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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Call for Papers
Deadline: February 5, 2018

Academic Track at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention — August 16-20, 2018
San José McEnery Convention Center (San José, California)

Science fiction always plays a part in recreating our world and directing civilization’s progress. While much SF takes place in a hypothetical “future,” the entire body of speculative literature influences and interacts with our world—suggesting potentialities, solutions, organizational methods, alternative cultures, and paths to follow or avoid. In that spirit, the 76th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in San José, California has chosen “Make the Future” for its overarching theme.

The Academic Track Committee welcomes proposals for scholarly presentations, especially those that study content tied to our “Make the Future” convention theme, such as the following examples:
* Any and all utopian or futurist novels, short stories, comic books, or other media
* Classic SF works that changed the direction of their era
* Dystopian novels, comic books, and other media that portray catastrophic scenarios to prevent them from happening in reality (1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Water Knife, Bitch Planet, etc.)
* SF groups as progressive communities (“slan shacks,” writers’ colonies, online communities, etc.)
* Ties between SF literature and socio-political movements
* Ties between maker culture and science fiction, including DIY art and music, steampunk, dieselpunk, and any other design aesthetics
* Major movements in the SF genre’s history

Additionally, we are interested in proposals incorporating Worldcon visiting authors, timely content, or regional interest (such as California/Western authors or settings). Such topics might include:
* Guests of Honor Spider Robinson and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, or Ghost of Honor Edgar Pangborn
* Other authors planning to attend Worldcon 76
* Silicon Valley in SF
* Science fiction in Wild West dime novels and pulps
* Mill Valley and San Francisco in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (book and/or films)
* Philip K. Dick’s writing during his years living in Point Reyes Station
* Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Three Californias” trilogy and related works
* Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at its 200th anniversary

As part of Worldcon programming, academic-track audiences often include a blend of scholars, writers, artists, readers, and fans. Presentations should be academically rigorous, but also accessible to a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. We welcome papers from scholars at all stages of their research careers, including advanced undergraduate students and independent scholars. Panels or roundtables that include SF creators (writers, directors, game designers, etc.) are highly encouraged as well.

In many ways, Worldcon’s academic track offers an ideal opportunity for scholars to reach audiences they might not see at exclusively academic conferences.

The committee is seeking three kinds of proposals:
* Paper – one 20-minute long presentation
* Panel – a group of 3 to 4 related presentations of 15- to 20-minute length each
* Roundtable – a group of speakers on a specific topic moderated by one individual for an hour plus question/answer period


For INDIVIDUAL PAPERS, include the following items (clearly labeled) in a single document:
1. Your name and contact information
2. Maximum 300-word abstract summarizing the focus and concept of your presentation
3. Maximum 100-word biographical note including academic affiliation (if applicable), sample prior publications/presentations, and any other connections to SF community

For PANELS, include the following items (clearly labeled) in a single document:
1. Name and contact information of panel’s chair
2. Title of panel and a maximum 200-word statement describing its focus
3. Maximum 300-word abstract summarizing the focus and concept of each presenter’s paper
4. Maximum 100-word biographical note for each speaker, including academic affiliation (if applicable), sample prior publications/presentations, and any other connections to SF community

For ROUNDTABLES, include the following items (clearly labeled) in a single document:
1. Name and contact information of roundtable’s organizer and moderator
2. Title of roundtable, its topic, and a maximum 300-word statement describing its focus
3. Short list of sample discussion topics
4. Maximum 100-word biographical note for each speaker, including academic affiliation (if applicable), sample prior publications/presentations, and other connections to SF community
We will accept only one presentation per scholar, although presenters are welcome to moderate or chair one other session.


All proposals should be sent as Word or PDF email attachments to by midnight PST, February 5, 2018. Please provide a subject line that identifies the type of presentation you’re proposing using this format: “[Panel or Paper or Roundtable] Proposal: [your title]

Example: Paper Proposal: Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the Bay Area

Note: All selected speakers will be responsible for their own Worldcon membership, travel, and all related expenses. For more information on purchasing membership, see the Worldcon 76 convention website. Membership includes access to the entire convention, not just the academic track.

For more on the Worldcon’s history and theme, visit

NEW JOURNAL: Gothic Nature: New Directions in Eco-horror and the EcoGothic

deadline for submissions:
April 15, 2018

full name / name of organization:
Gothic Nature: New Directions in Eco-horror and the EcoGothic

contact email:

We are seeking submissions for our new Gothic Nature journal, due out in 2018.

Further to the success of the November 2017 conference Gothic Nature: New Directions in Eco-horror and the EcoGothic, we will be producing a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the same themes.

The editorial board so far includes Dr Elizabeth Parker, Emily Bourke, Professor Simon C. Estok, Professor Andrew Smith, Professor Dawn Keetley, Professor Matthew Wynn Sivils, and Dr Stacy Alaimo. The inaugural issue will also feature an opening essay on eco-horror and the ecoGothic from Dr Tom J. Hillard.


‘Horror is becoming the environmental norm.’ —Sara L. Crosby

Gothic and horror fictions have long functioned as vivid reflections of contemporary cultural fears. Wood argues that horror is ‘the struggle for recognition of all that our society represses or oppresses’, and Newman puts forward the idea that it ‘actively eliminates and exorcises our fears by allowing them to be relegated to the imaginary realm of fiction’. Now, more than ever, the environment has become a locus of those fears for many people, and this conference seeks to investigate the wide range of Gothic- and horror-inflected texts that tackle the darker side of nature.

As we inch ever closer toward an anthropogenic ecological crisis, this type of fiction demands our attention. In 2009, Simon C. Estok highlighted the importance of ‘ecophobia’ in representations of nature, emphasising the need for ecocriticism to acknowledge the ‘irrational and groundless hatred of the natural world’ present in contemporary society. Tom J. Hillard responded to Estok’s call ‘to talk about how fear of the natural world is a definable and recognizable discourse’, suggesting that ‘we need look no further than the rich and varied vein of critical approaches used to investigate fear in literature.’ What happens, he asks, ‘when we bring the critical tools associated with Gothic fiction to bear on writing about nature?’

Gothic Nature seeks to address this question, interrogating the place of non-human nature in horror and the Gothic today, and showcasing the most exciting and innovative research currently being conducted in the field. We are especially interested for our inaugural issue in articles which address ecocritical theory and endeavour to define and discern the distinctions between ‘eco-horror’ and ‘ecoGothic’. We welcome academic articles from a variety of different subject backgrounds, as well as interdisciplinary work.

Subjects may include, but are by no means limited to:

1. Eco-horror and the ecoGothic: theory and distinctions

2. Ecocriticism and horror literature/ media

3. Ecocriticism and Gothic literature/ media

4. Gothic nature/ecophobia

5. Global eco-horror/global ecoGothic

6. Environmental activism and horror/ the Gothic

7. Human nature vs. nonhuman nature

8. Rural Gothic

9. Landscapes of fear

10. Legends of haunted nature/Gothic nature and mythology

11. Monsters in nature/natural spectres

12. Climate change and Gothic nature

13. Environmental apocalypse

14. Animal horror

15. Gothic nature in art through the ages

If you are interested in submitting a piece for our inaugural issue, please send an article of 6-8,000 words (Harvard referencing), along with a brief biography to by April 15th, 2018. Please feel free to contact either Elizabeth Parker ( or Emily Bourke ( with any informal queries you may have.

Please do get in touch, too, if you are interested in serving on the editorial board or contributing to the work on our website.

Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene International Conference October 3-5, 2018

Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic

“The relationship between myth and fantasy is a particularly convoluted one. … [B]oth words have so many meanings and applications that they can be synonyms or direct contraries.”
(Brian Attebery, Stories about Stories)

“The Anthropocene is a belief that humanity has already changed the living world beyond repair … [and that] the destiny of the planet is to be completely overtaken and ruled by humanity. … Like most mistaken philosophies, the Anthropocene worldview is largely a product of well-intentioned ignorance.”
(Edward O. Wilson, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life)

Myth and fantasy have always been forms of collective dreaming. They offer metaphorical grounding in existing reality but inspire imagination to conceive of a world that is different. Humanity has used myth and fantasy as vehicles for exploring the notions of heroism, group identity, power and destiny; for asking questions about the meaning of life, ethics, and happiness; for expressing social criticism and speculating about the supernatural. What do these questions mean at a time when human activity has been altering the planet in game-changing ways? How can myth and fantasy be used for hopeful dreaming that is not escapist? Can they point a way to restoring the connection with the natural rather than the supernatural? Can they articulate a vision of non-anthropocentric life, in which humans are part of rather than rulers of the biosphere?

This conference aims to explore the challenges and opportunities for myth and fantasy that have arisen out of highly contested debates over climate change, pollution, habitat extinction, mass pauperization and migrations, and other effects of global capitalism’s assault on the natural and human world—an assault otherwise known as “growth and development.” If myth and fantasy remain relevant vehicles for hopeful dreaming, how do they operate in the Anthropocene? Do they accept, ignore, or challenge the Anthropocene’s assumptions? Whose visions of change do they express or sanction and whose visions do they exclude? Most of all, can fantasy and myth help us rethink what it means to be human at the time Amitav Gosh has dubbed “The Great Derangement”?

We invite scholars, graduate students, artists and independent researchers from all fields across the humanities, education, and social sciences. We also welcome submissions from undergraduate students. Proposals may range, but are not limited to, comparative literary studies, linguistics, film and game studies, cognitive science, art, religious studies, philosophy, education, popular culture, music, material culture, and related fields. Across this broad spectrum, we invite participants to examine, interpret and explore the various aspects of fantasy and myth in the Anthropocene. Presentations on the theme are encouraged but not required.

Relevant topics may include:

• The Anthropocene as represented in fantasy, including fantasy art
• How fantasy engages with, or avoids the Anthropocene’s moral, ethical, and political challenges
• Anthropocene as a myth or myths for the Anthropocene
• Myth and fantasy on stories about humanity’s ultimate triumph or inevitable end
• Magical beliefs about the Anthropocene
• Science and Fake News about the Anthropocene as part of the fantasy spectrum
• Indigenous and global fantasy vs the Anthropocene
• Fantasy, myth, and new humanism (or posthumanism)
• Fantasy as a modern form of mythmaking
• Fantasy, ecopoetics, and the ethos of “greenness”
• Films, cartoons, video games, picturebooks, comics, graphic novels and other (multimodal) formats as representing the new(?) relationship between humans and nature
• Ecocritical and/or Anthropocene readings of myth and fantasy
• Fantasy, myth, and the apocalypse
• Fantasy of survival or resetting of the current civilization
• Work of Ursula K Le Guin, N. K. Jemisin, and other writers dealing with the Anthropocene

Presentations need not be limited to the above topics or one mode of delivery. We encourage prospective participants to submit proposals for papers, panels, forums, workshops, multimedia events or propose new presentation formats. If unsure, direct questions to Tereza Dědinová []

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Brian Attebery, Idaho State University
Marek Oziewicz, University of Minnesota

Conference website:

Proposals may be submitted in English, Czech or Slovak. Send an abstract of no more than 500 words accompanied by a short biographical note to The deadline for proposal submissions is February 28, 2018. Authors will be notified of acceptance by March 15. Except for the keynotes, all conference presentations will have to be delivered in 20 minutes. Conference Registration fee, payable by April 30, is €65. Authors of selected presentations may be invited to submit their essays for a peer-reviewed collection.

On behalf of the organizers,
Dr. Tereza Dědinová

Department of Czech Literature and Library Studies
Faculty of Arts Masaryk University
Údolní 53 602 00 Brno
Czech Republic

The Dark Arts Journal is pleased to announce the call for papers of issue 4.1, for the topic of “Transgression and Contemporary Gothic” We invite innovative, challenging and original submissions on any aspect of Gothic studies and the notion of transgression, with particular emphasis on contemporary Gothic and/or contemporary issues read in a Gothic context.


Transgression, ‘so pure and so complicated’ (Foucault: 1977, p.35) is a contentious issue, with many critics to-date strongly questioning the effect of the oversaturation of violence and misdemeanor in contemporary subjective, cultural and political life, and the extent to which transgression is now exhausted. The critical engagement with transgression has thrived in past few decades with numerous critical studies emerging. To a certain extent, the contemporary engagement began with Stallybrass and White (1986) who revised transgression as a politically charged gesture that challenges the social and political classification of high/low culture. For some, transgression is an antagonistic and cynical response to contemporary discontent, corresponding to a fatalistic inability to engage with contemporary culture/society except in terms of nihilistic or discordant inertia or refusal. Others have argued that transgression is an aesthetic mode of subversion, potently questioning of artistic, political and moral boundaries. In this way, transgression not only articulates limits but goes excessively beyond them, forcing the transgressor to reassess their moral/ethical coordinates.

If transgression stages the crossing and/or annihilation of limits then the Gothic, which undermines unstable distinctions between reality and unreality, as well as laws/prohibitions and limits, is a productive frame against which to read and critique transgression. As critics of contemporary Gothic, we are attuned to questions regarding a similar fascination with Gothic terror, horror and monstrous, and the extent to which they are increasingly co-opted as commodities and “exhausted” as some detractors would profess, corresponding in a decline of the mode’s effectiveness. Re-engaging with transgression, its forms and the philosophies that inform it, through the Gothic lens seems a natural and productive enterprise in order to readdress the validity and strength of both concerns in the contemporary era.


This journal welcomes all submissions with an emphasis on transgression and the contemporary Gothic, in all its forms.

Possible topics may cover, but are in no way limited to the following:

*Gothic studies and philosophy or literary studies

*New and contemporary approaches to the Gothic canon

*Contemporary Gothic Film, TV, Literature, Music, Art, Culture, etc.

*Contemporary Horror

*Gothic and Transgression

– Violence

– Nihilism

– The Grotesque

– The Carnivalesque

– Psychopathology

– Suicide

– Terror(ism)

– Resistance

– Post-capitalism / Neoliberalism

– Contemporary Philosophy

All Submissions should be emailed to for the attention of the editor with the subject line “Dark Arts 4.1 Submission.” Papers should be between 4,000—5,000 words and use MHRA style guide for referencing and footnotes. As always, we welcome contributions from scholars at any stage of their careers and particularly from postgraduates and early career researchers.

Deadline for submission is February 28th, 2018

Deadline: January 8, 2018

New Harmony was the name given to the utopian community established in Indiana by the socialist thinker Robert Owen (1771-1858). Harmony is a term which was originally applied to the ‘languages’ of music according to specific rules and was pleasant to the ear. It can also possess a therapeutic quality which can ease suffering. Outside music, harmony is peace, peace with the world and with oneself. Etymologically, the term has its origin in Greek harmos meaning a ‘joining together’ or coordination and agreement between different cultures, individuals or groups. Harmony can also be defined by what it is not. It is neither dissonance nor discord; it is not fear or hostility. In short, harmony is the area of the utopian and an absence of the dystopian.

Robert Owen was not alone in his search for social harmony. Born in Wales, moving to Scotland and then to North America, he shared the ‘new’ ideas of other pioneers in the improvement of social education, working conditions, and women’s rights. His well-known slogan: “eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest” was eventually adopted in the United States and subsequently in other countries around the world. In New Lanark, Scotland, Owen managed to put his utopian ideas into practice when he took over the management of the New Lanark cotton mills. By 1799, the living conditions of around two thousand people had improved greatly and this success led him to Indiana where he set up New Harmony with one thousand ‘utopians’. Unfortunately, the utopian community flopped after a period of two years because – as Owen’s son said – its inhabitants consisted of “a heterogeneous collection of radicals, enthusiastic devotees to principle, honest latitudinarians, and lazy theorists, with a sprinkling of unprincipled sharpers thrown in”.[1]

This call for papers especially welcomes the unconventional, free-spirited, unorthodox and even eccentric ventures into new harmonies: past, present and future. This may seem like a contradiction in terms – but revolutions and change are born from the best and the worst of times. The fact that New Harmonies are still unachievable is proof that our present-day world is closer to dystopia than to utopia. The question is: will our future generations be able to renegotiate utopia and maintain the utopian spirit or will dystopia become inevitable?
Papers which focus on social, political and cultural aspects of the term ‘harmony’ are particularly welcome, although contributions which deal with any other aspect of the utopian field will also be considered.

We welcome proposals for Panel Sessions and Individual 20-minute Papers:

a) For individual 20-minute papers, please send an abstract (max. 300 words) with
1. a title
2. your name
3. affiliation
4. email address and phone number
5. three keywords relating to your topic to help us organise the papers into relevant sessions.

b) For Panel Sessions (Coordinator + or 2 or 3 members), the Panel coordinator should please send
1. a title and abstract (max. 400 words) of the topic
2. the names, affiliations and email addresses of the other members
c) The deadline for submissions will be January 8th, 2018
d) Confirmation of acceptance will be sent by January 31st , 2018
e) Please note that the language of the conference is English. Exceptionally, papers in another language may be accepted and will be grouped in a separate panel.

Please send your proposals to both Liz Russell liz.russell@urv.catand Pere Gallardo

Please also visit the conference website for basic information:

Worlding SF
December 6-8, 2018
University Of Graz, Austria

Call For Papers

Everything is (in) a world.

“To be a work [of art] means: to set up a world,” Martin Heidegger remarked in his 1950 essay “The Origin of the Work of Art” (2002, 22). Tellingly, some four decades later, Carl Malmgren suggested that “the generic distinctiveness of sf lies not in its story but in its world” (1991, 7). Both Malmgren and Heidegger have a point—fiction, and more specifically science fiction, is generally more interested in creating plausible worlds than telling convincing stories. In response to the effects and challenges of transmedia convergence, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay has more recently remarked that world-building “determine[s] the relationships in the narrative, even when the action is full of dramatic movement” (2008, 82). Accordingly, everything is (happening) in a world; a (more or less) coherent and cohesive world.

Following Heidegger’s elaborations in Being and Time (1927), one may argue that entering such a fantastic world means being thrown into it, as the reader/viewer/player must learn to navigate the fictional world and to understand its underlying rules. This “thrownness” defines the subject and its relation to the world (2010, 169–73). As such, Heidegger’s approach opens up ways to begin to understand the ways in which we become immersed in—and engaged with—sf universes.

In the aforementioned essay “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Heidegger stresses that “[w]orld is not a mere collection of the things […] that are present at hand. Neither is world a merely imaginary framework.” “Worlds world,” he concludes, meaning that we are subject to worlding “as long as the paths of birth and death […] keep us transported into being” (2002, 23; italics in original). Similar to the ways in which the previous paragraph condenses Heidegger’s concepts, Gayatri Spivak has “vulgariz[ed …]” (1985, 260) Heidegger’s notion of “worlding,” suggesting that the “worlding” of any text carries ideological baggage—political messages that simultaneously naturalize specific concepts and always-already seek to erase themselves. Heidegger himself, for example, denied nonhuman agents the capability of worlding, stating that “plants and animals have no world; they belong […] to the […] environment into which they have been put” (2002, 23). As a result, building worlds seems to necessitate creating hierarchies, which lead to processes of oppression and marginalization—from the colonial subtexts of canonical texts Spivak uncovered and the feminist sf of Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, and Octavia Butler to afrofuturism and visions of the future in which Earth liberates itself from human dominance.

The conference “Worlding SF: Building, Inhabiting, and Understanding Science Fiction Universes” seeks to explore these three thematic clusters—(a) world-building, (b) processes and practices of being in fictional worlds (both from the characters’ and readers’/viewers’/players’/fans’ points of view), and (c) the seemingly naturalized subtextual messages these fantastic visions communicate (or sometimes even self-consciously address). Accordingly, we would like to invite interested scholars to submit panel proposals and/or abstracts for individual papers on topics that may include, but are by no means limited to:

* (transmedia) storytelling and world-building (establishing coherence, explaining contradictions, embracing contradictions, world-building beyond storytelling, etc.),
* the (im)mutability of sf worlds (retconning the operating principles of established universes),
* world-building and philosophy,
* human and nonhuman agents’ being-in-the-(fictional) world,
* worlds as characters in their own right,
* engaging with sf storyworlds/universes (e.g. fan culture, but also popular culture representations of specific sf worlds and their fans),
* movement (and/or the lack thereof) in/of sf worlds,
* (overcoming) marginalization/cultural hierarchies in sf worlds (race, class, gender, sexuality, species),
* non-western conceptualizations of sf worlds (e.g. indigenous cosmologies), and
* sf worlds and the “real” world.

We have two separate deadlines for panel and paper proposals. For the first deadline, please submit only your panel proposals (i.e., 300–500-word pitches for your panels). You may, of course, already recruit scholars for your panels and include a tentative list of speakers; however, individual paper abstracts (no matter whether submitted for the open track or for a specific panel/track) will be due at a later point.

panel proposals: January 31, 2018

acceptance of panel proposals: February 16, 2018
paper abstracts: April 15, 2018

Submission Procedure:
Panel proposals should be emailed to; for individual paper abstracts, please use the submission form, which will be online from February 20 to April 15 at

Additional Information:
Limited funding for independent scholars and graduate students may be available. In order to create a more inclusive environment for international scholars who may have funding, scheduling, and/or travel issues, the conference will feature a Skype track. We expect papers to be presented live (and not to be pre-recorded), however.

A volume based on selected conference papers will be published with the University of Wales Press’ New Dimensions in Science Fiction series, edited by Paweł Frelik and Patrick B. Sharp. (FYI: UWP is distributed by the University of Chicago Press in North America.)

If you have any questions, please drop us an email at