CFP: Creative Communities: The Interactive Actualization of Utopian Worlds (4/10/07; Society for Utopian Studies, 10/4/07-10/7/0

full name / name of organization: 
Balaka Basu
contact email:

CALL FOR PAPERS – PROPOSED PANEL ON "Creative Communities: The
Interactive Actualization of Utopian Worlds" (4/10/07;

Society for Utopian Studies; 32nd annual meeting; Toronto, CA, October
4-7, 2007.

Literary utopias are often thought of as the creation (or fantasy) of
a single mind, but in fact, they are frequently the most dependent of
all genres on inspiration and derivation. World-building and the
construction of utopias in literature and other media require
exceptionally collaborative processes, quickly shared with others by
the initial creator. Utopian worlds often exist in an interstitial
space endorsed by visual artifacts and other collisions of medium.
Furthermore, with writers, editors, illustrators, marketers, and
audiences all possessing spheres of influence on a text, such a
narrative can no longer be said to travel a linear path, but instead
an interactive and expansive one through new genres, media and
definitions of ownership. The experience of literature, heavily
inflected by the inherent cross-pollination of genre required, becomes
immensely complex and participatory. Just like fictional utopias
themselves, the community that creates them, increasingly enabled by
new technologies and their social conventions, is itself attempting to
realize a utopian world.

How does this communal ownership influence the study of texts? Is
there a privileged hierarchy in this community, in which the initial
creator has primacy or authority? Can (or should) this privilege be
eroded? How does the definition of text shift as a result? In our era
of interactivity, can a book or an idea or a society, fictional or
not, ever conclude? How is the manner in which we build and
experience fictional worlds changing the non-fictional world?

This panel seeks to address these questions through a range of
scholarly approaches. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
the illustration of texts, linguistic translation, the creation of
digital lives, fanfiction, the translation of narratives into
different media, collaborative writing processes as exemplified by
television/screen writing, fictional universes, interactive utopias,
the writing of sequels, internet communities, the collision and
contamination of genres, shared authorship, intellectual property, the
validity of plagiarism as a concept, and the relationship between
fiction and realism.

Submit 250 word abstracts to by April 10, 2007.
Digital submissions in the body of an email or in a MS Word attachment
only, please.
For more information about the Society for Utopian Studies, including
programs of past meetings, go to

Balaka Basu
Ph.D. Program in English
Graduate Center, City University of New York
365 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10016

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Received on Sat Mar 10 2007 - 07:57:34 EST

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