A Dystopian Future, A Dystopian Past Structure, Power, and Language in English Studies

deadline for submissions: 
February 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale: Association of English Graduate Students
contact email: 

Call for Papers

A Dystopian Future, A Dystopian Past

Structure, Power, and Language in English Studies

Graduate Conference in Literature and Composition

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

March 31- April 1, 2017


"In this best of all possible worlds, everything is for the best."- Voltaire

It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.”- Fredric Jameson

Our tenth annual AEGIS Conference invites participants to engage in discussions of the destructive, the disordered, and the dystopic across the broad range of English studies and the humanities. When Thomas More brought the idea of Utopia into English literature and thought, he was playing with two Greek terms: ou-topos meaning “no place” and eu-topos meaning “a good place.”  He theorized an ideal and unattainable society marked by perfect systems.  “Dystopia,” on the other hand, is in no way limited to the theoretical.  Dystopias, in their broad sense as imperfect and often destructive systems, arguably permeate not only the current trend of post-apocalyptic narratives, but also literature across genre, nation, and century. 

This century has seen a strong revival of post-apocalyptic and dystopian narratives even as theorists like Fredric Jameson question our ability to imagine the ends of our worlds or what might come next.  We invite contributions that examine the ways imperfect systems flood the present and the imagined future—and, just as importantly, the past— and are reflected in literature studies, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition. 

We invite the submission of individual abstracts and panels which explore iterations of destructive systems and structures and examine their effects on individual and social identity. Beyond this, we encourage creative, innovative, and even experimental explorations and approaches to our theme.  Possible themes and questions include, but are in no way limited to:


The Post-Apocalyptic in Literature and Theory

Economic Systems and Globalization

Mobility and Stasis

The Dystopian Imagination

Structure and Form

Social Structures and Identity Construction

Subjects, Politics, and Citizens

Colonialism and its Post-

The Aesthetic

The Traumatic



In keeping with our tradition, we welcome papers on a wide range of topics on literature and composition. 

Please send session proposals (no more than 500 words) and/or individual paper abstracts (no more than 250 words) to Constance Beitzel at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale: 1000 Faner Drive, Mail Code 4503, Carbondale, Illinois 62901 or electronically at beitzel@siu.edu.  For electronic submissions, please attach submissions as a Microsoft Word or Rich Text.  The deadline for panel proposals is December 15, 2016. Individual paper abstracts are due by February 1, 2017.