Utopian Possibilities: Knowledge, Happiness and Wellbeing: 21st Conference of the Utopian Studies Society Europe

Liam Benison's picture
Call for Papers
December 10, 2021 to December 12, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Intellectual History, Literature, Political Science, Social Sciences

"Utopias will come back, as we need to imagine how to save the world," Margaret Atwood has recently declared. This Conference starts from the conviction that this is a turning point for Utopian Studies: Its online format is a sign of the times as well as an opportunity for raising global awareness and stimulating collective thinking about problems. The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated millions of lives, caused the economic and social disruption of societies already in crisis, and has had a global impact on people’s livelihoods and wellbeing. This is the moment to show that the only future we will get is the one we are capable of imagining. The conference will have the threefold objective of raising awareness, analysing old and new utopian spaces and discourses, and creating a forum for delegates to co-design the future. Hopefully, a document will result from this co-designing activity – The Porto Declaration on Utopian Possibilities – to be signed by individuals and institutions, acknowledging the productivity of a utopian thinking methodology and asserting the universities as privileged places for training utopian minds.
We invite utopian scholars to contribute to one of three sections of the conference:

  1. Raising Awareness: an online pre-programme of art, exhibitions and performance (early December)
  2. Utopian Spaces and Discourses: Conference dedicated to the power of utopian imagination (10–11 December)
  3. Utopian Possibilities: six Co-Designing Workshops will collectively construct positive visions of a future nurtured by relationships of care, and discuss how universities can contribute (12 December).

For details of how to submit proposals for the Raising Awareness pre-programme and Co-Designing Workshops, please visit http://utopian-studies-europe.org/conference/

The closing date for all proposals is 1st October 2021.


Utopian Spaces and Discourses

The 2021 Utopian Studies Society Europe Conference is dedicated to exploring the power of utopian imagination and how positive visions of the future have/will inspire/d real change. It is specifically meant to focus on how knowledge has been/may be used to construct an inclusive society, aimed at the happiness and wellbeing of all its citizens. However, the Conference also welcomes proposals on other aspects of the utopian tradition, including its dystopian and anti-utopian counterparts, as well as on productive intersections with other fields of study.

The Organising Committee aims to set up a number of thematic panels to facilitate delegates’ navigation of the conference. Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Utopian inclusiveness and it discontents
  • Happiness, wellbeing, citizenship
  • Utopian transgressions and the arts
  • Knowledge and ethics
  • Dystopian fears, past, present and future
  • Anti-utopian resistances and the role of dissent
  • Transdisciplinary intersections in utopianism.

Proposals for presenting high-quality research are welcome in one of the following formats:

  • 20-minute paper
  • 10-minute position paper
  • Research poster
  • Closed panel of 3 or 4 papers by named contributors and chair.

For a paper, position paper or poster, please submit a 250-word abstract with your name, affiliation and brief biography.

For a closed panel, please submit a proposal with:

  • Outline of the panel theme
  • Authors' names, affiliations and brief biography
  • 250-word abstracts of the authors' papers
  • Name of the chair.

Please send proposals via email to utopian.possibilities.conference@gmail.com by 1st October 2021.


Important notes:

Please note that we may not be able to accommodate all proposals. The Organizing Committee will send a notification of acceptance by 15 October.

Delegates will then have until 7 November to send us an extended summary of their papers (2000-2500 words). These will be included in the (online) volume "Utopian Possibilities" to be launched on the first day of the Conference.

This conference will be hosted exclusively online by the University of Porto and CETAPS (Centre for English, Translation, and Anglo-Portuguese Studies).

Plenary sessions will be recorded and live streamed through the CETAPS YouTube channel. For the other sessions, we will be using Zoom Seminar, as well as a virtual platform especially created for the event; these will be open to registered delegates only.

By presenting a proposal to the conference you are agreeing with these arrangements.

Registration is free. Attendance certificates will be sent only after the conference takes place.


Contact Info: 

Please send all proposals and correspondence to:  utopian.possibilities.conference@gmail.com