Call for Papers – 24th Annual Carolina Conference for Romance Studies – April 5-7, 2018

Romance Utopias and Dystopias Flier
24th Annual Carolina Conference for Romance Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
April 5-7, 2018
Visions and Revisions: Romance Utopias and Dystopias
Utopian and dystopian visions span Western intellectual history from Thomas More’s coinage of the former term in 1516 to the powerful twentieth century literary dystopias that influence our understanding of the current political climate worldwide, such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s 1984, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Sheree Thomas’ anthology Dark Matter. Etymologically, utopia means “no place”—a place that does not (yet?) exist—but it is also a play on words, being close to the Greek for “good place,” thus the association of utopia with an idealized society. While the utopian genre began as a way to envision political alternatives and solutions for social and economic inequality, dystopias show the potential dangers of such experiments.
In Romance Studies, we have the opportunity to examine the development of utopia and dystopia as genres within the literary traditions of Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese speaking countries. We can also look at how these concepts have been transformed by decolonial and postcolonial perspectives in order to influence the political and intellectual struggles of the colonized worlds. In literature, as well as in cinema, philosophy, contemporary theory, and video games (ecc.), how do authors, filmmakers, and artists use utopias and dystopias to address, debate, and/or comment on real-world issues such as, but not limited to, nuclear warfare, neoliberalism, global climate-change, technological “progress,” and socio-economic inequalities? How are these ideas used to elucidate elements of society that might otherwise remain unnoticed, whether potential solutions to human suffering or warnings about the cataclysmic potential contained within a present that may seem innocuous on the surface? What do utopian and dystopian visions and revisions have to teach us about the intersections between art, politics, technology, and science?
Topics of interest and approaches may include but are not limited to:

  • Animality
  • Animation
  • Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature
  • Biopolitics
  • Comics
  • Colonial, decolonial, and postcolonial studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Ecocriticism
  • Enlightenment era
  • Feminism (western and non-western)
  • Film studies
  • Gender studies
  • Genre theory
  • Historical fiction
  • Middle Ages and Renaissance studies
  • Performance
  • Political science
  • Popular culture
  • Posthumanism
  • Queer theory
  • Science fiction, fantasy, and horror
  • Virtual spaces and video games
  • Visual arts
  • War

Please submit abstracts of 300 words in English to by December 18, 2017.  Presentations of no more than twenty minutes should be conducted in English in order to facilitate connections among subject areas more so than language concentration.  We also welcome proposals for language-specific roundtables in Spanish, French, Italian, or Portuguese.  Panel proposals and roundtables should include a completed form from each participant. See for more information.
Please submit a single-page Word document in the following format:
Email address:
Classification: (Professor, Ph.D. Student, M.A. Students, Post-doc, independent researcher, etc.)
Abstract (300 words, single-spaced):
Relevant Time Period(s) and Country(-ies):
Keywords (up to 6):