The UNA English Department

Call for Proposals due January 5, 2016

Conference to be held February 26-27, 2016

English Graduate Conference

Recently, there has been a resurgence of critical interest in dystopianism, which is mirrored by dystopic themes in contemporary literature and pop culture like The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games series, and dystopian graphic novels. The University of North Alabama's Department of English invites proposals for scholarly papers which investigate any aspect of dystopianism or its converse, utopianism, in language, literature, or other media. For example, topics might include readings of works within the genre of utopic or dystopic literature, but we also welcome examinations of these themes in texts. We are interested in receiving examinations of texts from any time period or country of origin, but we are particularly interested in contemporary and nontraditional texts or media.

Possible topics and representative texts may include (but are not limited to):

  • Film and film adaptations
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • YA literature and novels
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Television shows
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Divergent series (novels and film adaptations)
  • Studies of fan fiction
  • V for Vendetta (graphic novel or film adaptation)
  • Contemporary and classic literature
  • The Republic by Plato
  • Marxist and neo-Marxist criticism
  • Utopia by Thomas More
  • Gender studies and feminist theory
  • Zombie genre films, TV shows, novels, and graphic novels
  • Postcolonial theory
  • Science fiction and fantasy
  • Queer theory
  • Satire and political commentary
  • iversity in dystopian texts
  • Post-apocalyptic texts

The keynote speaker for this conference will be Dr. David Lavery, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in English at Middle Tennessee State University. He has authored or co-authored twenty-two books, including works on Joss Whedon and The Sopranos television series. Dr. Lavery's talk is entitled: "The Plan is Death: Imagining the End with James Tiptree Jr."

We welcome proposals from current students and recent graduates (within the last five years) of MA or PhD programs in English, Film Studies, or Cultural Studies. Presentations should be twenty-minutes in length and may explore a range of topics addressing our theme in relation to literature, film, or other new media. Presentations that utilize audiovisual presentations are encouraged.


Please upload proposals of 250-300 words by January 5th, 2016 to the conference website at You may also send proposals directly to Eric Hughes at Suggestions for panels are also welcomed. All proposals will receive a decision on acceptance by January 15, 2016.

Prize for Best Paper:

At the closing session of the conference, presenters will be asked to vote on the three best papers presented at the conference. Following the conference, a panel of judges will award first, second, and third place standing to these three papers. Winners will receive a certificate and recognition at the conference.

Registration Fee:

We anticipate having a low registration fee for participants, which will include snacks on both days and lunch on Saturday.  Non-UNA participants should be prepared to pay a $20.00 registration fee.