GIFCon 2024: Conjuring Creatures and Worlds – Call for Papers

Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, University of Glasgow 

Submissions Closed

Event registration can be found here
The Programme can be found here

Conference date: 15th–17th May 2024 (hosted online) 
 
The Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic is pleased to announce a call for papers for Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations (GIFCon) 2024, to be held online on 15–17 May, with the theme of ‘Conjuring Creatures and Worlds’. 

Fantasy is inherently an act of conjuration. When we create, dismantle, or engage with fantasy, we are conjuring magic: the impossible, the mysterious, the unknown, and the indefinable. Conjuring fantasy is an act of creation not necessarily defined by our existing modes of being or reality, yet it is always in conversation with our own world. Thus, when we enter fantastika, we necessarily enter a conjured world that invites us to reimagine fundamental aspects of our existence. One way it effects this is by encountering seemingly nonhuman creatures, through which we meet the magical, the uncanny, the monstrous, the Other, and perhaps most uncomfortably, ourselves. Brian Froud writes in Good Fairies Bad Faeries (1998) that “like any supernatural encounter, meeting a fairy—even one who is gentle and benign—is never a comfortable experience”. Samantha Langsdale and Elizabeth Coody argue in Monstrous Women in Comics that “the monster is difference made flesh”. The same is often true of the worlds these creatures exist in. Conjurations, then, are not wholly foreign; their components are knowable. Through fantasy we can conjure, and therefore communicate, with the necessarily mysterious, the otherwise ineffable. 

The act of conjuration is an ambivalent one, being both beyond and outside our own world yet inherently connected to it and therefore susceptible to the same limitations and preconceptions. In Race and Popular Fantasy Literature, Helen Young argues that “the logics of race and racial difference are so deeply ingrained in Western society that it is extremely difficult, often even for members of marginalised racial groups, to imagine worlds that do not have those structures.” Indeed, Fantastika has often been concerned with narratives where creatures “function as recognizable stand-ins for majorities and minorities and the inevitable conflicts that emerge between identity groups”. We are interested in explorations of marginalised identities, including creatures, systems of magic, and worlds concerned with (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, gender, queerness, class, and (dis)abilities. These conjured creatures and worlds offer an alternative viewpoint into other modes of identity and being. Additionally, the ways in which these fantasies are conjured is important. The medium through which the reader (in the broadest sense of the word) encounters and interacts with the fantasy affects its meaning.  

How do academics, creative practitioners, and fans conjure (and understand the conjuration of) fantasy, creatures and worlds? Fantasy and the fantastic have the capability to conjure the ephemeral and the horrific, the indefinable and the real, the Other and ourselves, but how do we understand these creations? And how do these encounters with creatures, magic, and worlds conform or challenge our understanding of the fantastic?  

GIFCon 2024 is a three-day virtual conference welcoming proposals for papers relating to this theme from researchers and practitioners working in the field of fantasy and the fantastic across all media, whether from within the academy or beyond it. We are particularly interested in submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers, and researchers whose work focuses on fantasy from the margins. We ask for abstracts for 20-minute papers. See our Suggested Topics list below for further inspiration. Please submit a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bionote via this form by January 5th, 2024, at midnight GMT.  

We also ask for workshop descriptions for 75-minute creative workshops, for those interested in exploring the creative processes of conjuring these creatures and worlds into being from a practice-based perspective. Please submit a 100-word description and a 100-word bionote via this form by January 5th, 2024 at midnight GMT.  

If you have any questions regarding our event or our CfP, please contact us at GIFCon@glasgow.ac.uk. Please also read through our Code of Conduct. We look forward to your submissions!  

Suggested Topics include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Fantasy texts and media by creative practitioners from marginalised backgrounds, and from beyond the anglophone and Anglocentric fantastic 
  • Creatures as corporeal and/or spiritual beings  
  • Worlds and magic as material or conceptual spaces, realms, or structures 
  • Multi-media representations of creatures, worlds, and creators 
  • Creating and recreating race, class, queerness, (dis)ability and other marginalised identities in fantasy  
  • Explorations and representations of the Other in fantastika 
  • Attraction to, repulsion or rejection of creatures and the nonhuman 
  • Depicting alienation, body dysphoria, body swapping and transformation in fantasy  
  • The anthropomorphising of objects and creatures 
  • Human and nonhuman binaries, hierarchies, and dynamics 
  • Conforming to and challenging conventional depictions of creatures e.g., mythic and supernatural traditions, folklore, fantastic tropes and iconic and archetypal characters  
  • Representations of fantastical creatures for example cryptids, fae, magical creatures, supernatural beings, the undead, humanoids, animals, hybrids, AI, extraterrestrials, demons, monsters, horrors, boogeymen 
  • Environments, alternate worlds, ecocriticism, posthumanism, the Anthropocene 
  • Conjuring futures and pasts 
  • Organic vs. artificial worlds, spaces and creatures 
  • Conjuring as a destructive or creative act 
  • Conjuring magic and magic systems 
  • How fandoms and scholars recreate, reinterpret, or conjure creatures, worlds and magic systems 

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