(Un)Ethical Futures: Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction

deadline for submissions: 
August 13, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Monash University & University of Warwick


16 & 17 December 2017 

With pre-conference activities for postgraduate students on 15 December 2017


Hosted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia

Organised by Monash University and the University of Warwick with funding provided by the Monash Warwick Alliance



Deadline: 13 August 2017


(Un)Ethical Futures is a two-day interdisciplinary conference exploring the ethical concerns of utopia, dystopia and science fiction. As we find the world in a state of significant social and political uncertainty, representations of more (or less) ethical futures can help us understand the impulses driving society today, and our hopes and fears for the future. The conference will feature keynote addresses, interactive workshops and concurrent panels.


Keynote speakers: Andrew Milner (Monash University & University of Warwick) and Jacqueline Dutton (University of Melbourne).

Workshop leaders will include: Sascha Morrell (Monash University) and Meg Mundell (author of Black Glass & Things I Did for Money).


The conference will engage with a wide range of disciplines across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, including literary studies, media studies, history, philosophy, and cultural studies. The conference themes also span multiple genres and modes, from science fiction (sf) about the near or distant future, to alternative histories about better or worse presents, to fantastic stories about utopian or dystopian societies. The conference’s focus on ethics allows for a range of topics, including environmental ethics and climate change, human bioethics, animal ethics, the ethical use of technology, ethics of alterity and the ethical treatment of others, as well as related issues of social justice.


Possible areas of engagement include, but are not limited to:

  • Environmental ethics in speculative climate fiction (“cli-fi”)

  • Bioethical issues in sf, including biopunk and cyberpunk

  • The treatment or representation of animals, artificial intelligence, aliens or other posthuman or non-human entities in utopia, dystopia and sf

  • Historical and literary attempts at creating real or fictional utopian communities

  • Utopian and dystopian dimensions of Indigenous literature and traditions

  • Critiques of colonialism, racism, sexism and institutional abuses in utopia, dystopia and sf

  • Philosophy, ethics and the utopian impulse

  • Politics, activism, social justice and ethics in sf and its fan communities

  • Ethics, alterity and literary form in speculative fiction


We invite the submission of proposals for 20-minute papers. We also welcome proposals for panels (three 20-minute papers) and readings of original creative work, including short fiction and poetry (up to 20 minutes’ duration). Proposals should comprise a title, abstract (200–300 words), and a brief author bio (100 words).


Please submit proposals via email to utopias-conference@monash.edu by 13 August 2017.


Following the conference, convenors will circulate a call for submissions for a special issue of Colloquy: text, theory, critique, which will publish research peer-reviewed articles, as well as creative writing and book reviews, arising from the conference proceedings.


For more information, visit the conference website: http://sites.google.com/monash.edu/utopias