BayMoot: Breaking Barriers and Crossing Borders

deadline for submissions: 
June 21, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Signum University
contact email: 


The Inagural California Bay Area Literature and Language Symposium


August 18, 2018

Mills College, Oakland, CA


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Corey Olsen

Signum University and Mythgard Institute are proud to announce the inaugural 2018 BayMoot, a symposium dedicated to exploring the intersection between culture and speculative fiction on Saturday, August 18, 2018. A mixture of paper presentations and discussion sessions will be offered along with a keynote address by guest of honor Dr. Corey Olsen, “The Tolkien Professor.”


Signum University sponsors regional gatherings throughout the year. These are times of academic conversation and fellowship that often include creative presentations and special guests. Although these conferences may vary in flavor, they are united by a love of stories and the people who read them.


A “moot” refers to a meeting or legislative assembly, but also the place in which that meeting is held. It’s from the Old English -mot, which could be appended to the end of a word, as in “Texmoot.” It was made famous by the “Entmoots” of the tree-shepherding Ents in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.



CALL FOR ACADEMIC PAPERS: In The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Genly Ai encounters a world where the inhabitants are free to select and alter their gender. In The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Frodo goes on a transgressive quest to destroy the Ruling Ring. We seek proposals for flash-paper presentations (between 5 and 15 minutes) that rigorously investigate either depictions of transgression of, transmission across, or destruction of barriers in literature (especially speculative fiction). These barriers can be literary or metaphorical. Questions and topics that may be considered include the following:


  • Why are some characters who cross boundaries or live on the margins portrayed as monstrous?
  • Do certain genres lend themselves to tales of transgression? Are transmission and crossing built into the trajectories of certain genres? Do some genres complicate these concepts?
  • Has literature been shown to aid individuals who are marginalized?
  • Has literature been shown to contribute to the healing of cultural othering or to the causes of social or racial reconciliation?
  • Does literature expand or constrict the idea of community?
  • Does literature ever instigate, intensify, or contribute to the construction of barriers?
  • Do certain texts challenge literary borders, like those between genres or age groups?


Send abstract of under 200 words to by June 21, 2018


CALL FOR DISCUSSION PANELS: If you and a couple of friends or colleagues would like to generate a dialogue about a topic which falls under the symposium theme, we encourage you to submit a discussion panel proposal. Discussion panel proposals should include the names of each panel member and a description (fewer than 200 words) of the panel topic.


CALL FOR CREATIVE PRESENTATIONS: In addition to paper presentations and  panel discussions, there will also be room for short, original creative presentations (up to 10 minutes each) that explore or demonstrate the same questions and topics listed above. These presentations may include:


  • Original creative writing, such as poetry, short fiction, or short creative nonfiction
  • Performances of original musical compositions
  • Display and discussion of original works of visual art


Creative Presentation proposals should provide a short description (fewer than 200 words) of the presentation – including genre, medium, technical requirements, and connection to the symposium’s theme – and should also include a sample of the creator’s original work in the same genre/medium