Please join us in Orlando, Florida, March 18-22, 2020 for the 41st International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) when our theme will be “Climate Change and the Anthropocene.”
Since the turn of the millennium, the term Anthropocene has been widely popularized to describe the massive changes humanity has inflicted upon the planet through our technologies and ways of living—influences so substantial that some believe we have entered into a new geological epoch. Climate change, and its related crises of ecological damage, forced migrations as weather and arable land shift, and mass extinctions of nonhuman species, are imaginative and materially entwined. Climate change asks us to think in spatial and temporal scales that exceed human lifetimes and perceptions, while the concept of the Anthropocene encourages us to think in global, perhaps cosmic registers about humanity’s pasts and possible futures.
Amitov Ghosh suggests in The Great Derangement (2017) that among the difficulties of confronting climate change is the fact that it is “unthinkable” via the conventions of realist fiction. Taking our cue from Ursula K. Le Guin’s phrase “realists of a larger reality” in her acceptance speech for the Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters, ICFA 41 will explore the power of fantastic genres to make climate change and other crises of the Anthropocene visible and intelligible. How have fantastic genres helped us represent and respond to this reality? How might these genres offer us new ways for thinking about humanity, our planet, and the complex entanglements between them? How might we reimagine ourselves and the future in the face of climate change? We welcome papers, creative works, and panel discussions addressing these and related questions across any genre, every language, and across all media of the fantastic.
Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:
- • Texts engaging questions of eco-horror aesthetics and themes
- • Fantastic texts that explore Indigenous worldviews on ecology
- • Analyses of how specific motifs or themes emerge and change with time, such as climate-driven apocalypse or images of urban worlds
- • Texts that imagine innovative technologies and/or new lifeways that offer new patterns for human habitation
- • Texts or other media that interrogate questions of ontology, especially humanity’s relationship with other life
- • Engagements with alternative terms used to frame our present era—Donna Haraway’s Cthulhucene, Jason Moore’s Capitalocene, and the like
- • Work emerging from ecocritical frameworks and methodologies
- • Work emerging from posthumanist frameworks and methodologies, especially human-animal studies
- • Work emerging from environmental humanities and petrocultures frameworks and methodologies
- • Dystopian and/or utopian responses to climate change
- • YA and children’s literature and its distinct strategies for representing climate change
- • Work on significant authors of ecologically themed works, such as Kim Stanley Robinson or N.K. Jemisin or the subgenre solarpunk
- • Analyses of texts or other media that question the human/animal boundary
- • The role of fantastic texts in offering new theoretical rubrics for thinking about climate change and the Anthropocene
The conference will feature Guest Scholar Stacy Alaimo (University of Texas at Arlington) and Guest of Honor Jeff Vandermeer. We encourage proposals that engage the work of these two distinguished guests.
Submissions that do not meet the theme of this year’s conference will also be given full consideration for inclusion.
Info about the Divisions is here: https://iaftfita.wildapricot.org/Division-Heads
Please submit proposals via the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Portal (https://www.fantastic-arts.org/icfa-submissions/) by October 31, 2019. Further instructions regarding submissions are available at this link, including instructions regarding IAFA’s Division Structure and Division Head contact information where questions may be sent.