CFP: (Un)Ethical Futures: Utopia, Dystopia & Science Fiction

(Un)Ethical Futures: Utopia, Dystopia & Science Fiction, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, 16 & 17 December 2017 Organised by Monash University and the University of Warwick, funded by the Monash/Warwick Alliance.

About the conference

(Un)Ethical Futures is a two-day interdisciplinary conference exploring the ethical concerns of utopia, dystopia and science fiction. As we find the world in a state of significant social and political uncertainty, representations of more (or less) ethical futures can help us understand the impulses driving society today, and our hopes and fears for the future. The conference will feature keynote addresses, interactive workshops and concurrent panels.

Keynote speakers

Professor Emeritus Andrew Milner (Monash University & University of Warwick) and Associate Professor Jacqueline Dutton (University of Melbourne)

Workshop leaders

Dr Sascha Morrell (Monash University) and Dr Meg Mundell (author of Black Glass & Things I Did for Money)

Call for papers

Deadline: 13 August 2017

The conference will engage with a wide range of disciplines across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, including literary studies, media studies, history, philosophy, and cultural studies. The conference themes also span multiple genres and modes, from science fiction (sf) about the near or distant future, to alternative histories about better or worse presents, to fantastic stories about utopian or dystopian societies. The conference’s focus on ethics allows for a range of topics, including environmental ethics and climate change, human bioethics, animal ethics, the ethical use of technology, ethics of alterity and the ethical treatment of others, as well as related issues of social justice.

Possible areas of engagement include, but are not limited to:

Environmental ethics in speculative climate fiction (“cli-fi”)

Bioethical issues in sf, including biopunk and cyberpunk

The treatment or representation of animals, artificial intelligence, aliens or other posthuman or non-human entities in utopia, dystopia and sf

Historical and literary attempts at creating real or fictional utopian communities

Utopian and dystopian dimensions of Indigenous literature and traditions

Critiques of colonialism, racism, sexism, and institutional abuses in utopia, dystopia and sf

Philosophy, ethics and the utopian impulse

Politics, activism, social justice and ethics in sf and its fan communities

Ethics, alterity and literary form in speculative fiction

We invite the submission of proposals for 20-minute papers. We also welcome proposals for panels (three 20-minute papers) and readings of original creative work, including short fiction and poetry (up to 20 minutes’ duration). Proposals should comprise a title, abstract (200–300 words), and a brief author bio (100 words).

Please submit proposals via email to by 13 August 2017.

Following the conference, convenors will circulate a call for submissions for a special issue of Colloquy: text, theory, critique, which will publish research peer-reviewed articles, as well as creative writing and book reviews, arising from the conference proceedings.