Call for Papers

Call for Papers and Proposals

40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies

“Global Flows: Diaspora, Diversity, and Divergence in Utopia”

Proposal Deadline: 15 JULY 2015

When: 5-8 November 2015

Where: Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown

Pittsburgh, PA


Confirmed Speaker: Professor Rosemary Jolly, Weiss Chair of the Humanities,
The Pennsylvania State University at University Park

The field of Utopian Studies has both challenged and been challenged by the many sociopolitical and cultural effects of globalization. This is nothing new: the role of human movements and migration (forced and unforced), the developments of technology and transportation, the advancements and adversities brought on by new cultural contacts and contexts are the very stuff of utopian literature and theory, from More’s Utopia to this day. Celebrating the 40th anniversary conference of the Society for Utopian Studies, we invite a broad range of papers that consider the relationships of utopian theories, movements, experiments, fantasies, and work of any kind to the metaphor of “flow.” With our conference city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, located at the juncture of three major rivers, this year’s meeting is situated in a place of confluence, divergence, and diversity.

We invite papers that engage the theme of “global flows” as that notion relates to utopian, dystopian and speculative matters in the past, present, or future(s). Possible areas of inquiry include:

  • the flows of people (through migration, exile, expulsion, trafficking), flows of cultures and ideologies;
  • diasporas and their relationships to racial and cultural diversity in any historical period;
  • notions of community and/as confluence (or not), including instances and/or theories of communal/cultural inclusions and exclusions;
  • the diversity of species, in the context of global challenges to habitat by human movements, and anthropogenic environmental changes;
  • disease vectors with or against the “flow,” i.e., the movements of bacteria and viruses along, or against, the movements of people in planes, ships, on foot, insects, animals, ocean currents and winds;
  • digital humanities, media, technology, and/or global information streams; flow and stagnation as historiographic or narratological (i.e. temporal) tropes;
  • new materialist perspectives on notions of “entanglement” among human and nonhuman beings, on the interactions/intra-actions of life and nonliving matter;
  • the Posthuman;
  • the role of boundaries, borders, and barriers to flow – e.g., issues of “containment”;
  • the limits of the metaphor of “flow” as a way of understanding the relationships of the intimate and the global.

Other creative riffs off these topics are, of course, encouraged! To that end, this year’s conference continues the successful introduction of a poster and demonstration track. We seek proposals for presentations, performances, experiments and “experiences” related to our conference theme. This flexible format allows for the presentation of interactive games, new apps, and other digital projects–indie developers and digital humanists welcome!–as well as posters, art-works, architectural schematics, and other imaginative experiments in new or “old” media.

Abstracts and proposals of up to 250 words are due by 15 July 2015 for the following:

  • A 15-20 minute individual paper;
  • a full panel of up to four speakers;
  • an informal roundtableof 3-6 presenters;
  • a presentation or performanceof a creative work or artifact;
  • a visual/audio presentation in the form of a poster and/or demo.

The submission portal is now open!

This year, we are using a more robust online system for our conference, called Open Conference Systems. You can find the Society for Utopian Studies Open Conference System site here:

In order to submit a proposal for this year’s conference, you must first create a fast/free account in OCS (Open Conference Systems).

Then, click on Call for Papers (at the bottom, under Conference Information) and scroll all the way to the bottom to begin the submission process.

If you’re a graduate student, after you submit your proposal, if you can also submit an application for the Nicole LaRose Graduate Student Travel Conference Grants (choose the correct “track” for this).

With OCS, you can also register and pay for registration. You will be able to log into the system to track your account, and you will also receive automated emails confirming things like submissions and payment.

For information about registration, travel or accommodations, please contact Clifford Manlove,

For information about panel topics, assistance finding co-panelists, and other questions about the conference program, please contact Clint Jones, looking for co-panelists are reminded that H-Utopia ( offers a platform for sending out panel CFPs.