CFP: Imagining the Utopian/Dystopian Future of Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education

Zachary Kaiser's picture
Call for Papers
June 21, 2019
Michigan, United States
Subject Fields: 
Digital Humanities, Educational Technology, Intellectual History, Labor History / Studies, Philosophy

CFP: Imagining the Utopian/Dystopian Future of Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education

The Society of Utopian Studies Annual Conference
October 17-19, 2019
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, East Lansing, MI

The use of technology, specifically artificial intelligence/machine learning, in teaching and learning has great potential to make education more equitable and accessible in the future. This dream of a more perfect way of educating has long been a theme in utopian and dystopian texts (film, literature, television, comic, artistic exhibit or performance, etc.), among intentional communities, representations in the media/social media, in company vision/mission statements and advertising (e.g., Apple, Cengage, Pearson), among philanthropists (e.g., Gates Foundation), among technology companies (e.g. Google, Intel), and in the minds of a variety of faculty. The ever-increasing reliance on artificial intelligence/machine learning can revolutionize learning in the future and can also reinforce existing structures of oppression. Artificial intelligence has the potential to make learning more accessible, cost effective, and student-focused. It has the potential to empower a variety of traditional and non-traditional students to direct their learning. At the same time, future AI pedagogies, structures, and algorithms have the potential to reinforce existing implicit bias, reproduce colonialist structures, or create new forms of oppression (e.g., We are Data, Algorithms of Oppression, Automating Inequality).

This panel or series of panels will explore the utopian and dystopian dreams of technology, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science on teaching and learning at institutions of higher education. We seek proposals from scholars from a variety of disciplines across institutions of higher education. Proposals need to address utopian/dystopian impulses/ futures/dreams from a scholarly perspective and might address but are not limited to the following:

  • Higher education as a laboratory to develop diverse futurisms
  • The future relationship of the sciences and humanities as mediated by technology
  • Advances in technology and the impact the funding of education
  • Issues of accessibility, social justice and/or ethics in technology/artificial intelligence
  • Technology and global issues regarding access to quality education; participatory models; decolonization efforts the “American higher education experience”
  • Best practices in teaching and learning with technology (failure in learning, group work, flipped classroom debates, curriculum design and data literacy, gamification, artificial intelligence/machine learning and assessment)
  • Technology and formal and informal learning spaces (classrooms, museums, gardens, etc.) and design
  • Technology and the future role of the educator (human instructors/professor, graduate assistants, robots)
  • Transformation of fields through automation/endangered fields – art/design, homogenization of the visual through template, stabilization of form, desire shaped by analytics
  • Technology and the challenges of scale (large public vs. small private) and who will be here in 2035
  • AI and technological solutionism in higher ed
  • The effect of automation on labor markets and the impact on higher education in the future
  • Machine learning and the deprofessionalization of the academy
  • How machine learning might shape our understanding of what learning is (in the way that machines have metaphorically become a way to understand the body and brain, e.g. "food for your body is like gas for your car" - how will defining learning through machine learning change how we think about human learning?)

Please send proposals of no more than 250 words and a brief CV by June 21, 2019 to Marisa Brandt (, Zach Kaiser (, and Stephanie E. Vasko (

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