Imagining Alternatives

A Graduate Symposium on Speculative Fictions

Call for Papers


Imagining Alternatives: A Graduate Symposium on Speculative Fictions

October 18-19, 2013

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Deadline EXTENDED: August 30, 2013

In her 1973 essay “From Elfland to Poughkeepsie,” noted fantasy and science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin writes that fantasy is “a game played for very high stakes….It is a different approach to reality, an alternative technique for apprehending and coping with existence….[it is] superrealistic, a heightening of reality.” The Imagining Alternatives Graduate Symposium invites proposals for papers and panels that interrogate the alternative possibilities imagined in the heightened realities of speculative fictions: fantasy, science fiction, horror, the weird, alternate history, the utopian, and the dystopian, in literature, film, television, and video games. Such fictions give us not only alternative worlds, but alternative views of our own pasts, presents, and possible futures. They reflect our hopes and fears; they offer alternative narratives of race, gender, sexuality, and nation; they suggest the magic and the horror embedded in our own realities. We suggest the topics below, but are open to other interpretations suggested by the symposium theme and genre focus.

Proposals should consist of a 200-300 word abstract in .docx or .rtf format to:

Panel proposals should include a 100-200 word panel description as well as abstracts for up to 3 papers.

We also invite proposals for alternatives to traditional panel sessions; we particularly encourage submissions of creative work (visual arts, short films, performance pieces, and creative writing) that explore the conference theme.

The deadline for submissions has been extended!  Proposals are now due August 30, 2013.

Participants are invited to imagine alternative…

Genders and Sexualities
Communities and Nations
Models of Citizenship
Diplomacies and Geopolitics
Landscapes and Spaces
Values and Ethics
Texts and Canons


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