Fantastic Geographies

Christian Lenz Announcement
Subject Fields
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Geography, Literature

Every fantastic genre, across every medium, has its own mechanisms and rules by which its geographies are constructed, whether through description and imagination or computer-generated landscapes. Distances must be bridged, means of transportation must be found, chartered, or hijacked, rituals must be performed – all in order to discover, enter, or leave a particular place. Here, it is important to note where this place is located and whether the fantastic geography extends, supplements, contests, or even replaces reality.

In this context, cartography plays a special role: historically, cartographers incorporated monsters into their elaborate maps in order to fill previously unexplored geographic blind spots or to discourage other explorers from seeking out these places. Today, detailed maps of secondary worlds are an integral part of many fantasy books. Furthermore, fans and professionals industriously produce  artworks and maps of these worlds or even transfer them into other contexts when adapting them into computer or board games.

Meanwhile, people can reside in multiple virtual and imagined realities as well as spaces simultaneously, projecting their image and voice across vast distances. This also raises philosophical questions about the construction of fantastic spaces: have we already come to the point where we know too much about our universe and are now confronted with something even more bizarre? What happens to our bodies and identities when they are transferred into these abstract spaces?

We invite papers on all forms and genres of the fantastic and their engagement with geography in both a narrow and a broader sense, whether they deal with literature, comics, film, television, music, video and board games, or (live) role-playing games (languages: German or English). Possible topics are:

  •  Construction and rules of fantastic geographies of any kind
  •  Geography and different forms of the fantastic (SciFi, Horror, Fairy Tales, Urban Fantasy, etc.)
  •  Representation of different geographies and cartography (e.g. metropolis, fairy tale forest, outer space), also as an artistic achievement
  •  Historiography of fantastic geography
  •  Abstract, digital and imaginary spaces
  •  fantastic geographies in children’s literature and Young Adult Fiction
  •  Geographies of the body
  •  Gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disabilities, aging, and geography
  •  Adaptation theory and translatology in fantastic geographies
  •  Ludology and Geography
  •  Geography as a palimpsest or heterotopia
  •  Fantastic sensescapes (soundscapes, smellscapes, etc.)
  •  Ecology and environmentalism
  •  Displacement and Emplacement
  •  Exploration as a practice
  •  Geography and Transportation

Abstracts (300 words, in German or in English) for twenty-minute papers, together with a short biography (150 words), should be submitted to by 28 Feb 2022. You can find all current information about our conference on our website:

Contact Information

Organising Team: Kristin Aubel, Christian Lenz, Sarah Neef

TU Dortmund University (Dortmund, Germany)

Contact Email