CFP: 41st Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies

“Harbors and Islands: Explorations of Utopia, Past and Present”

When: Oct 27-30, 2016

Where: Saint Petersburg, Florida: Hilton Saint Petersburg, Bayfront

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Howard Segal, University of Maine

In conjunction with the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s seminal text Utopia, the conference will focus on theme “Islands and Harbors” to emphasize contrasting notions of isolation and community, safety and trepidation, the exotic “other” and the familiar, and similar examples of exploration, imagination, or “social dreaming” inspired by Utopia or its later antecedents.  Given this important anniversary, the conference is especially interested in presentations on More’s work in teaching, research, community planning, and philosophy.
The St. Petersburg area provides a vibrant and engaging conference location, featuring a guided walking tour of the historic Cuban community in Ybor City and the possibility of visiting the Salvador Dali Museum, Tampa Theater, Henry B. Plant Museum, Busch Gardens, and other nearby historical and cultural sites.  The area also features an active Thai temple, the Wat Mongkolrata, which welcomes visitors and offers walking tours, prayer demonstrations, and delicious Thai food.

Thematic approaches and activities might include:

Digital Humanities—Given the longevity of Utopia and its many imitators, what forms of technology showcase this text or other imagined or real-world utopias?

Islands–Themes of connectivity/disconnection in urban planning, architecture, social programs, intentional communities, and sociology

Harbors–Idylls of safety, domesticity, and community.  Themes of danger and refuge in utopian fiction, idealized eutopias

Migration–given Tampa’s role as a port city, themes of internationalization, globalization, migration, deportation, etc. Discussions of immigrant communities in conjunction with Ybor City, Wat Mongkolrata, and other Tampa landmarks and neighborhoods

Globalization–as an immigrant community, Tampa showcases themes of language, politics, internationalization, trade and commerce

Teaching–pedagogical issues in teaching Utopia and similar works of utopian fiction, teaching dystopian works, theories of teaching speculative fiction
Artwork—presentations or displays of art and/or analyses of utopian themes in the works of Salvador Dali (given the proximity of the Dali Museum in Tampa)

Abstracts and proposals of up to 250 words are due by 15 July 2016 for the following:

  • A 15-20 minute individual paper;
  • a full panel of up to four speakers, or an informal roundtable of 3-6 presenters;
  • a poster or similar visual presentation

To submit proposals please follow the link below

For information on restaurants, local maps, transportation, and other information about the St. Petersburg area, visit

For information about registration, travel or accommodations, please contact John Barberet at and for information about panel topics, assistance finding co-panelists, and other questions about the conference program, please contact Justin Nordstrom Those looking for co-panelists are reminded that H-Utopia ( offers a platform for sending out panel CFPs.  For more information about the Society for Utopian Studies visit

Nicole LaRose Travel Grant

The Nicole LaRose Travel Grant provides funding to offset travel costs for graduate students presenting their work at the Society for Utopian Studies annual meeting.  To be considered for this grant, please send your presentation proposal for the 2016 meeting, budget proposal, and a recent c.v. to Mark Tabone, Awards chair, at  On the budget proposal, please list other resources you have available from your home institution, research grants, or other sources. Selection criteria include:
1) The quality of the paper proposal/abstract, with attention to its contribution to utopian studies 2) The soundness of the proposed budget 3) A demonstrated commitment to the society, as evidenced by repeat attendance and participation in the life of the society.

Grant winners will be notified by the end of August, when conference acceptances go out


Author Guidelines

The Society for Utopian Studies is an interdisciplinary and collegial academic society.  Because we want to engage a broad range of scholarship on several thematic issues dealing with utopianism, the SUS expects abstracts to refrain as much as possible from discipline-specific jargon and present their abstracts (and accepted papers and presentations) in language that is generally understood by non-specialists.