Call for Papers

ONCE AND FUTURE FANTASIES CONFERENCE 

13 – 17 JULY 2022  

Organised by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic (CFF) at the University of Glasgow, and co-sponsored by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA). 

Submissions are invited for the first conference co-sponsored by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts to take place outside North America, which will be hosted by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow. 

The art of the fantastic has never been more visible than it is today. Streamed, read and written, drawn, painted, designed and modelled by amateurs and professionals, performed and played in theatrical events and games, and marketed the whole world over, the art of the fantastic occupies every available cultural niche with unprecedented energy and enthusiasm. This conference asks what the fantastic in the arts has to offer at this time of crisis, rooted as it is in the distant and recent past while remaining extraordinarily sensitive to the shifting landscape of the present and the infinite possibilities of the future.   

‘Once and Future Fantasies’ pays indirect homage to a key text in fantastic history, T.H. White’s Arthurian epic The Once and Future King (1958). Written in the shadow of the Second World War, White’s sequence of books adapts one of the best-known European legends (associated with Scottish landscapes, among many others) but also tells of contemporary conflict and concerns. Similarly, fantasy draws on the iconography of the past, yet also responds to the escalating challenges of a world at the edge of a precipice, in the midst of a global pandemic and threatened by climate change. We therefore ask how fantasy and the fantastic engage with past global traditions whilst seeking and constructing new myths capable of taking account of the strange days we are living through. The conference also seeks to address the past(s), present and future(s) of fantasy and the fantastic as modes of artistic expression and creativity. 

  • The conference committee welcomes proposals for:
    1. individual twenty-minute papers 
    2. pre-formed panels of three twenty-minute papers under a coherent theme 
    3. roundtable discussions with three to six participants (ninety-minute sessions) 

Suggested topics can include but are not limited to the following:  

  • Fantasies of history and imagined futures
  • Historical and contemporary fantasy media  
  • Changes in the definitions of fantasy and the fantastic through history 
  • Fantasies of national/cultural belonging and identity  
  • Fantasy and the major challenges of the present moment 
  • Fantasy as method for imagining alternative futures 
  • Canonicity and its alternatives
  • Radical re-imaginings and re-interpretations of SFF ‘classics’   
  • Fantasy and temporality (hauntings, time-travel narratives, etc)  
  • Fantasies shattering and coalescing  
  • The relationship between fantasy and its audiences/consumers/co-creators   
  • Borders and their usefulness (or lack thereof) in the fantastic  
  • State of the Field-type contributions asking questions such as:  
    • Wither fantasy/fantasy scholarship?  
    • Developing theoretical approaches to the fantastic  
    • Historicising fantasy scholarship  
    • Fantasy pedagogies  
    • How to organise (or unorganise) the discipline?   

We invite submissions from researchers, practitioners and fans of all branches of the fantastic, whether within the academy or beyond it. We are particularly interested in submissions from researchers and practitioners who have been underrepresented in fantastic art and its commentaries. We warmly encourage younger or less experienced scholars and creatives to take part. We are committed to offering everyone a welcoming environment for interaction, speculation and enjoyment. We will also invite creative workshops for those interested in exploring the creative process (separate call for creative workshops to be released soon). 

To submit, please send us a 200-300 word abstract using our submission form by 22 October 2021. If you are submitting a pre-formed panel of three papers, please submit all three abstracts along with proposed speakers’ details and the session title.  

Each proposed delegate can submit one paper abstract (either individual or part of a pre-formed panel) and be a proposed participant in one roundtable discussion.