bySeptember 7thAlong 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 ufl.ego@gmail.com.



Download the program here: programforego2016_textonly

10:45 – 11:00 | Opening remarks

11:00 – 12:20 | Fleshing Out Alternative Futures: Monstrosity, Horror, and Futurity

Moderator: Jaquelin Elliott

  • “Creating Dystopias: Charlotte Dacre’s Disabled Femme Fatale”

Norma Aceves, University of Florida

  • “I Will Survive, Live and Thrive, Win This Deadly Game”: The Death Drive and Queer Futurity

in Horror Television”

Megan Fowler, University of Florida

  • “CUE: Change”

Chesya Burke, University of Florida

12:20 – 1:30 | Lunch

1:30 – 2:50 | TRACing Utopia: Augmented Reality, Technology, and Obsolescence

Moderator: Anna Morgan

  • “Articulating Digital Heterotopias: Pokémon: Go and the Augmented Future”

Jason Crider, University of Florida

  • “Rotten Apple: Discarding Utopian Promises in the Age of Planned Obsolescence”

Caleb Milligan, University of Florida

  • “Critical Maker Movements and Materializing the Future”

Shannon Butts, University of Florida

3:00 – 4:20 | And Then There Were Many: Historiography, Futurity, and Alterity

Moderator: Najwa Al-Tabaa

  • “Historicizing The Feminist Utopia Project

Derrick King, University of Florida

  • “The Apocalypse Was Kind of Dull: Mapping Narratives of Punk, Post-Punk, and Postmodernism in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee and The Last of England”

Kel Martin, University of Florida

  • “Transitory Heroes in Heterotopic Spaces: Navigating the Geopolitical Anxieties of Tom

Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October

Kelly Beck, University of Florida

4:30 – 5:30 | Out of Time: Constructing Identity Through Narrative

Moderator: Leah Rosenberg

  • “Utopian Identities: Time and Narrative in News from Nowhere and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Christopher Smith, University of Florida

  • “Futurism in Four Parts”

Sean McQuinney, University of Florida



10:30 – 11:50 | Of Other Spaces: Mapping Utopia

Moderator: Heather Hannaford

  • “The Utopian Fantasy in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Rebecca Avgoustopoulos, University of Alabama Huntsville

  • “Magical Realism as the Absent Paradigm: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

Samantha Richmond, Florida Atlantic University

  • “Utopian Blueprints: The Imagined Landscapes We Think We Crave”

Asmaa Ghonim, University of Florida

11:50 – 1:00 | Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 | [BLACK ALT]: Negotiating Afro-Futurity

Moderator: Randi Gill-Sadler

  • “An Afrofuturist Reading of Pauline Hopkins’ Of One Blood: Or, the Hidden Self

Karina Vado, University of Florida

  • “The Sacrifice of Black Women: An Afro-Futuristic Reading of Meridian, Kindred, and Eva’s Man

Chesya Burke, University of Florida

2:10 – 3:10 | Back to the Future: Re-Imagining Climate Change

Moderator: Asmaa Ghonim

  • “The (Re)invention of the Human in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Shaman and Aurora

Mitch R. Murray, University of Florida

  • “‘Terrifyingly Substantiated’: Climate Fiction as Near-Future History”

Madeline B. Gangnes, University of Florida

3:20 – 4:40 | Whose Future Is It Anyway?: The Politics of Exclusion

Moderator: Jill Coste

  • “’The Selfish Utopian’: John Adolphus Etzler and the historiographical metafiction of Robert Antoni’s As Flies to Whatless Boyz

Milt Moise, University of Florida

  • “’If We Burn, You Burn With Us’: The Hunger Games, White-washing, and Millennial Advocacy”

Jaquelin Elliott, University of Florida

  • “Mhysa or Master: Imperialism and the White Savior in A Song of Ice and Fire

Rachel Hartnett, University of Florida

5:30 – 7:00 | Keynote: Phillip E. Wegner | Ustler Hall Atrium, 2nd Floor

“Towards Non-reading Utopia; or, How I Learned to Be Quiet and Became a Better Teacher

A Talk on the Occasion of the Quincentennial of Thomas More’s Truly Golden Handbook”



10:00 – 11:20 | The Choice is Yours: Multiplicity and Morality in Visual Rhetoric

Moderator: Caleb Milligan

  • “From Morals to Ethics – One-Hundred Percent!: Dr. Seuss and the Dialectic of Child Agency”

Carl F. Miller, Palm Beach Atlantic University

  • “No Exit: The Inescapability of Imperialism and Colonialism in Mass Effect

Samantha Baugus, Old Dominion University

  • “Subversive Streaming: Adapting American Fascism in The Man in the High Castle”

Thomas Johnson, University of Florida

11:20 – 12:30 | Lunch

12:30 – 2:00 | Guest Speaker: Nivedita Majumdar | Ustler Hall Atrium, 2nd Floor

“The Politics of Resistance in Postcolonial Theory”

2:20 – 3:20 | In a Queer Time and Place

Moderator: Megan Fowler

  • “A Blending of Public and Private Spaces: A Queer Reading of Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story

Conor Arevalo, Florida Atlantic University

  • “Drawing Out Queerness: The Magical Malleability of Animated Sexualities”

Kevin Cooley, University of Florida

3:30 – 4:50 | Just One More

Moderator: Min Ji Kang

  • “The Cave-in: EM Forster and Harlan Ellison Demolish Dystopian Society”

Advitiya Sachdev, Florida Atlantic University

  • “Past Master: R.A. Lafferty’s Revolt Against the Elegant World”

Patrick May, University of Florida

  • “Wish You Were Here”

Asmaa Ghonim, University of Florida

5:30 – 7:00 | Keynote: Carolyn Lesjak | Ustler Hall Atrium, 2nd Floor

“Utopia and the Common(s)”

7:30 – 10:30 | Reception | The Swamp Restaurant, 1642 W University Ave