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Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations

Mapping the Mythosphere

23rd-24th May 2019

In her novel The Game (2007) Diana Wynne Jones speaks of the ‘Mythosphere’, an expanding system of inter-related narratives ‘made up of all the stories, theories and beliefs, legends, myths and hopes, that are generated here on Earth […] constantly growing and moving as people invent new tales to tell or find new things to believe’. Fantasy as a mode or genre can be said both to draw on this organic system and to show an intense awareness of the links between its many roots and branches. Whether we approach the Fantastic through the study of written literature, the visual arts, games, journalism, internet culture or film and television theory, a close study of its workings enables us to better understand the dominant strands of Jones’s Mythosphere and to explore its rapidly widening outer limits. Sometimes refusing to endorse the subjective values and cultural commitments that sustain contemporary ideologies, sometimes imaginatively confirming them with its own misguided rebellions, the Mythosphere is an expanding web of intertextual narratives which we are all both producers and products of. Over the course of the 23rd and 24th of May 2019, Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations (GIFCon) seeks to celebrate all aspects of critical and creative work that help to map-out this intricate network of intersecting narratives.

Constantly disrupting genres and disintegrating the designations of canonicity, Fantasy delights in breaking down borders and defying expectations, a fact supported by numerous contemporary scholarly studies. For instance, Celtic mythology emerges transformed from the pages of twenty-first century children’s literature in the work of the University of Glasgow’s own Dimitra Fimi, while Darryl Jones points out that the Fantastic ‘slasher’ film’s obsession with violence and gore can be found in both classical sculpture and Christian artworks from as early as the twelfth century. As such writers have shown, Fantasy draws connections through history, geography and the full range of representational media, upsetting and questioning everything as it does so by exploring and reinventing every corner of our psyches, philosophies and societies. Driven by the desire to imagine the impossible, spurred on by radical shifts in politics, economics, technology and available means of communication, Fantasy has become the language of our time, the aptest means of tracing, altering and extending the contours of the myths and stories we live by.

GIFCon 2019 is a two-day symposium that seeks to examine and honour the relationships between the different strands of Fantasy and the individual Fantastic works that make up the Mythosphere, be they books, films, games or comics. We welcome proposals for papers relating to this theme from researchers and practitioners working in the field of Fantasy and the Fantastic across all media, whether within the academy or beyond it. We are particularly interested in submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers.

It is worth noting that GIFCon uses a broad definition of Fantasy, so if you are unsure whether your topic would be of interest to Fantasy scholars and academics, please do submit your abstract and we can help decide this. We will also offer workshops in creative writing for those interested in exploring the creative process.

We ask for 300-word abstracts for 20-minute papers, as well as creative presentations that go beyond the traditional academic paper. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

The concept of ‘the mythosphere’ itself, its history or critical analysis
Intersections, connections, or relationships between Fantasy authors and/or Fantastic texts
Challenges to boundaries, whether of genre, canonicity, or narrative medium
Authors’ self-reflective theorising of Fantasy and the Fantastic
Fear of or hostility to Fantasy and the Fantastic
Mythology, folktales & legends, both traditional and in their more modern forms of expression such as games or comics
Fantasy narratives in games and the implementation of virtual worlds
Modern myths, urban legends etc.
Literary/artistic lineages
Translations, adaptations and adaptation theory (particularly adaptations from one media form to another)
Fantasy and the Internet (such as Creepypasta or the Slenderman mythos)
Speculation about what lies beyond the Mythosphere’s cultural, psychological or cognitive boundaries (i.e. the Unknown)
Geographies and politics of the Fantastic (such as in Discworld, Narnia or Middle Earth)
Fantasy literature/art as subversive (or, indeed, as restrictive)

Submission deadline is Monday, 14th of January 2019, at 23:00!

Click here for more information.